Why Do I Need a Daily Multivitamin?

You try to follow a healthy diet, but it may not always be possible to get all your nutritional needs met from food.

The USDA and CDC’s dietary recommendation committee in 2020 found that due to food processing, changing agricultural practices, and dietary choices, the American diet lacks nutrient density. This makes it extremely difficult to meet all the daily recommendations for vitamin and mineral intake. A daily multivitamin that meets all these recommendations is a simple and convenient way to close the gap.

In addition to helping to prevent deficiencies, a daily multivitamin can provide the following benefits:

Healthy aging:

According to The National Institute on Aging, we may need more of certain vitamins and minerals as we age.1 Plus, recent studies have shown that with a daily multivitamin, health issues including modest improvements in memory and brain function over a three-year period were observed in older adults, particularly in those individuals with underlying cardiovascular health.2

Healthy immune function:

Scientific studies have shown that taking a daily multivitamin can help to improve the functional capacity of key underlying body systems that influence health states. These include supporting a healthy immune function, cellular energetics, and heart and central nervous system functions.

Providing missing nutrients associated with specific diets:

Allergies aren’t the only reason to eliminate certain foods from the diet. Diet choices can also lead to vitamin deficiencies. Those avoiding dairy could be low in calcium or vitamin D, while people who don’t eat red meat might not be getting the B12 and iron they need.

Added energy:

Think you need another jolt of caffeine to get through the day? That may not be what your body is craving! Certain vitamins, such as the B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, and zinc not only play a role in metabolism, they can impact both mental and physical fatigue.3

What should I look for in a multivitamin?

It’s important to note that when it comes to multivitamins, more doesn’t always mean better! The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has specific recommendations for daily intake of select vitamins and minerals for optimal health. Check that label!

A multivitamin designed for general wellness should include the following:

Vitamin A:

You likely know vitamin A is valuable for healthy vision, but vitamin A is also important for immunity, reproduction, and growth. Getting enough vitamin A is also helpful for your body’s organs, including the heart and lungs.4

B vitamins:

B vitamins act as cofactors in cellular energy production, protein metabolism, and methylation, which is important for homocysteine metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis.5 Niacin (vitamin B3) is particularly important for energy.6 Biotin (vitamin B7) helps to convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy.7 Your practitioner may tell you to look for vitamin B12 and folate (vitamin B9) in the methylated form to ensure improved absorption and support for metabolic processes as well as brain and heart health.

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant and an immunity booster. Your body needs this vitamin to heal, using this nutrient to create blood vessels, cartilage, and muscle as well as collagen in bones.8

Vitamin D3, vitamin K2-7:

Vitamin D3 and vitamin K2-7 work synergistically to maintain bone health by increasing gene expression and activity of bone forming cells and calcium activity.9 Meta-analysis of 8 randomized control studies demonstrated a significant effect at maintaining total bone mineral density.9 Additional studies10 demonstrate K2-7 supports healthy cardiovascular function for additional benefit.

Vitamin E:

Vitamin E is another helpful antioxidant. Your body uses this nutrient to support healthy vision, blood, brain, and skin.11

Essential minerals:

Important for many processes in the body, essential minerals including zinc and selenium play a pivotal role in immune system function.12

Additional ingredients

Some multivitamin formulas include additional elements to provide targeted health benefits. Here are a few to watch for:

CoQ10: CoQ10 serves as an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative damage and facilitates mitochondrial energy production by acting as electron carrier in cellular respiration.13

Green tea extract, lycopene: Lycopene and green tea extract act as free radical scavengers and help support heart health.14,15 Green tea extract also contains polyphenols that are antioxidants supporting both healthy heart and digestive function.

Beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin: Carotenoids such as beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are found naturally in the eye and help maintain cellular health in the presence of oxidative stress and blue light exposure.16

Magnesium: Single-dose daily multivitamins rarely include sufficient magnesium, as it requires a large volume of delivery. It’s best to take two products if a separate magnesium product is recommended by your healthcare professional.

What should be left out?

Sometimes what’s NOT in a supplement is as important as what’s in there. If you follow a vegan diet, it can be tough to find a suitable multivitamin, simply because few offer elements like vitamin D in a vegan option. Be sure to search for “vegan multivitamin” to find the products best for your diet. Eating gluten-free? Search for “gluten-free multivitamin” to ensure you’re getting a product that matches your strict diet.

Allergens are also of concern. Not all companies screen and test for common allergens such as dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and egg. In addition, you’re better off trusting a product that’s free of artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners as well as fillers, coatings, and binders like mag stearate.

Ready to add a multivitamin to your daily regimen? Be sure to talk to your healthcare practitioner to ensure you take the right one for your needs.


References:

1. NIA. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/vitamins-and-supplements/dietary-supplements-older-adults#should. Accessed December 24, 2023.
2. Yeung LK et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2023;118(1):273-282.
3. Tardy AL et al. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):228.
4. NIH. Vitamin A and carotenoids fact sheet. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer/#:~:text=Vitamin%20A%20is%20important%20for,fruits%20and%20vegetables%20their%20color. Accessed December 24, 2023.
5. Kennedy D. Nutrients. 2016;8(2):68.
6. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-niacin/art-20364984. Accessed December 26, 2023.
7. NIH. Biotin fact sheet. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/. Accessed December 26, 2023.
8. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932#:~:text=Vitamin%20C%20(ascorbic%20acid)%20is,to%20your%20body's%20healing%20process. Accessed December 24, 2023.
9. Kuang X et al. Food Funct. 2020;11(4):3280.3297.
10. Lal N et al. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020;104:2765–2776.
11. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-e/art-20364144#:~:text=Vitamin%20E%20is%20a%20nutrient,your%20blood%2C%20brain%20and%20skin. Accessed December 24, 2023.
12. Weyh C et al. Nutrients. 2022;14(3):644.
13. Testai L et al. Nutrients. 2021;13(5):1697.
14. Zhao T et al. Molecules. 2022;27(12):3909.
15. Khan U et al. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021;2021:2713511.
16. Johra F et al. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(11):1046.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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