People either swear by them or insist that they are a fraud.
So what’s the verdict, is there sound science behind taking a multi-vitamin?
Or are they another supplement scam?
This article will go into the pros and cons of taking a multi and whether or not you should take a multivitamin.
The History of Vitamins
The 20th-century discovery of vitamins was a major scientific achievement in the understanding of health and disease.
At the time, the idea that there were special nutrients in food that were necessary for health was groundbreaking.
Vitamins were officially given a name by Polish scientist Casimir Funk, who initially called them a “vitamine” in 1912 (Semba, 2012). This name was a clever composition of two words: “vita” which means life, and “amine” which is a scientific term for a nitrogen-based chemical compound (Spedding, 2013).
If you think about it, our knowledge of the existence of vitamins goes back only a hundred or so years. They are still a fairly new discovery for humanity!
In the past 20-30 years, we have learned much about the importance of vitamins and their impact on human health.
The Science Behind Multi-Vitamins
The idea behind taking a multi-vitamin is very straightforward. By taking a daily multivitamin, you provide your body with all of the vitamins that it needs to function properly.
This takes into account that no diet is perfect.
In fact, it’s impossible to eat a perfect diet that will supplythe right amount of each nutrient that you need every day.
So, in a sense, you need to fill in your nutritional gaps.
What Are The Benefits of Taking A Multi-Vitamin?
We have talked about some of the benefits of multi-vitamins, but we’ll go further into the subject here.
Multivitamin benefits can include:
•Insurance against nutrient deficiencies
•Increased mental clarity
•Improved eye health
1. Insurance Against Deficiencies
Taking a multivitamin provides many benefits. The primary benefit is that taking a multi-vitamin protects against dietary deficiencies (Ward, 2015).
The DGA (the Dietary Guidelines for Americans) mentions 3 critical vitamins and minerals that Americans need adequate amounts of.
•and Vitamin D
While you may strive to eat a healthy and varied diet, the odds that you get precisely the right amount of each macro and micronutrient each day are slim.
Taking a daily multi-vitamin/mineral will help to fill in those nutritional gaps.
2. Improved Mood
Another benefit of taking a daily multi-vitamin is that it can help to support a more positive mood.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial done in 2015, researchers showed that taking a daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement may have beneficial effects on mood (White et al, 2015). This is thought to be due to elevated B-vitamins levels and decreased homocysteine levels.
3. Increased Mental Clarity
Another benefit of taking in micronutrients (through a multi-vitamin), is that it can help to improve brain function.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 2016 showed that taking micronutrients (including both vitamins and minerals) helps to improve your cognitive abilities (Kennendy et al, 2016).
4. Eye Health
Studies conducted in elderly populations have shown that multi-vitamins have been beneficial in maintaining eye health, especially while aging (Ward, 2015).
Important eye health nutrients to look for in a multivitamin include Lutein and Zeaxanthin. We include both of these in our Essentially-U multi-vitamin.
Clearly, taking a multi-nutrient is important for your health. It ensures that you get the right amounts of vital nutrients each and every day.
So what should you look for in a multivitamin?
Read the section below to find out.
What To Look For In A Multi-Vitamin?
When buying a multi, there are a few things to be on the lookout for. Not all multi-vitamins are created equal.
Additionally, not all multis are formulated the same way. Some are targeted for specific age brackets, while others focus on boosting a few specific ingredients.
First off, you want to buy a “multi-nutrient”, not a multi-vitamin.
A multi-nutrient will include needed vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and micronutrients.
You want full spectrum coverage, not a simple vitamin formula.
Below are some things you’ll want to look for on the label:
•Look for USP-grade vitamins on the label. This means that the vitamins are pharmaceutical grade, the highest grade available.
•Buy supplements that have “chelated” minerals. Chelated minerals have increased absorption and are easily utilized by your body. You can read our in-depth articles onchelated minerals here. OurEssentially-U product is made with premium Albion®’s TRAACS®, the gold standard for chelated minerals worldwide.
•Look for plant-based nutrition. OurEssentially-U includes a fruit and vegetable blend of apple, cranberry, turmeric, ginger, and more! All of these ingredients help to increase absorption, and are easily digested by your body.
•Make sure your product has zeaxanthin and lutein. These two ingredients are crucial for eye health. While these two ingredients are highly beneficial, many supplement companies refuse to put them in their formulas due to the fact that they add cost.
What To Avoid When Buying A Multi-Vitamin
You’ll want to avoid cheap, “one-per-day” multi-vitamin formulas.
These products are nearly worthless when it comes to adding to your health. They include minuscule amounts of nutrients, to the point where they are of little to no benefit.
Kennedy, D. O., Stevenson, E. J., Jackson, P. A., Dunn, S., Wishart, K., Bieri, G., … Haskell-Ramsay, C. F. (2016). Multivitamins and minerals modulate whole-body energy metabolism and cerebral blood-flow during cognitive task performance: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.Nutrition & Metabolism,13(1). Retrieved fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4750202/
Moore, L. V., Thompson, F. E., & Demissie, Z. (2013). Percentage of Youth Meeting Federal Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, United States and 33 States, 2013.Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,117(4). Retrieved fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4584842/
White, D., Cox, K., Peters, R., Pipingas, A., & Scholey, A. (2015). Effects of Four-Week Supplementation with a Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Preparation on Mood and Blood Biomarkers in Young Adults: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.Nutrients,7(11), 9005–9017. Retrieved fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4663579/