Do multivitamins work? The surprising truth

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Wondering whether daily multivitamins work or not? The answer is a resounding YES, particularly when you consider that multivitamins are amongst the highest and most commonly consumed supplements worldwide. In fact, their popularity has shot off the charts over the last 2-3 decades or so. Many believe that they can boost health levels while making up for poor nutrition and health habits and even lowering risks pertaining to chronic ailments.

Delving deeper into multivitamins

Multivitamin supplements come loaded with various kinds of vitamins and minerals along with a few other ingredients at times. The composition of nutrients will vary from one product to another. They are also known as multi-minerals or vitamins and come in several forms including tablets, powders, liquids and capsules among others. Most people usually take multivitamins once or even twice on a daily basis. However, reading the label and following the dosage instructions that are recommended, is always the best way to go.

Now, the key question is, what do multivitamin tablets for men or women actually contain? They comprise a whopping 13 essential vitamins and a minimum of 16 minerals which are extremely good for your health. Many of these multivitamins help in boosting enzyme based reactions in the body while also functioning as structural components or signaling molecules. These are nutrients needed by the body for maintenance, reproduction, regulation of body processes and systems and growth.

The biggest advantage is that multivitamin supplements may come loaded with several of these essential minerals and vitamins, in varying amounts and forms of course. They may also have other vital ingredients such as amino acids, herbs and fatty acids which are good for your body in various ways of their own.

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Some other facts worth knowing

Daily multivitamins do not have any impact in terms of heart disease, as found by several studies and reports. You may already know that the biggest cause of deaths across the globe is none other than heart disease. Several people have reported prevention of such ailments through consumption of these multivitamins on a regular basis. Some studies also suggest how multivitamins can be linked to lower heart attack and death risks while some may have a milder effect as well. In fact, studies have also shown how risks of death from heart disease come down by a handsome 35% in case of women who consume multivitamins for a minimum period of 3 years.

Similarly, there has been a widespread debate relating to cancer and multivitamins. You should know that studies have reported how multivitamin supplements do not have any impact in terms of cancer risks. There was a study undertaken that analyzed a whopping 47,289 people and ultimately found 31% reduced cancer risks in men who were consuming multivitamins. Long-term usage of multivitamins, as per another study, was linked to considerably lower risks of contracting colon cancer in both men and women. The Physicians’ Health Study II also observed that daily and long-term multivitamin consumption lowered cancer risks in men who did not have any previous cancer history.

Some other advantages of multivitamins

Daily multivitamins may have other health benefits as well. Multiple studies have also unearthed that multivitamins may help in memory enhancement for adults who are older while also enhancing overall mood. Deficiencies in nutrients may account for poor mood as per several studies and multivitamins can help in improving your mood while lowering symptoms related to depression which is vital in today’s times.

Blindness is often caused by macular degeneration that happens with advancing age. Reports have stated how consumption of antioxidant minerals and vitamins may slow down such natural degeneration. As a result, taking multivitamins may lead to lower risk of cataracts, one of the commonest eye ailments in the world. Hence, taking multivitamins may slow down progression of various eye diseases that ultimately lead to blindness.

When should you be extra careful?

While taking best multivitamin tablets, you should always be careful about the recommended dosage. Higher doses of some minerals and vitamins may be absolutely fine although consuming some other vitamins/minerals in higher amounts could be detrimental. Solubility is often the main factor influencing the suitable dosage for any vitamin or mineral. Vitamins are segmented into two categories likewise, namely water-soluble (body expels extra amounts of such vitamins) and fat-soluble (body cannot get rid of excess amounts easily and their accumulation may happen over a long duration). Vitamins in the latter category include D, A, E and K where K and E are comparatively non-toxic while D and A may have toxic effects in case of over-consumption.

Women who are pregnant, need to be increasingly careful about their intake of Vitamin A since excessive consumption leads to defects from birth. Toxicity of Vitamin D is quite rare and unlikely to happen due to multivitamin usage. Make sure that you are not taking multivitamin tablets and nutrient-rich foods in high quantities at the same time. Everything should be within the recommended daily consumption limit. Smokers should bypass multivitamins that have higher Vitamin A or beta carotene content while excessive iron consumption may not be suitable for those who do not have deficiencies of the same.

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Who are multivitamins ideal for?

Multivitamin supplements are best taken after a little homework on your part and professional advice/consultation. Yet, older adults will benefit from consuming multivitamins regularly since they may require higher Vitamin D and calcium among other important vitamins and minerals and also because absorption of Vitamin B12 comes down with advancing age. Those who follow plant-based diets may also require multivitamins on a regular basis since Vitamin B12 is only contained in animal foods.

Deficiencies in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, zinc, calcium and iron are also addressed by multivitamins. Pregnant women should consult their doctors for the suitable dosage and type of multivitamins that they should consume, since they will require them for covering up nutritional deficiencies in this period. People with low appetite, consuming lower-calorie diets and who have gone through weight-loss surgeries may also require multivitamins since they will not be getting ample nutrients from their daily diet alone.

As can be seen, multivitamins come with several benefits, provided you know which one works for you and stick to the recommended dosage. While lowering risks of several ailments, they cover up several nutrient deficiencies at the same time.