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What are they, whether or not you should be supplementing with one and the best way to go about doing so are some of the questions that cross people’s minds when it comes to multivitamins. Here we’re giving you all the information you need to know.
Multivitamins have been around for years, we’ve all heard of them before. You may have even been taking one since you were a little kid!
But how do you really know if you should be taking one? And how do you know if you’ve chosen the right one?
Despite their popularity, many people still have quite a few questions about multivitamins. From their effectiveness to their quality and how to shop for them – as dietitians we hear it all.
You’ve asked, and now we’re answering! Here we’ll discuss all of your multivitamin questions so you know exactly how to approach them.
What Are Multivitamins?
Multivitamins are a type of dietary supplement. They’re a compilation of various vitamins and minerals combined in one pill, capsule, liquid, gummy or powder. They’re sometimes accompanied by other ingredients as well.
Technically speaking, there really is no definition or standard for what a multivitamin should be. Therefore, the vitamins and minerals included as well as the sources of those nutrients vary greatly depending upon the particular brand you choose.
The body requires 13 vitamins and 16 minerals in varying amounts for optimal health. Many multivitamins contain some of these nutrients.
The supplement industry is a very big one, where Americans will spend $21 billion on vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements in a year. Multivitamins are the most commonly used supplement within that category — about 70% of supplement users choose multivitamins as their daily go-to.
The Benefit Of Taking A Multivitamin
So why are so many people taking multivitamins?
Unfortunately, many people aren’t getting all of the vitamins and minerals they need through their usual diet.
For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults should consume 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily. Yet, in a CDC study, they found that 76% of adults don’t eat enough fruit and 87% of adults don’t eat enough veggies.
When we don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, we miss out on some of those essential nutrients. Fortunately, taking a multivitamin can help support diets that don’t include all of the recommended fruits and vegetables.
Who Should Take A Multivitamin
We now know from the above stated benefits that the average person can elect to take a multivitamin to round out their diet.
Research has also shown that there are a few specific populations that can benefit greatly from multivitamin supplements.
Bone health is particularly important for postmenopausal women.
By supplementing with multivitamins containing vitamin D, women can promote the absorption of dietary calcium to support bone health.*
Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
Women that are trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding require heightened nutritional needs in comparison to the average woman.
Therefore, we recommend these women take a prenatal vitamin that’s specifically formulated to support both the mother and child. A prenatal vitamin is essentially a multivitamin that is specifically tailored to this population!
Some particular nutrients of concern are folic acid and iron. Supplementation of these nutrients are vital to support a healthy pregnancy.
Our nutrient needs and absorption capabilities change significantly as we age.
More specifically, elderly individuals experience an increased need for nutrients, a decreased presence of stomach acid (which is responsible for absorbing vitamin B12), and muscle mass decline.
Thankfully, the supplementation of a multivitamin can help address nutrient implications of these physiological changes.
Vegans And Vegetarians
With animal protein being an optimal source of various vitamins and minerals, it’s often a smart choice for vegans and vegetarians to take a daily multivitamin.
For example, because B12 is only found in animal protein, many vegans and vegetarians are found to be deficient (13). Depending on the specific food items vegans and vegetarians choose to consume, they may also not consume enough zinc, calcium, iron, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids through diet alone (14).
How To Shop for a Multivitamin
Now that we know what multivitamins are and when we should take them, how do we know which one to choose?
Pay attention to the formulation of the vitamin, the quality checks conducted by the brand and the ingredients used.
In Nutrition Stripped’s practice, we’ve been recommending One A Day® products because they put their multivitamins through 100 rigorous quality checks to ensure consistency and accuracy.
In addition, their experts have been formulating their vitamins for more than 75 years and the brand does a great job of reflecting the latest science. Their products are free from high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and sweeteners, and synthetic colors.
One a Day® Natural Fruit Bites Multivitamins are a great product to choose since they are made with real, farm grown apples as the first ingredient1. They’re also a new form of multivitamin since they aren’t pills or gummies and instead are “bites.” They contain vitamins people often don’t get their full daily intake of like vitamins A, D, E, B12 and more.* And they’re perfect for the whole family with options for men, women, kids and men and women over 50.
Additional multivitamins by One a Day® that are beneficial for pregnant or breastfeeding women includes One A Day® Prenatal Advanced Complete Multivitamin with Brain Support.* which is the #1 OB/GYN recommended prenatal vitamin brand with three brain-building essential nutrients, including choline (110 mg), folic acid (800 mcg), and DHA (200 mg).* It has twice the amount of choline compared to other leading prenatal multivitamin brands. Choline plays an essential role during the prenatal period by helping to support a baby’s cognitive development.*
For older adults, One a Day® 50+ Gummies Advanced Multivitamin with Brain Support* is a great option. It’s a gummy multivitamin specially formulated to support key concerns of aging, including heart health†, eye health, immune health, bone health, healthy brain function and physical energy.‡ *
There’s no magic potion or elixir that will bring you optimal health overnight. Multivitamins are simply a way to supplement your existing diet and optimize your nutrient profile.
Don’t forget – when considering supplementation of any kind, you can always consult your registered dietitian or physician. Depending on your particular medical history, nutritional intake and even medication use, you may require a special recommendation.
1 Apple puree concentrate
2 Among leading prenatal multivitamin brands, 110 mg choline
† Not a replacement for heart medications
‡ With B vitamins to help convert food to fuel
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.