5 benefits of multivitamins & taking them daily
Enhanced energy, sharper cognitive performance, luminous skin, even better vision—the list of what we strive for in terms of health and wellness could go on ad infinitum. The key to working towards those wellness goals? Vitamins.
Given that your body relies upon vitamins and minerals for functions ranging from the capacity to recall your neighbor’s name to tasks as seemingly simple as walking from Point A to Point B, both slight and large nutritional gaps can leave you feeling forgetful, shaky, or overwhelmed by the mere thought of walking anywhere at all, let alone getting off the couch. (Hello, fatigue.)
While lifestyle choices and the proper skincare routine order play an enormous role in helping us achieve our health and wellness aspirations, even the most health-conscious among us may need a little help ensuring we get the right amount of vitamins for our bodies.
This is where multivitamins can come in handy. The benefits of multivitamins can range from promoting cardiovascular health to helping with vitamin deficiency or nutritional gaps.
What are multivitamins?
Before diving into the overall health benefits of multivitamins, it helps to define exactly what they are. First: Multivitamins are by no means a panacea. Nor should they substitute a well-rounded diet, which organically offers a wealth of nutrients that are central to your health. But, taken daily, multivitamins may offer an extra boost of well-being for those who have heightened nutritional needs. The same applies to people who follow a restrictive diet, or are too pressed for time to consider a well-balanced, sit-down meal (let alone eat it). Read on to get a better grasp on the topic.
Multivitamins are capsules, gummies, chewables, and other brilliant forms of nutrient-delivery composed of various essential vitamins and minerals. Given the breadth of benefits they have the potential to provide, they’re also wildly popular. Adults in the U.S. spend $10 billion on them annually.
The specific type of vitamins and minerals you’ll find in the multivitamin you select depends on the brand you toss into your shopping cart. Because multis fall under the umbrella of supplements, they’re regulated by the FDA but do not require the FDA’s approval.
This frees them, to an extent, to create the special brew they see fit. (In other words, do your research and select reputable brands whose multivitamins have a U.S. Pharmacopeia—or USP—seal of approval, which verifies purity and effectiveness.)
What do multis contain?
That said, multivitamins typically include the most vital and essential nutrients required by the human body; some products even contain up to 30 vitamins and minerals.
Each of these vitamins has a hand in your health. This list also crystallizes the possible benefits of taking multivitamins; rather than rattling around in your cupboard for each of these powerhouses, you can take a single product that possesses most or all of them and move on with your day.
What do vitamins do, exactly?
Magnesium, for starters, is linked to over 300 biochemical reactions in your body and influences everything from muscle function to energy.Iron, meanwhile, transports oxygen to your tissues and influences both muscle metabolism and the production of hormones. And while Vitamin C is customarily (and wisely) aligned with supporting immune health, it can also be a boon for your skin, as it’s required for the synthesis of collagen. There are also plenty of benefits to pairing vitamin c and sunscreen to enhance sun protection.
Other multivitamin brands are tailored—and marketed—towards specific health aspirations. A multi indicating that it enriches cognitive performance, for example, may include several or all of the nutrients above, as well as food complexes and herbal supplements, such as:
As specific as “cognitive performance” may be, it’s just one of the alleged benefits of taking multivitamins. People take them for dozens of reasons–for more boundless energy, stronger bones, increased motivation, and shinier, softer hair–even if the evidence on these purported advantages is inconclusive.
Do they work, though? That is, of course, the million dollar question (billion, if you consider inflation)–and where and why the controversy arrives.
Do you really benefit from taking multivitamins?
An 11-year study of male physicians over the age of 50 noted that multivitamins decreased cancer by 8% and cataracts by 9%.
A 2022 systematic review, conducted by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and involving 84 studies and 700,000 people, no less, determined that multivitamins had no profound influence on decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer. Nor did the review conclude that supplementing with vitamins and minerals could thwart an early death.
A 2019 study saw that multivitamins helped address micronutrient deficiencies in middle-aged and older adults, possibly preventing related illnesses and conditions.
Essentially, multivitamins can act as wellness insurance, helping your body obtain the essential nutrients it needs to thrive while possibly decreasing your chances for more serious illnesses in the future.
Vitamins and minerals can bolster wellness in a few specific realms, but they may also be necessary for people who have:
Undergone weight loss surgeries that hinder the absorption of key nutrients, such as bariatric surgery.
Underlying health conditions, such as liver disease, that may also affect proper nutrient absorption.
Anemia. This disorder, which affects red blood cells, is commonly treated by medical professionals with iron supplements.
But do they need a multivitamin, per se? That is up to the individual’s health medical professional.
People who follow low-calorie or other restrictive diets, such as vegans and vegetarians, may reap rewards from taking a multivitamin. Additionally, health care professionals may recommend a folic acid-rich prenatal multivitamin to those who are pregnant or trying to conceive.
Who else qualifies as a good “candidate” for a multivitamin?
Multivitamins are meant to serve the exact role FDA categorized them as: supplements.
Multivitamins are designed to complement a healthy diet and lifestyle, filling in any little gaps that may come from your normal day-to-day life.
5 benefits of taking a multivitamin
Multivitamins may not be the magic bullet The Jetsons were privy to (are we aging ourselves here, or what?) but studies demonstrate they can strengthen health in a bevy of ways and may even be contributing to preventing aging. Some of these overall health benefits of multivitamins include:
#1 Enhanced vision health
If a parent ever tried to coax you into eating more carrots to help improve your vision, they may have been onto something according to a recent study.
The study examined the effect of participants taking multivitamins containing high amounts of:
Beta-carotene (a vitamin common in carrots!)
The scientists concluded that study participants who took vitamins over a six year period experience a decrease in advanced age-related macular degeneration.
That said, the study included people with pre-existing age-related macular degeneration and/or cataracts.
Nonetheless, Vitamin A, another gold standard in multivitamins, can be imperative to vision health, and may be recommended as a supplement to those who demonstrate signs of a deficiency.
#2 Improved recall
Research reveals that multivitamins may be associated with enriched short-term recall.
#3 Stronger immunity
As your body’s first line of defense against pathogens, it’s important to keep your immune system healthy.
Multivitamins may aid in these efforts by supplying you with several nutrients that can be central to immune health, namely:
Many multis also contain Vitamins A and D, two nutrients that may be particularly critical to mitigating inflammation and amplifying immune health.
#4 More radiant skin and hair
Multivitamins are also believed to help promote radiant and healthy skin and hair. The potential beauty benefits of taking multivitamins are reason enough to consider adding them to your regime of healthy eating, consistent exercise, and sound sleep: Many multis are rich in ingredients that may improve hair and skin health, including Vitamin E and Vitamin C.
#5 Increased energy
Another multivitamin use is for boosting energy levels. B complex vitamins–eight of them in total–can assist with energy production, primarily through the substantial role they play in energy metabolism. Iron, magnesium, and Zinc, which are frequently featured in multivitamins, are also associated with physical and mental energy and may contribute to less fatigue.
Score your health goals with Favor
Are multivitamins needed by all? No–and yet they offer a range of potential pluses, from more get-up-and-go vigor to healthier, glowier skin.
Are multivitamins one size fits all? Definitely not. If you’re pregnant, or trying to conceive, for instance, you might want to get your hands on a prenatal multi that may boost your levels of folic acid to provide extra support for your growing little ones.
And are all multivitamins created equal? Certainly not, either. The repute of the brand, testing protocols, products that eschew fillers–all influence the quality of the product.
So, what’s the verdict? We here at Favor are happy to answer any lingering questions you may have about the promise of multivitamins. Our team of healthcare professionals are intent on changing the way your health is handled, offering kind, judgment-free recommendations tailored to your needs and endeavors. Because we, too, are keen on seeing you reach your wellness goals—and, perhaps, ascend them.
National Library of Medicine. Multivitamin/Multimineral Supplement Use is Associated with Increased Micronutrient Intakes and Biomarkers and Decreased Prevalence of Inadequacies and Deficiencies in Middle-Aged and Older Adults in the United States. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31502930/
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