What are multivitamins?
Multivitamins contain essential vitamins and minerals. They should contain the daily recommended intake of these nutrients. The daily recommended intake is the amount that is needed not only to prevent deficiency, but also to lower the risk of chronic disease. There are 13 known vitamins. They are organized into two groups: fat soluble (A,D,E,K), and water soluble (B’s and C). Minerals are important because they are used in the structural formation of the bones and teeth, they maintain normal heart rhythm, and muscular contractility. With few exceptions these essential nutrients can not be made by your body and must be obtained from food or supplements.
Who should take multivitamins?
Multivitamins are considered safe for almost everyone. However if you are eating a well balanced diet then you may be getting enough vitamins and minerals already, and supplementation may not be necessary. People who are not eating from all of the food groups (vegetarians, fussy eaters, lactose intolerant) will benefit from supplementing. Ask your pharmacist if a multivitamin is right for you!
Which multivitamin is right for me?
There are many different types of multivitamins available.
- Multivitamins for ages 50+: Often have higher amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis. Keep in mind that most multivitamins do not contain enough calcium or vitamin D, therefore additional supplementation is often required.
- Multivitamins for pregnancy: Have increased Folic acid (to prevent neural tube defects) and Iron.
- Multivitamins for children: Doses are adjusted to the daily recommended intake of children. They often supplied as chewable tablets, or gummy bears.