What defines a multivitamin? Normally, a supplement that has more than three micro-nutrients can be labeled as a multivitamin. These small minerals and vitamins are required by the body to perform vital physiological functions on a daily basis. For most of them only 100mg or less is required for healthy, effective body functions. But there are both benefits and potential risks that you should be aware of before taking multivitamins. If used appropriately and conservatively to supplement a balanced diet where needed, then there are many benefits.
Who Needs Multivitamins?
Multivitamins are vital if you know you have a deficiency in any one of the essential vitamins or minerals. This is often the case during pregnancy, in a vegetarian diet or if you exercise and train hard (bodybuilding or athletes).
- Common deficiencies in those who eat a vegetarian diet are vitamin B12, Iron, vitamin D and calcium. They’re found in meat and dairy products that just aren’t found in a vegetarian diet.
- During pregnancy, your diet needs to provide not nourishment not only for you, but for your baby as well. This is why multivitamins are often recommended during pregnancy.
- For athletes and bodybuilders, multivitamins are important to replace the nutrients that’s lost through energy burning and sweating.
Sickness and Recovery
Multivitamins are also helpful when you’re sick. When sick, your body isn’t able to function as well as it normally does and may not be able to absorb the vitamins and minerals that are vital to recovering. Using a multivitamin can help your body get the nutrients it needs to get well again.
Young children periodically go through “growth spurts” and experience quick spouts of growth and development. In an ideal world, they would get all the nutrients they need from a healthy, balanced diet. But that’s so often not the case since many youngsters are picky eaters. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to get them to eat the right foods to provide the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly. In this case, a kids multivitamin can help them get what they need.
Can You Get Too Much?
However, it’s also possible to have too many vitamins. If you take too many multivitamins in larger doses, it can lead to health problems. For example, your body stores vitamin D and vitamin A in fat. If you get too much of them then the body can’t flush out the excess and it can start to become toxic. Getting too many vitamins isn’t common though. It most commonly happens if you’re taking multiple multivitamins and supplements and often. Or if you’re taking much more than the recommended dosages.