While research indicates that taking a multivitamin can be good for your health, it is never intended to substitute for a balanced diet or to become your weight loss plan. Since it is not always possible to get your daily nutritional needs through your diet, a vitamin is there to help fill in the gaps. You should also understand what makes a multivitamin important-it contains vitamins and minerals that are required for good health.
Vitamins are found naturally in the meat and plants that we eat. Water soluble vitamins include C and the eight B vitamins-and these are vitamins that the body must have every day. Extra C and B vitamins are excreted by the body. Fat soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K and are found in fish oils, meats, vegetables, and dairy. These vitamins can be stored in your fat tissue for future use. Extra fat soluble vitamins can be harmful, so be careful not to consume more than the recommended daily amounts of these vitamins.
Minerals are inorganic chemical elements and are essential for processes such as growth and metabolism, digestion and bone health, heart function and hormone/enzyme production. Macro minerals are minerals that are required in quantities of 100 mg or more (calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, chloride, and sulfur). Micro minerals are minerals that are required in amounts fewer than 100 mg (iodine, zinc, iron, chromium, molybdenum, fluoride, copper, selenium, and manganese).
These vitamins and minerals are needed daily, and the best way to get them is through the diet. Research is still underway concerning the efficacy of multivitamins, but evidence does suggest that it may be a good idea to use multivitamins, especially if you are sometimes unable to have the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.
Some groups may need more supplements than others. For instance, it is vital that children receive all the vitamins and minerals that they need for healthy growth and development. Supplements are a good way to ensure that they are getting the recommended dosages-especially for picky eaters. Pregnant women should also consider supplementing to ensure the healthy development of their baby. Some vitamins are needed in greater amounts for pregnant women, such as folic acid (which can reduce the possibility of a baby born with defects of the spinal cord and brain. Vegetarians should consider supplementing vitamin B as this nutrient is often found in meats and fish.
Whether or not you decide to supplement with multivitamins, eating a balanced and nutritious diet along with regular exercise is key to good health. Your multivitamin is just an added bonus-an insurance policy for optimum health.