Multivitamins are pills that can be taken daily to add extra vitamins to your diet. People who are looking to become healthier, have health conditions, are pregnant, nursing, or are trying to lose weight often use multivitamins. Pediatricians often recommend them for children, especially if they are picky eaters.
Recently, however, multivitamins have come under attack with arguments being made on both sides. One side claims multivitamins are useful, great for the health, and should be taken daily. The other side claims multivitamins aren’t only useless, or don’t work as they should, but they are also dangerous.
So what are the real advantages and disadvantages of multivitamins? Read on to find out.
Advantages of Multivitamins
The advantages of multivitamins, as described in detail below, include help in prevent deficiencies, increasing energy, improving concentration, helping people in certain circumstances, and the fact that they are incredibly easy to use.
1. Prevents Deficiencies
Obviously, since multivitamins provide a slew of necessary vitamins and minerals, they can help you to prevent deficiencies. They can also assist people who are already deficiency in a particular vitamin or mineral, because it is an ADDITION to your daily diet. For example, people who suffer from low iron (anemia) can focus on ensuring they get enough iron in their diet, and add a multivitamin high in iron to help build their levels up quicker.
2. Boosts Energy & Concentration
Certain vitamins aid the body and brain by providing energy boost and higher concentration abilities. It is the B Vitamins (B6, B12, Folic Acid, Thiamine, and Niacin) which are primarily responsible for both of these. When you have a multivitamin that includes these key nutrients (which most do), you will be able to feel more energetic and focused.
3. Helps People In Certain Circumstances
There are certain circumstances where a strain is placed on your body, and you develop a need for greater amounts of certain vitamins. Examples are when a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding, or when someone is putting their body through extreme pressure due (such as professional athletes). During these circumstances, a daily multivitamin can assist your body in making up for the extra resources it is losing.
4. Multivitamins Are Easy
Taking a daily multivitamin is the absolute easiest way to get extra nutrients. All you have to do is take a pill at the same time every day, and voila! Your done. The only real thing you need to remember is to take it around the same time everyday. This is because it (A) allows your body to adjust to the supplement, (B) greatly decreases your risk of overdosing on certain vitamins, and (C) allows it to become like second nature – no more forgetting your multivitamin.
Disadvantages of Multivitamins
The disadvantages, as explained in detail below, include a risk of overdosing on certain vitamins, not working as they claim to be, and a lack of federal regulations which means they may or may not be safe.
1. Too many Vitamins
Most people don’t realize this, but there really is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Certain vitamins, particularly those that are fat soluble, can be overdosed on. Overdoses can range from mild to severe, and include symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, sweating, anxiety, depression, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, kidney failure, and a whole slew of other things.
Vitamins to watch out for are A, D, E, and K, which are all fat soluble. Another one that is often overdosed on is Iron, which is extremely dangerous when consumed in excess. If you are already following a healthy diet that meets all your requirements, you may want to skip the multivitamin – or at least talk to your doctor before beginning daily consumption of one.
2. Some Don’t Work Well
Some multivitamins work better than others. Chewable and liquids, for example, work much better than solid pills. Solid pills have actually been found to pass through the stomach and intestines without being absorbed all that much. They are passed in nearly the same shape or form in which they entered the body, and don’t provide much benefit. If you are going to take a multivitamin, steer away from traditional pill formulations. Opt instead for a variety that is liquid, chewable, or a gel capsule.
3. They May or May Not Be Safe
Multivitamins do not have to be approved before being sold, and are not fully regulated by the FDA. This means it is possible for some vitamins to contain unsafe chemicals or additives. The amounts of the varying vitamins and minerals are also allowed to be off within certain amounts, which means you might not even be getting the amounts you think you are. The best way to be safe is to check for multivitamin products which are organic and come with some sort of safety guarantee.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.