Why take a multivitamin?
Many of us consistently fail to get all the required vitamins and minerals we need to be healthy, and to feel and perform at our very best. And yet despite this common lack of nutrients in the modern diet, we often hear in the media that “supplementation is unnecessary.” And while a multi-vitamin, multi-mineral is never a substitute for a healthy diet – and food always comes first for health – a multivitamin can help provide some of the things that we may habitually, or occasionally lack for optimal health and performance, providing our daily, nutritional insurance.
The scientific evidence suggests a range of benefits from taking multi-vitamin, multi-mineral formulas, including:
- A 9% drop in overall mortality has been observed in those taking multinutrients 1
- A protective benefit overall against cancer and heart disease 2
- Reduced weight-gain, breast tenderness, nausea and mood disturbance in those taking oral contraceptives 3
- Reduced perceived stress (in healthy, older people) 4
- Improved sleep 5
- Improved memory 6
- Increased fertility and reduced rates of neural tube defects 7
- Reduced risk of age-related cataracts 8
Multinutrients can, therefore, help to ensure a safe and effective way to cover your nutritional bases 9 and get the essential nutrients you require for optimal health. BUT, make sure that the multi you take is helping, not hindering your progress! For that you’ll need to know what to look for in a multivitamin.
More about that next time…
Stay tuned for the next article in this series: What to look for in a multivitamin.
- Huang H-Y, Caballero B, Chang S, Alberg AJ, Semba RD, Schneyer CR, et al. The Efficacy and Safety of Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement Use To Prevent Cancer and Chronic Disease in Adults: A Systematic Review for a National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Conference. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2006;145(5):372-85.
- Alexander DD, Weed DL, Chang ET, Miller PE, Mohamed MA, Elkayam L. A Systematic Review of Multivitamin–Multimineral Use and Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer Incidence and Total Mortality. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2013;32(5):339-54.
- Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi S, Mirghafourvand M, Froghy L, Javadzadeh Y, Razmaraii N. The effect of multivitamin supplements on continuation rate and side effects of combined oral contraceptives: A randomised controlled trial. The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care. 2015;20(5):361-71.
- Macpherson H, Rowsell R, Cox KHM, Scholey A, Pipingas A. Acute mood but not cognitive improvements following administration of a single multivitamin and mineral supplement in healthy women aged 50 and above: a randomised controlled trial. AGE. 2015;37(3):1-10.
- Sarris J, Cox KHM, Camfield DA, Scholey A, Stough C, Fogg E, et al. Participant experiences from chronic administration of a multivitamin versus placebo on subjective health and wellbeing: a double-blind qualitative analysis of a randomised controlled trial. Nutrition Journal. 2012;11(1):1-10.
- Harris E, Macpherson H, Vitetta L, Kirk J, Sali A, Pipingas A. Effects of a multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement on cognition and blood biomarkers in older men: a randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. 2012;27(4):370-7.
- Czeizel AE, Dudás I, Métneki J. Pregnancy outcomes in a randomised controlled trial of periconceptional multivitamin supplementation. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 1994;255(3):131-9.
- Zhao L-Q, Li L-M, Zhu H. The effect of multivitamin/mineral supplements on age-related cataracts: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2014;6(3):931-49.
- Biesalski HK, Tinz J. Multivitamin/mineral supplements: rationale and safety – A systematic review. Nutrition.