Things You Should Know About Taking a Multivitamin

Understanding the 'why'

Is it good to take multivitamins?

In an ideal world, we’d get all the nutrients we need from eating a healthy, balanced diet, but it can be tricky for some people to get enough. That’s where a multivitamin comes in handy. A 2014 study published in Nutrition Journal found that while a varied diet is the best source of essential vitamins and minerals, a multivitamin may help fill in any small but critical nutritional gaps that could otherwise lead to deficiencies. Taking a multivitamin not only tops up your vitamin and mineral levels, it also has a number of benefits for your body and brain.

Who needs a multivitamin?

Eating a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, wholegrain foods and healthy sources of protein should provide us with a good balance of nutrients, but not many of us consume this on a daily basis. It is estimated that only 25% of Australians consume five or more portions of fruit and veg a day. Furthermore, nearly 50% of adults ate less than three portions a day. And even if you do eat plenty of fruit and veg, chances are you won’t be getting as many vitamins and minerals from these foods as you would have a century ago. An ongoing study by McCance and Widdowson found that nutrient levels in fruit and vegetables have declined significantly over the past 70 years, with modern farming methods and new plant varieties believed to be the cause.
Certain groups of people may also benefit from taking a multivitamin, such as:

  • Those with allergies or intolerances
  • Active people burning energy and living stressful lives.
  • Vegetarians and vegans
  • People over 50

What happens if we don't get enough vitamins?

Our bodies need a balance of nutrients to function normally. If we don’t get enough nutrients from food, or can’t absorb the nutrients properly, we could end up with nutritional deficiencies. The way we process certain vitamins also means we need to keep replenishing them. The fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K – can be stored in our bodies, giving us a ready supply. But others, the water-soluble vitamins need to be consumed every day to help our bodies function normally. These are all the B vitamins and the powerful antioxidant vitamin C.

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