Experts agree that the best way to provide nutrition for your body is to eat good, wholesome fresh food every day. Our bodies have developed to be able to fulfill their maximum potential on a diet of only what the land gives us – meat, dairy, fruit, vegetables and other staples. So why are multivitamins and minerals supplements necessary at all?
We are far away from nutrients
The truth is that the vast majority of use are not getting all of the nutrients we need in order for our bodies to perform to their potential on a daily basis.
This is due to a variety of factors, including a shortage of good fresh food available to everyone, the prevalence of unhealthy processed food with very little beneficial nutritional content, and our modern lifestyles which often consist of spending our days locked away in sunshine-free buildings, with polluted air outside, getting no exercise and grabbing convenient ‘snack’ foods on-the-go because we don’t have time to sit down and eat a proper meal.
Doctors and nutritionists agree that most human beings in the twenty-first century are starving themselves of essential vitamins and minerals, and in many cases this situation is completely avoidable.
Why consumption of Multivitamins and Minerals is important
Multivitamins and minerals supplements are formulated to contain a recommended daily amount of many of the essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to properly conduct some of its most basic functions, including cell regeneration, the proper functioning of the heart, brain, and other organs.
These recommended daily amounts are based on scientific study and experience, and it is not recommended to deliberately exceed the recommended amounts, which is unlikely to provide and health benefits over and above the regular dose, and may indeed prove counterproductive in the long run, since some of the elements of multivitamins and minerals formulas can be detrimental when taken in large quantities.
Multivitamins and mineral supplements are typically available over the counter in a variety of forms, from simple pills and capsules to liquids and fortified fruit juices, to sweets and candy for children.
Children’s multivitamins and minerals supplements are formulated slightly differently than the adult versions, as children need different nutrients in different amounts to meet the needs of their developing bodies. It is advisable to choose a specific children’s supplement for them, rather than the regular version.
What does it contain?
A standard multivitamins and minerals supplement will contain recommended daily amounts of all the following vitamins and minerals: vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and beta carotene. On top of these essentials, many multivitamins and minerals formulas also contain other beneficial elements, notably recently omega 3 essential fatty acids (from fish oil) and pro-biotic nutrients.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids are fatty acids that the body needs to fuel a variety of its processes, including many relating to brain activity.
They cannot be synthesized by the human body, and therefore must be consumed either as part of a whole food diet (usually in fish), or by supplementation.
Studies have shown that people who regularly take omega 3 essential fatty acids showed improved brain function, memory capacity and mental agility, as well as heightened alertness.
Omega 3 oils are also particularly beneficial to the elderly and those who suffer or may be at increased risk from arthritis, as they help to lubricate the joints.
Pro-biotic nutrients are basically bacteria the like of which are found in your gut and help to break down and digest food.
The theory is that supplementing with extra reserves of such bacteria will help the digestive process, allowing more nutrients to reach their targets faster and eliminating symptoms of poor digestion, including gas and bloating.
Pro-biotic nutrients have also been shown to have a beneficial effect for patients suffering from some digestive diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Multivitamins and minerals formulas may be prescribed to treat a multitude of conditions, from common and relatively minor viruses, to digestive conditions, to psychological disorders such as depression.
The symptoms and knock-on effects of vitamin deficiency are many and varied.
Sometimes a vitamin or mineral deficiency can progress to become a serious condition such as scurvy, or even cause death in acute cases.
Some athletes receive injections of multivitamins and minerals as opposed to taking pills.
This method is expensive and possibly unpleasant for some, but it does increase the absorption rate of the vitamins and minerals and therefor make the supplement more effective.
Another way some manufacturers have found to increase the effectiveness of multivitamin and mineral supplements is through the use of timed release formulas.
Many of the vitamins and minerals in supplements are needed by the body constantly, twenty-four hours a day. Yet the body cannot simply store them all and retrieve them when needed.
Therefore sometimes the entire quantity of a vitamin or mineral in a supplement can be wasted because the body cannot use it all at once, and the excess is gone by the time the body needs more.
Timed release vitamin supplements get around this by using special coatings that release their active ingredients throughout the day, thus maximizing the potential benefif of the supplement without risk of overdosing on any of the individual vitamins and minerals.
Careful with the over intake of Multivitamins and Minerals
You should consult your doctor of you experience any side-effects after taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement.
Additionally, pregnant women should seek additional advice in this area, since some of the active ingredients in standard multivitamins are undesirable during pregnancy.
Specialized formulas are available for such an occasion if required.
Study after study has shown the health benefits of taking a multivitamins and minerals formula daily in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise.