Multivitamins are important, especially for those of us who wish to remain healthy and active. There are many reasons why you should take a multivitamin in order to maintain optimal daily health and peak performance. Even some of the best eating plans might not get you all of the forty nutrients you should get every day. In fact, most Americans do not get the vitamins they need because of a bad diet or poor appetite, or changing nutritional needs. By taking a multivitamin each day you can fill in any nutritional gaps.
But when you head over to the multivitamin section you may find that there are many more available options than you once thought. With so many brands marketing so many varieties of multivitamins it can be challenging at best to know where to start.
Why Take Vitamin Supplements? The short version is that you need to ensure you have a complete diet with all of the nutrients that your body requires. Healthy eating is of course the best source of getting the vitamins that you need and vitamin supplements should not be used as a supplement for a good meal plan and regular exercise. They are meant to supplement, hence their name. That means they are a safety net, so to speak, to back up your regular healthy meals. If your diet does not give you all of the vitamins you need—and for most people it does not—then taking vitamin supplements can help.
In 2010 the Dietary Guidelines for Americans determined that there were four main nutrients that adults and children did not get enough of in their daily diet. They were:
- Vitamin D
- Dietary fiber
All of these items (save for fiber) can be found in multivitamins and fiber can be found in a separate supplement. By adding these items to your diet you can boost your health.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control stated that over half of the adults in America take a dietary supplement and among them, multivitamins are the most common supplement taken. In fact, nearly forty percent of American men and women take a multivitamin each day.
It was the Harvard School of Public Health that suggested taking a multivitamin once per day will give people the additional vitamin D that they need and the Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University that stating taking a multivitamin each day is essential to maintaining optimal health.
Experts can agree that vitamin supplements can help bridge any nutrient gaps in your daily diet and support your general health while also preventing health risks or major chronic conditions. For example, pregnant women can take folic acid supplements to reduce their risk of birth defects. Older men and women can take vitamin D and calcium supplements to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
There is a greater risk of having deficiencies in your diet than there is of overdosing on your vitamins. The potential harm comes from a diet that is poor in vitamins and nutrients, not from taking vitamin supplements.