Multivitamins are the most common dietary supplements. They are consumed orally and come in different forms: capsules, tablets, powder or liquid.
A multivitamin complex typically contains vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, and antioxidants. These formulas are not intended to cure and cannot be assimilated to medicines or miraculous remedies to protect against diseases.
But then… why take a vitamin and mineral supplement?
What do multivitamins contain?
Vitamins of course
Vitamins are microscopic compounds essential for health, longevity and well-being. Indeed, multivitamins regulate metabolic functions including growth, nerve function and digestion.
Minerals are inorganic elements found in nature. Minerals are essential for specific body functions such as growth, bone health and fluid balance. Calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron or potassium are minerals.
Antioxidants can be vitamins, trace minerals, amino acids, or plant-specific molecules like EGCG in green tea. They have the role regulation of free radicals in the bodyand most often assist glutathione, an antioxidant present in all our cells.
Antioxidants are essential compounds for the protection of the body because we are constantly exposed to oxidative stress: when breathing, doing sports, when we are stressed, when the diet is unbalanced, etc.
Who are multivitamins for?
sedentary people who eat healthy, varied and nutrient-dense foods are generally less exposed to deficiencies. But relatively few people can actually eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods every day. In addition, certain categories of people are more likely to suffer from deficiencies:
Pregnant or breastfeeding women: Supplementation is strongly recommended under the supervision of a physician.
Old people: the absorption of vitamin B12 decreases with age, as well as bone density. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation is also highly recommended.
People who suffer from malnutrition.
Adults who eat poorly.
Vegans, vegetarians and vegans: vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods, and deficiencies in calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin D and omega 3 are common in people who do not eat meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.
Sportsmen: in this specific case, all the vitamins and minerals are overused and supplementation is highly recommended.
The case of athletes
Athletes expend a lot of energy and their body works at high intensity. Their needs in macro and micronutrients are therefore proportionally higher than the average..
And although the majority of athletes are aware of the benefits of a varied and balanced diet, their needs are so great that diet alone cannot meet everything. B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium and zinc, for example, are often deficient in high-level athletes.
Thereby, more complex multivitamin supplementation with high antioxidant content may be recommendedin combination with a nutrient-rich diet.
Precautions to take with vitamins
Our diet is depleted, and therefore our needs cannot always be met by our food. Multivitamin supplementation is therefore recommended, in particular very active, sporty, elderly or convalescing people.
Be careful however not to turn a deficiency into an overdosewith no less perverse effects.
The best is the enemy of good
The iron can be harmful if consumed in high doses without observed deficiency.
Always choose a supplement that meets the Recommended Intakes, especially for fat-soluble vitamins.
Be sure to add a vitamin C supplement to your multivitamin, though. It is not stored in the body and is not toxic even at very high doses (over 10g per day). Mostly, it is essential and indispensable.
Recommended daily values for vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin A (retinol): 800mcg
Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 1.1mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 1.4mg
Vitamin B3 (niacin): 16mg
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 6mg
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): 1.4mg
Vitamin B8 (biotin): 50mcg
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) : 200mcg
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): 2.5mcg
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): 80mg
Vitamin D (cholecalciferol): 5mcg
Vitamin E (tocopherol): 12mg
Vitamin K : 75mcg
Calcium : 800mg
Iron : 14mg
Iodine : 150mcg
Magnesium : 375mg
Phosphorus : 700mg
Selenium : 55mcg
Zinc : 10mg
Potassium : 2000mg
Chloride : 800mg
Copper : 1mg
Manganese : 2mg
Fluoride : 3.5mg
Chromium : 40mcg
Molybdenum : 50mcg
Multivitamins can be considered sports nutrition essentials, and benefactors for sedentary people. Consumed with rigor and taking care not to exceed the recommended daily allowances, these vitamin and mineral supplements help you better absorb nutrients, have more energy, well-beingand can protect you against many diseases related to sedentary lifestyle and old age.
But, more importantly, never forget that your best source of vitamins and minerals is your dietand that nothing can replace healthy and varied nutrition.
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