There are those who say that what is good for everything is not good for anything, and multivitamins are also mixed pills for which it is perhaps better to collect what we need separately. Others say the multivitamin is the best thing that could have happened to us and our health, as we don’t have to take the pills individually because they have a daily dose in them. They are simple and practical – but what does the research do so far say about them?
Multivitamins are the most commonly used dietary supplements in the world. Their popularity has grown rapidly over the past few decades. Some believe they can improve health, compensate for poor eating habits, and even reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.
This article examines the scientific evidence behind multivitamins and, of course, does not specifically recommend taking or not taking them, despite the information below. The results of the research do not give an answer as to whether it is worth buying multivitamin preparations, but they have been asked whether these preparations can really prevent certain diseases.
Multivitamins are supplements that contain many different vitamins and minerals, sometimes along with other ingredients. Because there is no exact standard for what qualifies as a multivitamin, their nutrient composition may vary by manufacturer and product.
What do multivitamins contain?
Thirteen vitamins and about 15 minerals are essential to our health. Many of these produce enzymes and hormones, increase immunity, and maintain the proper functioning of nerves and organs, or at least help our bodies with this. Our bodies need these nutrients for reproduction, maintenance, growth, and regulation of bodily processes.
Multivitamins can offer many of these vitamins and minerals – but in varying amounts. They may also contain other ingredients such as herbs, amino acids, and fatty acids.
In addition, some supplements may contain ingredients that may interact with the medication, so it is important that you talk to your doctor about the vitamins you should take in addition to the medication.
Multivitamins and heart disease
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. While some believe that taking multivitamins can help prevent heart disease, research does not strongly support this. Some studies suggest that multivitamins are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack and death from heart disease, while others do not.
The Physicians ’Health Study II looked at the effects of daily multivitamin use in more than 14,000 middle-aged people for more than a decade and found no reduction in the number of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths. However, another study revealed that taking a multivitamin for more than 3 years in women may be associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease.
Multivitamins and cancer
Evidence on multivitamin use and cancer risk is also mixed. Some studies show no effect on preventing cancer, while others link multivitamin use to an increased risk of cancer, such as in smokers and the elderly. One review looked at five randomized studies involving 47,289 people. According to this, the risk of cancer was 31% lower in men who took a multivitamin, but there was no such effect in women.
Two observational studies, one involving only women and the other involving both men and women, linked long-term multivitamin use to a reduction in the risk of colon cancer.
Can multivitamins have other health benefits?
Very much, and not just what the results are mixed about. Multivitamins have also been studied for a number of other purposes, including improving brain function and eye health.
Several small studies examining specific populations have found that multivitamins can improve memory in the elderly.
Multivitamins can also affect your mood. Research has found links not only between a bad mood and nutrient deficiencies but also between dietary supplements and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, other studies show little or no change in mood as a result of multivitamin use.
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. One study showed that consuming antioxidant vitamins and minerals can slow your progression and help prevent the disease from developing. In addition, some evidence suggests that multivitamins may reduce the risk of developing cataracts, another widespread eye disease.
And some more important things to know
If someone is taking multivitamins and consuming a lot of nutrient-rich foods, they may exceed the recommended daily intake of more nutrients. Pregnant women should be especially careful about vitamin A intake, as excessive intake may be associated with congenital disabilities.
Vitamin D toxicity is rare and unlikely to result from multivitamin use. However, the toxicity of vitamin A is more common, according to scientific research – you should also pay attention to this if you take it from them.
Smokers should avoid multivitamins high in beta-carotene or vitamin A, as these nutrients may increase the risk of lung cancer.
Certain minerals, such as iron, can cause stomach upset, constipation, vomiting, and fainting. Iron can also limit the body’s ability to absorb zinc beyond a certain amount. Men in particular need to pay attention to their iron intake, as they tend to store more of it than women.
Do you need to take a multivitamin?
Multivitamins may be definitely beneficial for certain populations, such as older adults. The absorption of vitamin B12 may decrease with age. In addition, the elderly may need more calcium and vitamin D – these preparations may also be helpful in this.
These formulations are also beneficial for vegans and vegetarians. Because vitamin B12 is found primarily in foods of animal origin, there is a higher risk of vitamin deficiency in those following a plant-based diet. They may also be deficient in calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
People who have undergone weight-loss surgery may also benefit from a multivitamin because they are on a low-calorie diet or are not getting enough nutrients from food alone.