5 things you need to know before buying multivitamins

Assessing multivitamin requirements

Before heading down to your local health store or supermarket to stockpile a stash of vitamins it is important to assess if you really need them. If you are already in good health and have a generally healthy lifestyle where you eat a cross-section of nutritious foods they may not actually provide any further benefits, or you may not be taking the right ones for your specific needs:

However, there are clear cases where they can be beneficial, for instance if you are trying to get pregnant; if you have a shortage of key vitamins such as vitamin D; if you are very rundown, or when you have certain ailments that make the absorption of nutrients difficult to name a few examples. In the latter cases, those trying to get pregnant are recommended to take 400 micrograms of folic acid and some illnesses such as Chhorn’s disease or cystic fibrosis may lead to malabsorption where vitamins from food are not absorbed effectively:

1. Understand the dosage

Although multivitamins can be beneficial to health it is important to remember the limitations and follow the dosage, as too much could cause damage. For instance, excess vitamin C or zinc could potentially cause hair loss or nausea, and although it would take a lot to cause this kind of effect always remember to keep within the recommended doses to get the maximum benefit from vitamins.

2. Vitamins can’t compensate for a poor diet

Unfortunately some people think that if they pop a few pills it will compensate for serious nutritional deficiencies in their diet. It won’t! However, taken alongside a healthy and nutritious diet such as one with a good balance of vegetables, fruit, protein and carbohydrates, multivitamins can enhance the benefits to health and proactively complement a healthy lifestyle.

3. Multivitamins aren’t regulated

A common misconception is that multivitamins are regulated in the way that drugs or foods are – but this is not the case. They don’t have to go through product tests and aren’t necessarily supported by efficacy or safety assessments. Most vitamins are nevertheless safe but it is wise to use a reputable supplier for your multivitamin supplies to ensure you purchase a good quality brand.

4. Always read the label

Check that the vitamins have the specific nutrients you want to supplement and at the right dosage. For example, one brand may have vitamin C but another may leave it out in favour of another vitamin, therefore check there is a balance of the ones that you are looking for to supplement your diet. With the right selection of multivitamins along with other healthy life choices you may start to see the benefits in your general wellbeing.

5. Multivitamins can’t cure a major disease

Although it is important to maintain good overall health and consider vitamins if you are undergoing a major illness or treatment, multivitamins cannot cure this but may help you to feel better and recover your health alongside standard medicine, treatments and a healthy lifestyle. However, in this scenario always check with your physician before you begin multivitamin supplements to ensure there is no conflict with any other medications.