Vitamins can be considered as an essential nutrient for the human body. It is known that there are some diseases that can happen if there is vitamin deficiency such as beri-beri, scurvy, pellagra or rickets. But these conditions rarely happen in a developed country where vitamins and minerals can be obtained from the food you eat everyday. If you have been following the basic food pyramid the food that we eat everyday is able to supply us with the daily vitamins needed. But recently we have been seeing a lot of people taking blackmores multivitamins. The question is do we really need to take multivitamins everyday? Does it really help become healthier or protect us from certain diseases?
In some cases of people with conditions of malabsorption due to the malfunction of the digestive system, supplemental vitamins are needed to prevent further complications. But in cases of people who have a healthy diet, taking multivitamins daily might not be as beneficial as one might think. We know that a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats can give you the adequate nutrition needed for your body.
Before taking any supplemental multivitamins, you should consider the factors on why supplemental vitamins should be needed such as:
- Eating poorly or lack of appetite which lead to poor nutrition
- Being on a restricted diet for example; recovering from surgical procedures that allows only liquid diet to be consumed.
- Having conditions that cause malabsorption such as celiac disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Increased nutritional needs such as in pregnancy
These conditions and factors are recommended to have supplemental vitamins but if you want to take vitamins, there is no harm in visiting a dietitian to find out if you are lacking in any nutrition.
If you have gained your nutritional daily requirements through a healthy diet is there really a need for supplemental vitamins?
Research has shown that there is no benefit or harmful effect when taking supplemental multivitamins. Supplemental multivitamins are not preventive medications for certain diseases. The main purpose of supplemental multivitamins are to fill the nutritional gap that some people might have from their daily diets.
But it does not mean that supplemental vitamins are not important. Supplemental vitamins are needed especially in old age, pregnancy and malabsorption conditions.
Old age tends to have trouble absorbing vitamin B12. This is because old people develop problems with the acid and stomach enzyme that is needed to digest and absorb the vitamin.
During pregnancy the body has an increase in the nutritional requirements as the body is also carrying a growing baby inside. With the increased need of calcium, folic acid, iron and protein, pregnant women should benefit from supplements to gain and reach the nutritional requirement for her health and the growth of the baby.
Malabsorption conditions or any conditions that may interfere with absorption of nutrients have a risk of nutritional deficiencies needs the help from supplementation vitamins to reach the nutritional demand. Conditions such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, gastric bypass due to surgery, excess vomiting and diarrhea and even alcoholism.
Cases of vitamin D deficiency
While vitamin D can be obtained from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, there are a few foods that contain vitamin D naturally. It has been reported that more cases of vitamin D deficiency have been reported as people do not get their daily vitamin D requirements from their diet and people living with less exposure to the sun.
Side effects of supplemental vitamins
Let’s say you took the initiative to take the vitamin into your own account without the consultation from your doctor or dietitian. There is a risk of overdose and experiencing side effects such as:
- Upset stomach
- Unusual taste in the mouth
If you’re experiencing any allergic reaction when taking the supplements, you should immediately visit the hospital to get treated.