An integral part of the body’s metabolism, a vitamin (vita is latin for life) is an organic molecule found only in food – the body can’t synthesize it.
On one side we have liposolubles vitamins (A,E,D), meaning soluble in fat, that our body can stock plentifully, i.e. the human liver contains about 500,000 I.U. of vitamin A (retinol)!
However, vitamin C, B1, B2, B6 are known as hydrosoluble. Which means soluble in water, and that the body can metabolize them rather quickly.
Usually, a good multivitamin formula will also include minerals that the body needs for essential functions like oxygen transport, nutrients upgrade, muscle contraction/relaxation etc…
But who needs a multivitamin complex? Or, let’s turn the question around… who doesn’t need it?
Seriously, who can brag about eating in such a manner, that on a daily basis he or she gets the optimum amount of all the required essential nutrients?
In the fast-paced world in which we live, full of mishaps, working overtime, temptations (fast food) on every street corner, fast food dispenser units in colleges and universities it’s getting more and more difficult to stay on a healthy diet. Even people working in health fields are subject to those constraints.
Do you smoke? Every cigarette that you light up will destroy about 30mg of vitamin C. You had an orange at breakfast? So what? The content of vitamin C of an orange (normally 60mg) is not standardized. It may contain 30mg or even only 10mg, depending of the time of the harvest, the weather, the sun etc… And this is true for all fruits and vegetables!
Its stands to reason that most people would benefit from adding a multivitamins to their daily diet. However, certain categories of people are more at risk of deficiency than others:
• Pregnant women (folic acid)
• The elderly and the vegans (B12, folic acid)
• Salespeople on the road (B-complex, C)
• Growing teenagers (A, D, calcium)
• People who do intense training (cross fit, marathons etc… (C, zinc, potassium)
Let’s have a closer look at the nutrients pertaining to each category mentioned above.
Folic acid: According to Siobhan Dolan M.D. from Albert Einstein medical center, 70% of pre-natal problems could be avoided by a daily intake of 400mcg of folic acid!
B-12: Even a slight deficiency can accelerate cognitive impairment in the elderly. The B-12 helps neurotransmitters to dispatch information. And vegans, due to the fact that they don’t consume animal products, are particularly prone to a lack of this important vitamin.
B-Complex: Anti-stress, anti-fatigue, the B-complex vitamins are implicated in the metabolism of carbohydrates and red blood cells. Mandatory for people who have a busy schedule.
A, D, Calcium: These three nutrients are intimately linked in the development of cells, bones, muscles and immune system. They are a must for growing teenagers.
C, Zinc, Potassium: Vitamin C helps produce collagen, ensure arteries stability and reduces oxidative stress. Zinc is implicated in testosterone synthesis, immune system and acts as a co-factor in many of the body’s enzymatic reactions. Potassium helps regulate body hydration, fights high blood pressure and assists muscle contraction along with calcium. Perfect for people who subscribe to the notion that intensity equals results!
HOW AND WHEN TO TAKE YOUR MULTIVITAMINS?
Always with food (a shake or a meal). Take 1 to 2 caps with breakfast. Repeat at suppertime if you’re training for a competition.
A good multivitamin that I can suggest is the one from DSL Nutrition. With 27 nutrients, including lutein (eyes health) and lycopene (prostate health), you’re more than covered. Besides their vegetalians capsules are OMG-free.
Why take a multi? Because it’s your health insurance!
Park, Johnson, Fisher - Vitamin and mineral supplements barriers and challenges for older adults.
Huang H.Y. - Multivitamins/minerals supplements and prevention of chronic disease.
Stampher M. - Toward optimum health, multivitamins and minerals supplementation for women.
Journal of Nutrition, April 2016 - Korolinska Institute of Stockholm.
Multivitamins reduced risk of heart attack.
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