Multivitamins; everyone is either taking them or thinking of taking them! However, do you really need them, what core purpose do mutlivitamin for men serve and what must one keep in mind before undertaking a course? Here’s all that you need to know.
Can we get all the nutrients from food?
Dr Tribhuvan Gulati, Metabolic Aging Consultant at Smart Metabolic Anti-Aging Centre says, “There are two major kinds of nutrients – macro and micro. Macronutrients are classified as fat, proteins and carbs and micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. It is important to note that while we can get our macronutrients from food, but micronutrients need to be leveled from supplements.”
So, are multivitamins really crucial for our diet?
“Yes, we cannot get all our micronutrients from food. Depending on its level and acuteness, the deficiency of minerals can lead to disorders, diseases and deficiencies - the signs of which are manifested as one ages,” explains Dr. Gulati.
Multivitamins become more important, especially when we start aging but they should be customised to our bodily requirements and must be consumed only after the prior recommendation of the treating physician.
Should multivitamins be a healthy part of one’s workout nutrition?
Yes, exercise does amp up the need of nutrition for both macro and micronutrients. Dr Gulati adds, “Your body’s protein requirement is affected the most as it goes up and also there is an increase in the level of vitamins and minerals. At this point, micronutrients are required by your body. Hence, the rampant need of multivitamins.”
Can multivitamins prevent serious illnesses in the long run?
Multivitamins can actually help prevent serious illnesses. “The lack or excess of multivitamins is linked to many diseases and disorders that can become chronic over time,” says Dr Gulati. Sometimes the best way to treat a disease especially when it has just started affecting is to replenish the vitamin deficiency or kill the excess. For instance, Vitamin B12 is required to prevent neuropathy, Calcium, Vit D, Phosphorous and Magnesium are required for bone health, Vit C is required for immunity and is one of the most potent antioxidants. Vit A for eyesight, proteins for muscle building etc.
Do multivitamins have side effect in the long run?
“Multivitamins, if taken without prescription or recommended doses can have deleterious effects because some vitamins can get stored in the fat in the body and can stay there for a very long time,” confirms Dr Gulati.
Multivitamins must be taken with caution. For instance, we all know that Vitamin A, Vit D, Vit E and Vit K and also some minerals and heavy metals like Lithium, Magnesium, Calcium are crucial for the body but when taken without the guidance of a physician, they can in fact cause more harm than good.
Do vegetarians need extra dosage and multiple types of multivitamins?
According to Ritesh Bawri, a Stanford University & Tufts University certified nutritionist and physiologist, “If you are vegetarian, chances are you are short on Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. In such cases, you absolutely have to supplement your food. Also, if you do eat meat but do not include fish, you may still be short as these two vitamins are mostly found in fish.”
Is there any good age to start the course of multivitamins?
There is no good age to start nutrition. In fact, what the mother eats provides nutrition to the unborn child. So, as soon as a child is born he or she needs good and complete nutrition. Many people attempt to meet their nutrition needs through supplements. “Mothers would be extremely happy if their child ate the gummy drops. In reality, you do not really need these supplements unless you are not able to get your child to eat food. Often, since this is the case, it may be better to supplement. Having said that, it is always best to get your nutrition from natural foods,” suggests Bawri. These natural foods include fruits, vegetables, especially leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. Also, you can find many of these in fish and chicken or white meat.
With age, do we need to include multivitamin in our diet?
“Yes, aging does require us to start supplementing our nutrition through multivitamins but not all of them. Everybody is different and therefore the requirements for micronutrients in each body are different!” exclaims Dr Gulati. Some people require more of a particular micronutrient than others so the course needs to be customised. To do that, it is essential that we measure the level of each mineral, vitamin and metal in the body.
NOTE: Always, always talk to a professional before starting a course of multivitamin.
Thanks to the internet, today, we live in an information age. However, while we may have more information than we can process it becomes crucial to determine real information from fake information. It is imperative that you discuss with a professional before beginning a course of multivitamins because one needs to identify the cause of a problem before we take any remedial action.