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Why multivitamins may be a better bet.

Thursday, 15 October 2020  |  Editor

Multivitamins or individual supplements?

There is much talk these days of vitamin and mineral intake requirements to ensure you keep your body healthy, particularly those which are often touted as helping resistance to Covid-19.

As a result, many people are deciding to introduce supplements or increase their dosage of them. This has resulted in many people buying individual supplements of, for example, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc.

There's a reason why these products are called "supplements" and that is because they are supplementary to the nutrients you get from food and not a replacement.

People are usually deficient in some nutrients

Most people are deficient in many nutrients because most of us do not have a perfect diet for various reasons, including a simply poor diet and busy lifestyles.

How many capsules or tablets might I need to take?

Taking individual supplements can result in having to take a number of different capsules, tablets or liquids every day and often more than once a day.

This is where multi-vitamins (better described as multi-nutrients because they also contain minerals and other nutrients) come in.

This is because it is often only necessary to take only 1 capsule or tablet per day. But it is also because leading brands of multi-nutrients have carefully assessed your daily requirement of each nutrients whilst having regard to the sort of levels likely to be in your diet.

For example (and there are many others), Biocare's Adult Multivitamins and Minerals contain (amongst other necessary nutrients):

  • 75% of your vitamin A requirement
  • 200% of your vitamin D requirement
  • 167% of your Vitamin E requirement
  • 250% of your vitamin C requirement
  • 100% of your zinc requirement

and you will only need to take 1 capsule per day.

On the other hand, that company's Zinc Citrate capsules contain 171% of your zinc requirement (17.1mg) But the UK National Health Service (NHS) only recommend 9.5mg for men and 7mg for women. The Adult Multivitamins and Minerals product contains 10mg - more than adequate.

You get zinc from your normal food intake, so what happens if you take too much. Well, it can reduce the mount of copper in your body that you need, which can lead to anaemia. So it's important to be careful, they say, not to take too much (over 25mg per day) unless advised by a doctor.

Similarly, whilst lack of Vitamin Can lead to Scurvy, vitamin C cannot bestowed in your body and you need to get all you need on a regular basis from fruit and vegetables or supplements. 40mg per day is recommended by NHS but too much can lead to diarrhoea and flatulence. That said, the levels at which this becomes likely is the rather high, 1000mg per day. In any case, these symptoms usually disappear quickly once you stop taking too much.

All in all therefore, unless you have particular needs as advised by your doctor, it's best to stick within the guidelines.

You might therefore ask why people supplement with individual nutrients without any medical advice or knowledge of any specific issues they may have.

For this reason, for the convenience of one capsule or tablet per day, for the advantage of getting ALL the nutrients you need, most people would be well advised to consider multi-nutrients instead of supplementing with individual nutrients.

The leading brands, like Biocare, Lamberts, Higher Nature and Solgar (for example)even have formulas suitable for you depending upon whether you are female, male, over a certain age or even if you are pregnant are trying to become so. These are all carefully assessed and manufactured with advice from experienced bio-chemists and many of them also with additional input from professional nutritionists.   

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