Main Reasons Why You Need a Multivitamin

Multivitamin Supplements on Spoon

It is important to get enough vitamins and minerals in your body as they perform many different roles to help keep your body healthy and running at its optimal level. However, there is a fine line between getting enough of these important nutrients and getting too much, which can be harmful. One of the best ways to get enough of the vitamins and minerals that you need is to eat a healthy diet.

Essential Nutrients

Each day your body produces bone, muscle, and skin. The body churns out blood that carries oxygen and nutrients to different areas of the body and also sends out nerve signals that go along thousands of miles of body and brain pathways. As if this was not enough, the body also formulates chemical messengers that go from one organ to another providing instructions that help keep you alive.

Nutrients in Spoon

In order to do all of this, the body requires some raw materials. This includes around 30 dietary components, vitamins and minerals. Your body needs these things, but cannot produce them on its own in sufficient amounts.

Both vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients because they act in concert to perform hundreds of different roles in the body. They help to heal wounds, shore up bones, and boost immunity. In addition, they repair cell damage and convert food that is eaten into energy.

It can be difficult to keep track of what all of these vitamins and minerals actually do. If you read enough you are likely to become overwhelmed by all of the different references to these nutrients, most of which are known mainly by the initials, such as vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and K to name just a few.

Hands Holding Vitamins Sign

This article will help you gain an understanding of what these vitamins and minerals do in the body and why you need to make sure that you get enough. It will also help you choose the best multivitamin supplement to help you meet these needs.

In this article, you’ll gain a better understanding of what these vitamins and minerals actually do in the body and why you want to make sure you’re getting enough of them.

Micronutrients May be Small, But Play a Big Role in The Body

Micronutrients refer to vitamins and minerals. The reason that they are called micronutrients is because your body only needs a small amount of them in order to survive. However, failing to get even the smallest amounts of these necessary nutrients can almost guarantee illness of some kind.

Fresh Fruits And Veggies Juice

Some examples of diseases caused by vitamin deficiencies include:

  • Blindness - a deficiency in vitamin A can cause blindness
  • Scurvy - caused by a vitamin C deficiency, scurvy causes the gums to bleed and listlessness.
  • Rickets - a vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets which is a condition that causes weak bones that may lead to skeletal deformities.

A lack of key micronutrients can cause harm to the body, but getting enough of these micronutrients can have many benefits including:

  • Healthy teeth - fluoride can help the formation of bone and helps keep cavities from forming or getting worse.
  • Strong bones - a combination of vitamins D and K, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium helps to protect your bones from fractures.
  • Prevent birth defects - folic acid supplements taken during pregnancy can help prevent spinal and brain birth defects.

What Is The Difference Between Vitamins And Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are both considered micronutrients, but there are some basic differences. Vitamins can be broken down by air, acid, or heat as they are organic. Minerals hold onto their chemical structure as they are inorganic.

Fresh Fruits And Veggies in Basket

This means that minerals found in water and soil can easily make their way into your body through the fish, animals, plants, and fluids that you consume. However, it is harder to get vitamins from food and other sources because of storage methods, cooking, and even exposure to air can inactivate vitamins as they are fragile compounds.

Good And Bad Interactions

When considering the best multivitamin it is important to consider how micronutrients react. For example, vitamin D will help your body get calcium from food sources that pass through the digestive tract instead of getting it from your bones. Vitamin C will help you absorb iron better.

Vitamin D Food

The interplay between micronutrients is not always cooperative. For example, vitamin C blocks the body from assimilating copper. If you have even a minor overload of manganese, iron deficiency can worsen.

Water Soluble And Fat Soluble Vitamins

There are two main types of vitamins, those that are water soluble and those that are fat soluble.

Water Soluble Vitamins

Water soluble vitamins are packed into the watery parts of the foods that you eat. These vitamins are absorbed directly into the bloodstream as the food is broken down or as a supplement starts to dissolve.

Letter B Made From Fruit And Veggies

Since the body is mostly made up of water, these vitamins are circulated quite easily throughout the body. The kidneys regulate the levels of these vitamins and shunt extras out through the urine.

Some examples of water soluble vitamins include the B vitamin family. B vitamins include:

  • Thiamin: vitamin B1
  • Riboflavin: vitamin B2
  • Niacin: vitamin B3
  • Pantothenic acid: vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B6
  • Biotin: vitamin B7
  • Folic Acid: Vitamin B9
  • Vitamin B12.

Vitamin C is also a water soluble vitamin.

Vitamin C Balloon

Water soluble vitamins have several tasks within the body. One of the most important tasks of these types of vitamins is to release the energy that is found in the food that you eat. Other water soluble vitamins keep your tissues healthy. Some examples of how these vitamins keep you healthy include:

  • Energy Release - several of the B vitamins are important components of specific coenzymes that help to release energy from food.
  • Energy production - biotin, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin all help with energy production
  • Protein and cell production - folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 all help metabolize amino acids to help cells multiply.
  • Collagen production - vitamin C helps make collagen. Collagen is necessary to support the walls of the blood vessels, knit together wounds, and forms a basis for the bones and teeth.

Fat Soluble Vitamins

Unlike water soluble vitamins, fat soluble vitamins do not just slip easily into the bloodstream. Fat soluble vitamins enter into the blood from lymph channels located in the walls of the intestines. Many of these vitamins enter the body by using proteins that act as a carrier.

Food with Fat Soluble Vitamins

The steps of how fat soluble vitamins enter the body:

  • Fat soluble foods are ingested
  • The food is then digested by the stomach acid and then goes to the small intestine to be digested further. Bile, which is produced by the liver is necessary for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Bile flows through the small intestine to break down the nutrients.
  • The nutrients are then absorbed into the wall of the small intestine.
  • Once the fat soluble vitamins are absorbed they enter the lymph vessels and then make their way into the bloodstream. In many cases these vitamins have to be coupled with protein in order to travel throughout the body.
  • Fat soluble vitamins are used around the body. Excesses are stored in fat tissues and in the liver.
  • If additional amounts of fat soluble vitamins are needed the body will use the reserves by releasing them from the liver into the bloodstream.

Oils and fatty foods are reservoirs for the 4 main fat soluble vitamins. Inside the body the liver and fat tissues store these vitamins and then release them when they are needed. You can think of these vitamins as time released as they are only used as needed.

Letter K Made of Fruits And Veggies

The four fat soluble vitamins are: vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin A.

What Fat Soluble Vitamins do

These four vitamins are important for keeping your skin, lungs, eyes, nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract in good repair. These vitamins are also important for building bones, protecting your vision, and protecting the body. Vitamin E is necessary for the absorption of vitamin A. Additionally, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to help protect the body from damage caused by unstable molecules.

Major Minerals

The body stores and needs large amounts of the major minerals. While trace minerals are just as important, the body simply has more of these minerals stored. The major minerals are calcium, magnesium, chloride, potassium, phosphorous, sulfur, and sodium.

K 19 Vitamin

Major minerals travel through the body in different ways. For example, potassium is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. It circulates throughout the body freely and then is excreted by the kidneys, similar to a water soluble vitamin. Calcium is more similar to a fat soluble vitamin as it needs a carrier in order to be transported and absorbed.

What Major Minerals do

One of the most important tasks of the major minerals is to make sure there is a proper balance of water maintained in the body. Potassium, sodium, and chloride take the lead in this. The three other major minerals, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, all play important roles for keeping bones healthy. Sulfur helps to stabilize protein structures. This includes some of the protein structures that make up the skin, hair, and nails.

Spilled Salt on Table

It is important to note that too much of any of the major minerals can result in becoming deficient in another. These imbalances are often caused by overloads from supplements and not from food sources.

For example, salt overload can occur when calcium binds with the excess sodium in the body and then is excreted when the body thinks the sodium levels need to be lowered. This means that if you eat too much salt you may end up losing calcium as well. Similarly, too much phosphorus can hamper the body’s ability to absorb magnesium.

Trace Minerals

All of the trace minerals found in the body could be held in a thimble. However, this does not mean that these minerals are not important. The trace minerals include copper, chromium, iodine, fluoride, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc, and molybdenum.

Trace Minerals Illustration

What Trace Minerals do

Trace minerals are responsible for several tasks. For example:

  • Iron helps carry oxygen throughout the body
  • Fluoride strengthens teeth and bones
  • Zinc helps blood clot and is essential for smell and taste. It also boosts immune responses.
  • Copper helps to form several enzymes including one that helps with iron metabolism and hemoglobin creation.

The other trace minerals also have important roles such as blocking damage to cells and forming parts of several key enzymes.

Trace Minerals Food in Jars

Trace minerals interact with each other and at times this may trigger imbalances. Having too much of one can cause a deficiency in another. For example, too much manganese can cause iron deficiency. If there is not enough iodine in the body, the thyroid hormone production will slow, which can cause weight gain and sluggishness.

Antioxidants

Antioxidant is a catch all term for any compound that counteracts unstable molecules that could damage cell membranes, DNA, and other parts of the cells.

Blueberries on Antioxidant Word

The body will naturally produce antioxidants. Another source of antioxidants comes in the form of the food that you eat and the supplements that you take. Carotenoids such as lutein and lycopene along with flavonoids such as quercetin, anthocyanins, and catechins are all antioxidants. Vitamin C and Vitamin E and selenium all have antioxidant elements.

How Free Radicals Can be Harmful

Free radicals are the byproduct of energy metabolism. Air pollution, tobacco smoke, and ultraviolet rays also generate free radicals. They do not have a full complement of electrons and this makes them unstable. The free radicals steal electrons from other types of molecules, which damages those molecules.

Fresh Fruits in Summer

Essentially, free radicals cause cell damage, which can be bad. However, free radicals may be good in some cases. When the cells from the immune system need to fight intruders, the oxygen that is used spins off free radicals that will destroy bacteria, viruses, and damaged body cells.

How Antioxidants Help

Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals by giving up their own electrons. When vitamin C or vitamin E molecules sacrifice their electrons it can allow a crucial gene, protein or cell membrane to escape without damage. This can help break up a chain reaction that could harm many other cells.

Kids Eating Strawberries in Field

It is important to note that the word antioxidant is technically referring to a chemical property and not a nutritional property. Each nutrient has antioxidant properties and other aspects that must be considered individually.

Using Multivitamin Tablets

When considering the roles that vitamins and minerals play within the body, it is easy to see why taking a multivitamin may be important. Most people simply do not consume the appropriate foods that are necessary to get all of the vitamins and minerals that are needed in order for their body to function properly.

Different Multivitamin Tablets

With that being said, there are many multivitamins from which to choose and the best multivitamin for women is not typically the same as the best multivitamin for men.

Best Multivitamin For Women

There are 13 essential vitamins that women need and it is believed that nearly 30 percent of all women are deficient in one or more of these. The risk for vitamin deficiency increases with age. Additionally, it is thought that about 75 percent of women would develop nutrient deficiencies if multivitamins did not exist.

Woman Holding Multivitamin Pill And Glass of Water

Vitamin deficiency weakens a woman’s ability to get through childbirth, makes them susceptible to infections, and leaves the body with fewer resources to recover when ill. There is also evidence that women that have gone through menopause are more likely to develop osteoporosis, when they are low in nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin K, and calcium.

These women are also more likely to lose vision if they are short in antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin A.

When it comes to a good multivitamin for women to take they should look for one that offers vitamins C, A, D, E, and K. It should also include B vitamins such as vitamin B12 and thiamine. The multivitamin should contain fatty acids as well as the important trace elements.

Best Multivitamin For Men

A large percentage of men who eat a typical western diet experience at least some type of vitamin deficiency. This is mainly due to poor food choices. One study showed that almost 77 percent of men do not have enough magnesium and that many men are deficient in vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Man Showing Multivitamin Pill

Men need the same 13 essential vitamins as women as well as the fatty acids and trace minerals. Men who eat a poor diet that is low in fresh fruits and vegetables, and rarely eat eggs, dairy, poultry, or seafood, are more susceptible to vitamin deficiencies.

Men are just as susceptible to vitamin deficiency as women, which is why it is important to choose a quality multivitamin. When it comes to a good multivitamin for men it should contain vitamin D, vitamin B12, antioxidant vitamins such as A, E, and C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium,

Do You Need a Multivitamin With Iron

Anemia and iron deficiency are the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies in the world. This is especially true among young women. Iron is used to produce hemoglobin in the body. Hemoglobin is a protein that transports oxygen in the blood from the lungs into the other tissues throughout the body.

Hand Holds a Box of Vitamin B12

There are 2 types of iron, heme and nonheme. The most absorbable type of iron is that which is found in animal proteins such as meat, fish, eggs, and poultry. Plant based sources of iron include beans and leafy greens.

Adolescent girls are at a high risk for iron deficiency and women in general need to make sure that they get enough iron as the demand for iron within the body increases during the menstrual cycle.

Women who have adequate stores of both iron and vitamin B12 are less likely to suffer from poor immunity, fatigue, fatal infections, and bleeding episodes that could put their lives at risk.

When taking a multivitamin with iron it is important to be careful. You should only choose a supplement with iron if you have been to your doctor and found out that you have an iron deficiency. The reason for this is because too much iron can also cause many health issues, so it is important to maintain a healthy balance.

Conclusion

When it comes to the best multivitamin brand it can be difficult to choose just one. There are many great multivitamin supplements available. However, the best multivitamin supplement will contain all of the most important vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for maintaining a healthy body overall.

Mom And Dad Holding Kids

Typically, a one a day multivitamin will have the vitamins and minerals that are necessary to keep your body healthy. It is important to look over the listed vitamins and nutrients of the multivitamin before taking it. Choose one that has all 13 essential vitamins included and also offers important micronutrients and minerals.

For those who have an iron deficiency it is important to find a multivitamin with iron to take. These supplements will provide you with the trace amounts of iron that you need if you are unable to get your iron from food. Before taking a multivitamin that contains iron it is important to discuss it with your doctor. Too much iron can be a bad thing, which is why it is important to be aware of your current iron levels before taking it in supplement form.

Overall, the best multivitamin will contain vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K as well as several other minerals. Once you begin taking a multivitamin on a regular basis, chances are that you will see a major improvement in how your body functions overall. While the requirements for men and women are slightly different, a quality multivitamin will be similar for both.