Multivitamins are the most commonly used functional foods in the world.
Their popularity has increased rapidly over the past few decades .
Some people believe that multivitamins can improve health, compensate for poor eating habits or even reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
But what does science say about multivitamins? Are they really effective?
This article provides a view based on available evidence.
What is multivitamins?
Multivitamins are a functional food containing many vitamins and minerals, sometimes with a few other ingredients .
There are no specific standards for composition of multivitamins, and their nutritional composition varies based on brand and product.
They have several different names such as multivitamins, synthetic minerals, multis, multiples or simply vitamins.
They are available in many forms, such as tablets, capsules, lozenges, powders and liquids.
Most multivitamins need to be taken only once or twice a day. Make sure you read the labels carefully and follow the instructions.
Multivitamins are available at pharmacies, large discount stores, supermarkets and online retail sites.
Conclusion: V Multivitamins are functional foods that include many different vitamins and minerals. They are available in many different forms.
What do vitamins contain?
There are about 13 vitamins and at least 16 essential minerals for health.
Many of these substances participate in enzymatic reactions in the body, or function as hormones, signaling molecules or structural elements.
The body needs these nutrients to reproduce, maintain, grow and regulate body processes.
Multivitamins can contain many vitamins and minerals, but in many different forms and amounts. They may contain other ingredients such as herbs, amino acids and fatty acids.
Since dietary supplements are not controlled, multivitamins may contain a higher or lower nutrient content than the label .
In some cases, they do not even contain all the listed nutrients. There have been many cases of fraud in the functional food industry, so it is important to buy from a reputable manufacturer.
In addition, nutrients in multivitamins can be obtained from real or synthesized foods in the laboratory.
Conclude: Multivitamins contain herbs, amino acids, fatty acids along with vitamins and minerals. Cheating on ingredients in labels is quite common, and the amount of nutrients can also vary.
Multivitamins and heart disease
Heart disease is the most common cause of death worldwide .
Many people believe that taking multivitamins can prevent heart disease, but the evidence is unclear.
Results from observational studies on multivitamins and heart disease are not consistent. Some studies have found evidence for reducing the risk of heart attack and death, while others have no effect .
For more than a decade, data from Physicians' Health Study II surveyed the impact of daily multivitamins on about 14,000 middle-aged male doctors.
As a result, it does not reduce heart attacks and strokes, nor does it reduce the risk of death .
A recent study limited to women (without men), taking multivitamins for at least 3 years was associated with a 35% reduction in mortality from heart disease .
Conclude: Some observational studies have found that people taking multivitamins have a lower risk of heart disease. However, some others have no results. In general, this result is not consistent.
Multivitamins and cancer
Evidence of the association between multivitamins and the risk of cancer is also heterogeneous.
Some studies do not find the effect of multivitamins on cancer risk, while others find relevance to increase cancer risk .
One study examined the results from randomized controlled trials (the gold standard of the study) with a total of 47,289 participants.
They found that the risk of cancer in men decreased by 31%, but did not work in women .
Two observational studies on men and women, found the association of taking multivitamins with the risk of reducing bowel cancer
Data from Physicians' Health Study II also found that taking daily and long-term multivitamins reduces the risk of cancer in men without a history of cancer. However, it does not affect the risk of death during the study period .
Conclude: Some studies have found an association between taking multivitamins to reduce the risk of cancer. However, other studies found no benefit of it, some even found an increased risk of disease.
Do multivitamins have any other health benefits?
Multivitamins have been studied for many different purposes, including the function of the brain and the health of the eyes.
Several studies have found that multivitamins can improve memory in older people .
Supplements can also help improve mood. This is significant, because many studies have found an association between bad mood and lack of nutrients .
In addition, several other studies have found that multivitamins can improve mood or reduce depressive symptoms .
However, other studies found no change in mood .
Conclude: Some studies have linked multivitamins to improving memory and mood. However, some other studies do not.
age is the leading cause of blindness worldwide .
One study found that taking antioxidant vitamins and minerals can slow its progression. However, there is no evidence that they prevent disease from the beginning .
There is also some evidence that multivitamins can reduce the risk of cataracts - a fairly common eye disease .
Conclude: Antioxidant vitamins and minerals can help slow the progression of diseases that cause blindness.
Multivitamins can be harmful in some cases
More is not always better in nutrition.
Although high levels of vitamins and minerals are good, on the other hand they can have many harmful effects.
Vitamins are divided into two groups based on their solubility:
- Soluble in water: The extra vitamins will be absorbed by the body.
- Soluble in fat: The body has no way to remove these substances, and the excess can accumulate after a long time.
Examples of fat-soluble vitamins include: vitamins A, D, E and K.
Vitamin E and K are relatively non-toxic. However vitamin A and vitamin D may exceed the body's ability to store, thus causing harm.
Pregnant women should be especially cautious with taking vitamin A, because excessive use can cause congenital fetal malformations .
Vitamin D poisoning Usually quite rare and does not occur when taking multivitamins. However, vitamin A poisoning can happen a lot .
If you eat too much Nutritious food , later Continuing to take multivitamins, it is easy to exceed the daily nutrient intake.
Smokers should avoid multivitamins with high levels of beta-carotene or vitamin A. It may increase the risk of lung cancer .
Minerals may also be harmful when taking high doses. For example, high doses of iron are also very harmful for people who do not need them .
In addition, problematic production also causes multivitamins to contain more nutrients than they are allowed .
Summary: Taking some high-dose nutrients may have negative effects on the body. This can happen when you take a multivitamin with a high nutrient diet.
Who should take multivitamins?
There is no evidence that multivitamins are recommended for everyone.
In fact, there are some cases that can be harmful to some individuals.
However, there are some benefits from dietary supplements with vitamins and minerals.
That number includes:
- Old person: Vitamin B12 absorption decreases with age, and older people may be more calcium and more vitamin D .
- Vegetarians: These people are at high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, because this vitamin is found only in animal foods. They will also be deficient in calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids .
- Pregnant and lactating women: Pregnant and lactating women should talk to a doctor. Some nutrients are needed, while others (such as vitamin A) can cause fetal malformations when taken in large doses .
Others may also benefit from multivitamins. This includes people who have undergone weight loss surgery, a low-calorie diet, anorexia or not getting enough nutrients from a food for some reason.
Conclude: Some individuals may need certain vitamins or minerals in greater amounts. Includes pregnant and lactating women, elderly, vegetarians and a few others.
"Real" food is always the best
Multivitamins are not tickets to get optimal health.
In fact, the evidence suggests that improving health for most people is unclear and inconsistent. They can be harmful in some cases.
If you are deficient in a certain nutrient, you should supplement it only. Multivitamins contain a large amount of nutrients that most of you don't need.
In addition, taking a multivitamins to "overcome" a poor diet is a bad idea. Eating a balanced diet with "real" foods will ensure better health for a long time.
Whenever possible, you need to meet nutritional needs with pure ingredients, single ingredients, nutritious foods - not functional foods.