Vitamin and mineral supplements were traditionally recommended only in cases of deficiency. Now evidence is accumulating to show that multivitamins may be an important extension of healthy eating and helpful in achieving a level of health beyond what is possible through diet alone. Taken in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle multivitamins can help to support and promote excellent health throughout our lives.
Multivitamins are not taken as a treatment for any particular condition but are to help support our general health and well-being. They are like a top‐up to ensure we are getting everything we need for optimal health. To get the most benefit from taking a multivitamin it is good to choose the right formula for you. As men and women have different nutritional requirements and health concerns, it is ideal to choose a multivitamin that will target those specific needs.
A good quality multivitamin for women and men can help to support our health in the following ways:
For women and men
B group vitamins and magnesium are essential for the health of our nervous system and may be beneficial during times of stress.
Magnesium and iron are very important for energy levels. Women with heavy blood loss during menstruation may be low in iron. Potassium is an essential body electrolyte that also plays a role in the production of energy. The B group vitamins are also essential for the production of energy.
Antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and beta‐carotene help to protect against cell damage and cell ageing caused by free radicals. Vitamin C is also essential for the production of collagen which is a component of our skin, blood vessels and bones.
Nutrients essential for supporting a healthy immune system include vitamins A, C and E and the minerals zinc and selenium.
Heart health and circulation
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to maintain a healthy heart, assists with blood circulation and can help to alleviate cold hands and feet.
The mineral chromium has a role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism in the body and can assist in regulating blood sugar levels in healthy people. Iodine is a trace nutrient important for thyroid function. The thyroid gland produces hormones that affect our metabolic rate, body temperature, and protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Adequate iodine intake may help to regulate body weight via its affect on metabolic rate.
Calcium, magnesium, boron and vitamin D are all important nutrients essential for bone health and are important to help achieve and maintain bone density.
Importance of taking multivitamins for women
Women’s reproductive health
Vitamin B6, vitamin E and magnesium may assist in hormone regulation and help to reduce PMS symptoms.
Adequate levels of vitamin B12, iron, iodine, calcium, vitamin D, and folic acid (folate) are particularly important for the health of the mother and baby during pregnancy and also while breastfeeding. Importantly, supplementing with folic acid at least 1 month prior to conception and during pregnancy helps reduce the risk of developing spina bifida and/or neural tube defects in newborns.
Importance of taking multivitamins for men
Men’s reproductive health
The mineral zinc is essential for health and wellbeing. Zinc is required for male reproductive health including the production of healthy sperm and for normal functioning of the male reproductive system including the prostate.
What about multivitamins with omega‐3?
Multivitamins may not only contain all of those essential vitamins and minerals required for good health but also other beneficial ingredients such as the essential fat, omega‐3. Super important for both men and women, the omega‐3 found in fish oil is essential for our body function and general wellbeing and is also beneficial for health conditions such as arthritis. Omega‐3 helps to promote good heart health and helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels in healthy individuals. Omega‐3 also helps to reduce joint inflammation associated with arthritis and is important for brain function such as learning ability, concentration and memory. Definitely a top ingredient to have in your daily multivitamin!