Should I take a Multivitamin?
Let's break down a Multivitamin/Multimineral.
So you want to learn about Multivitamins?
The most recent poll claims that over 160 million Americans take a multivitamin supplement each day. Why?
What is a Multivitamin?
Multivitamin and Multimineral supplements have been available as an over-the-counter health option for the last 80 years. In the decades since the first one-a-day Vitamin there has been a tremendous number of studies that have lead to the improvement of the extract and effects of multivitamin and multimineral supplements.
Vitamins are referred to as a supplement because it either completes or enhances the recommended daily intake value you should be consuming throughout the day to keep your body functioning properly.
Deficiencies can cause serious illness and disease so this article will serve to be a brief overview of the ingredients of a multivitamin, the benefits of each vitamin and the negative effects if one or more of these nutrients is below acceptable thresholds inside your body. For a more detailed overview of each vitamin please visit this page.
What is in a multivitamin and what does it do?
Vitamin A Benefits and Function
Vitamin A is a fat soluble compound that your body converts into several different nutrients. These nutrients are a potent antioxidant that fight free radicals inside your body which prevent oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to several serious illnesses such as cancer, cognitive decline diseases, heart disease and diabetes.
Vitamin A is also contributed to healthy eye sight, prevents against macular degeneration, is vital for fertility and coupled with Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system.
Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms
When a patient becomes Vitamin A deficient they can experience permanent blindness, in fact, the WHO recently announced that Vitamin A deficiency is the number one cause for blindness in children. Vitamin A deficiency can also lead to an increased likelihood for patients to become anemic and less likely to fight off infections from things like measles.
Vitamin A deficiencies have also been shown to decrease fetal development in pregnant women, slowing growth and breast feeding women are also at a higher risk to develop a Vitamin A deficiency. This is why there is a higher Vitamin A dose in prenatal vitamin regiments.
Vitamin B Benefits and Function
Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin B-12 are essential for the human body. These vitamins assist the body by efficiently turning solid foods into usable energy. This plays a role in proper nervous system and circulatory system function as well as DNA synthesis, blood cell formation and hormone production.
Vitamin B encompasses a large spectrum of important nutrients such as Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin), B-2 (Riboflavin), B-3 (Niacin), B-6, B-9 (Folic Acid) and, B-12. Compounds such as Vitamin B-1 and B-2 although important, deficiencies are extremely rare and will not be covered in depth here.
Vitamin B Deficiency Symptoms
Vitamin B deficiencies can cause mood swings, mental health issues, tiredness and fatigue as well as certain health issues that effect the derma or commonly referred to as dermatitis. Vitamin B deficiencies are considered to be uncommon to rare in the U.S., however women, especially pregnant or nursing women are at a higher risk for Vitamin B deficiency. This is also why pre-natal supplements have a higher than usual dose of all the Vitamin B compound nutrients.
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Vitamin C Benefits and Function
Vitamin C is an impressive nutrient that can not be produced by the human body. Vitamin C is known to greatly benefit the immune system. Studies show that Vitamin C helps prevent chronic disease, heart disease, gout, high blood pressure, eye disease and protects against the common cold and flu.
Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant and new studies suggest that Vitamin C plays a role in the central nervous system. Protecting against oxidative stress on cells Vitamin C may increase mental acuity and prevent cognitive decline as you age. High doses of Vitamin C improve the function of white blood cells and can increase production.
Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
Because Vitamin C plays such a vital role in the body, a deficiency of the essential nutrient can lead to a laundry list of symptoms. Symptoms such as poor immunity, weakened bones, painful and swollen joints and tendons, persistent iron deficiency (which can cause anemia), sudden and rapid weight gain, chronic inflammation and poor mood are all signs of a Vitamin C deficiency.
Vitamin D Benefits and Function
Vitamin D2 and D3 is similar to Vitamin C in that it serves very important functions within the body and can prevent things like fatigue and mental health issues such as mood swings and bi-polar disorders. Vitamin D also helps the body absorb other nutrients such as Calcium.
Vitamin D3 is produced by the bodies skin when it comes into contact with sunlight. However, studies suggest that Vitamin D3 deficiencies are incredibly common in the United States as people tend to work and recreate indoors more frequently. Vitamin D3 has been known to decrease depression, increase your ability to lose weight and increase circulation in the body that may help prevent serious heart disease and diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
Vitamin D deficiencies cause people a general sense of not feeling well. It can lead to severe fatigue, tiredness, general aches and pains, weakness and in severe cases can lead to stress fractures of the legs and pelvis region.
Vitamin D absorption can be blocked by sunblock, tall buildings or any time you are inside. For fair skinned people, the proper amount of sunlight to produce optimal levels of D3 may be unachievable without receiving skin damage from sunlight. Supplementation is important for Vitamin D3.
Vitamin E Benefits and Function
Vitamin E is common in beauty products because it prevents things like early graying of the hair, formation of cataracts, prevents wrinkling and drooping of the skin and is a good source of hydration for cracked and peeling hands and feet.
Despite the aforementioned, Vitamin E also plays a role in preventing blood clotting, assists in the healing of wounds and reduced scarring, fights osteoarthritis inflammation and expands blood vessels leading to good heart health. Vitamin E is commonly found in foods such as Avocado, Spinach and Kale.
Vitamin E Deficiency Symptoms
Vitamin E deficiency is relatively common in the United States due to poor diet. This can cause issues in the circulatory system which can affect an outward appearance. These effects can range from bruising, wrinkles, skin inflammation, hair loss and dry eyes.
Vitamin E deficiencies have also been linked to heart palpitations, muscle pains and difficulty balancing and frequent dizziness.
Vitamin K Benefits and Function
Vitamin K is rare in western diets and there is very little research that has been done on Vitamin K. Vitamin K has been known to assist the body in blood coagulation and is attributed to bone health. Because of this, Vitamin K is suspected to increase dental health, reduce the effects of osteoporosis and can increase bone density.
Current research on Vitamin K is promising and in the most recent study shows high levels of Vitamin K2 specifically may be linked to a reduction in liver cancer recurrence and colon cancer prevention in men.
Vitamin K Deficiency Symptoms
Vitamin K deficiency symptoms are not easy to assess unless a person bruises or bleeds excessively. However this is hard to gauge unless an external factor happens such as an impact to the derma, cut or wound. Some antibiotics and warfarin bottom out Vitamin K levels in the body which has shown blood in vomit, stool and urine, diabetes related signs and painful swelling in joints.
Prolong deficiencies suggest weakening and degradation of bone density but no in-depth medical studies have been conducted in this regard.
Conclusion: A multivitamin serves as assurance that you are meeting or exceeding the daily value of nutrients your body needs to properly operate. Often times you will meet the daily values without taking a multivitamin provided that you are eating a healthy diet that encompasses the important food groups and proper amounts. The negative effects of most of the above mentioned deficiencies justify taking a multivitamin, if not for a boost, to ensure if you miss a meal or eat fast food, you will still receive what your body needs.
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