Multivitamins are dietary supplements containing multiple vitamins and minerals essential for optimal health and well-being.
The popularity of multivitamins has increased since first introduced in the 1940s. Today, approximately one-third of all North Americans regularly supplement with multivitamins. Some of the most commonly reported uses for multivitamins include maintaining or improving general health, reducing the risk of certain chronic conditions (e.g., heart disease, age-related eye conditions), addressing vitamin deficiency and dietary inadequacies, and preventing birth abnormalities during pregnancy.
A high-quality multivitamin can help fill nutritional gaps. Multivitamin formulas vary depending on the brand and targeted population group. Some of the most common vitamins and minerals found in multivitamin supplements include; B vitamins, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Zinc.
Many multivitamins contain these essential nutrients in amounts similar to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), which include Daily Values (DVs), RDAs, and Adequate Intakes (AIs). Furthermore, some multivitamins include additional components, such as amino acids, probiotics, herbs, and phytonutrients for their added health benefits. Multivitamins are widely available in numerous forms, including capsules, tablets, liquids, gummies, and chewable, and many are specifically formulated for different populations (e.g., prenatal, children, seniors).
Check the supplement facts label to make sure your multivitamin contains the essential nutrients needed for optimal health.
You’ve likely heard that multivitamins can help prevent nutrient deficiencies and ensure that you’re getting adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Research indicates that daily supplementation of multivitamins may also support your health in numerous ways, including reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and promoting healthy cognitive function. Multivitamins contain multiple vitamins and minerals essential for good health.
May Improve Cardiovascular Health
While results vary, some studies have proposed a possible connection between multi-vitamin supplementation and a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Two studies with large population sizes showed that although short-term multivitamin use has no significant effect on heart health, consistent long-term use significantly decreases the risk of heart attack or cardiovascular disease-related death in both men and women.
Boost Cognitive Function & Mood
Taking a daily multivitamin may improve memory, particularly among older adults at risk of cognitive decline. A study of older women complaining of memory issues found that daily multivitamin supplementation for 16 weeks significantly improved short-term memory compared to the group receiving a placebo. A double-blind study of 51 sedentary men between the ages of 50 and 74 also found that short-term (eight weeks) multivitamin supplementation significantly improved episodic memory, which is the ability to recall previous experiences, compared to the group receiving a placebo.
Additional research suggests that multivitamins may improve mood. A study of 138 healthy adults between the ages of 20 and 50 showed a significant reduction in perceived stress levels, physical fatigue, and anxiety following 16 weeks of multivitamin use. Multivitamins containing larger doses of B vitamins have proven to be the most effective in improving mood. It’s believed that because dietary inadequacies and nutrient deficiencies may negatively affect mood, supplementing with a multivitamin may be responsible for these benefits.
Protect Eyes from Age-Related Damage
Multivitamins may help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in adults over the age of 50. This benefit is believed to be attributed in part to the antioxidants found in multivitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc, which protect the eye macula from degeneration and the retinas from cellular damage. A randomized, double-blind study of 14,641 male physicians over 50 years old discovered that long-term multivitamin use reduced the risk of developing eye cataracts (cloudy eye lenses).
Correct Nutrient Deficiencies in Certain Gastrointestinal Conditions
Multivitamin supplements have demonstrated effectiveness in improving nutrient deficiencies in individuals with gastrointestinal conditions that cause malabsorption, such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Supplementing with specific vitamins and minerals found in multivitamins, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, folic acid, iron, and zinc, may reverse nutrient deficiencies and improve disease symptoms in some cases.