The Mega-Multivitamin Post: Everything You Need to Know
You’re already eating a pretty healthy diet. You manage your macronutrients well (Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates) and you’re pretty conscious about eating a varied diet to gain the benefits from a wide array of foods. You might already be taking multivitamins to supplement your diet.
Sound about right? It’s relatively easy to get the macronutrient portion of your diet right. You only really have to focus on three elements. But when it comes to multivitamins, how much do you know about the many different vitamins your body uses for dozens of functions?
It’s hard to keep track of them. Let’s break down some of the facts you need to know about multivitamins and how to make the most out of your micronutrients.
WHAT ARE MULTIVITAMINS?
Multivitamins are the micronutrients that your body needs to function. They don’t have any calories in them, but they do serve important roles in everything such as the growth of cells, increasing your energy levels, reducing stress and anxiety, keeping your heart healthy and boosting your metabolism.
The term “multivitamin” refers the common vitamins that your body uses to do all these functions. The individual vitamins are found in food sources, and in some cases, your body has the ability to produce them independently. Vitamins keep your body healthy and running well.
Not getting enough vitamins can lead to problems like:
- Rapid heart rate
- Hair Loss
- Bone Fragility and Diseases
The vitamins we refer to come in two forms: water-soluble and fat-soluble.
These vitamins are easily absorbed by the body and dissolve in the presence of liquid. Our body has no means of storing these vitamins, so you expel whatever your body cannot absorb or use. This is good because there is no risk that you can take too many water-soluble vitamins. However, since you are “flushing away” these vitamins every day, you also need to take them every day to replenish what you’ve lost.
The vitamins include VItamins B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12) and Vitamin C.
Fat-soluble vitamins require bile from the liver to dissolve and be absorbed into fat. They are stored in the liver and fat cells of your body until you need them. And because they are stored, you don’t need to take them every day. You build up and accumulate these vitamins until needed. But that does increase the risk that you could have a toxic excess.
These vitamins include Vitamin A, D, E, and Vitamin K.
WHAT FUNCTION DO VITAMINS HAVE IN YOUR BODY?
Here are 13 of the most common vitamins that you will find in any multivitamin you take.
VITAMIN B1 - THIAMINE
Thiamine turns carbohydrates into energy. It’s also important a healthy heart rhythm and functioning nerve cells.
VITAMIN B2 - RIBOFLAVIN
Riboflavin is important for growth and the production of red blood cells.
VITAMIN B3 - NIACIN
Niacin maintains healthy nerve cells and skin. Higher doses are known to have cholesterol-lowering effects.
VITAMIN B5 - PANTOTHENIC ACID
This is an important one for those wanting to lose weight. B5 boosts the metabolism of your food and produces hormones and good cholesterol.
VITAMIN B6 - PYRIDOXINE
We know B6 to be crucial to maintain brain function. It’s also important to the metabolism of protein, so if you’re eating extra protein, you need extra Pyridoxine to break down that protein.
VITAMIN B7 - BIOTIN
This metabolises protein and carbohydrates. It also aids with hormone production and good cholesterol.
VITAMIN B9 - FOLIC ACID
Folic Acid has known to reduce cancer cells from forming in the body. It also is required when producing DNA, controlling cell function and tissue growth. Pregnant women need good sources of folic acid for the proper development of their babies.
VITAMIN B12 - COBALAMIN
Nother metabolism vitamin. It forms red blood cells as well and repairs and maintains the central nervous system.
VITAMIN C - ASCORBIC ACID
This antioxidant vitamin is good for teeth and gums, bone density, and helps your body absorb iron. Your body can heal wounds faster with Vitamin C.
VITAMIN A - RETINOIDS
Vitamin A helps form the bone and teeth strength we need. Soft tissue like mucus membranes and skin require Vitamin A to form and grow.
VITAMIN D - CALCIFEROL
This is one of the few Vitamins that our body can produce. 10-15 minutes of sunlight, 3 times a week is enough for our body to produce enough Vitamin D. It helps you absorb calcium, prevents depression, and maintains mineral levels in the bloodstream.
VITAMIN E - TOCOPHEROL
VItamin E works alongside VItamin K to form red blood cells and is a known antioxidant.
Vitamin K helps your blood clot and has been shown to have an effect on older bone density.
Want to know how powerful these vitamins are for your body? Get this. There was a study performed on an obese man in the UK. He was carefully monitored throughout the study, but was not allowed to eat food. He was only given potassium for his heart health and a complete range of multivitamins for his nutrients. This man ended up not eating any food at all for 382 days and lost 125kg! (We do not recommend replacing meals with vitamins as a means to lose weight, but the important role vitamins play in your body cannot be ignored)
That’s the power of taking multivitamins. You need vitamins otherwise you could end very sick and unable to function properly.
WHY TAKE MULTIVITAMINS?
"Don't we get enough vitamins from our food?"
Yes and No.
Yes, you can find each vitamin that your body needs in your diet, but even with careful monitoring and extremely good prep, you can find some nutrients lacking. If you’re pregnant, eating extra protein, under 18, over 65, going through menopause, or you just live where you don’t see the sun, you need to supplement your diet with a complete range of multivitamins to make up for the deficiencies we all experience.
Plus, we’re not talking about maintenance. If you’re working hard in the gym, you have weight loss goals, or you’re building muscle, you need different vitamin amounts. The B vitamins help boost metabolism, B6 is essential for breaking down all that extra protein, and B1 turns carbs into energy rather than store it as fat in your body. Multivitamins boost your body’s performance in repairing and growing muscle tissue.
HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD MULTIVITAMIN
Most multivitamins are formulated to provide 100% of the daily recommended intake. But it’s more than just choosing the first pack you come across. Even the major brands have between 9-15 varieties, formulated to provided extra vitamins for certain requirements. As mentioned before, pregnant women require extra folic acid for the development of their child. Older generations need Vitamin B6 and B12. Women need increased levels of calcium and iron. Whenever possible, find multivitamins tailored to your age and gender.
When you find the right vitamin, maintain a daily dosage to keep those water-soluble vitamins in full supply. Anything over 100%, even if it’s just water-soluble vitamins, can be hazardous to your health, putting you at risk for toxicity or excess storage, and always read the labels to ensure that it’s actually a complete dose of the 13 essential vitamins listed above.
THE BEST WAY TO TAKE MULTIVITAMINS
There are a few tips and tricks to taking multivitamins to achieve the best results. You can counteract the effect with the wrong timing or by eating a certain type of food.
Calcium, in any form, tends to reduce the absorption of vitamins. A glass of milk or some yoghurt will reduce your body’s ability to process all the nutrients. But taken with food, your vitamins will absorb much more quickly into your body.
The B vitamins require the stomach to process protein to fully absorb into the body. If you take your multivitamin before a balanced protein-loaded breakfast of eggs, your digestion of those water-soluble vitamins will be more pronounced.
Fat-soluble vitamins require the presence of fat. Although it takes longer to digest these vitamins than water-soluble, they process a lot quicker if you’re eating a fatty food like fish or cheese.
High body acidity also reduces your ability to absorb the vitamins. Foods like coffee and alcohol increase the acidity of your body while wild rice, quinoa, and vegetables increase the alkaline of your body.
And above, take daily. Your body responds better with a constant supply of necessary vitamins.
YOUR MULTIVITAMIN HEALTH
Part of a healthy life and better fitness goals should include taking multivitamins. As you exercise, you deplete the resources you have in your body and put stress on your muscles and joints. Your body responds by increasing the output of blood cells, growing muscle tissue, healing tears and injuries, and boosting blood flow to your brain and heart.
To do all that, you need vitamins. Find a good source of these micronutrients to enrich your experience and promote good health in your body.
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