Multivitamin and mineral supplements can be a helpful way to ‘fill the gaps’ in our natural nutrient intake. Various factors in our modern diets and lifestyles may mean that we get less than optimal amounts of nutrients from... Read more
Multivitamin and mineral supplements can be a helpful way to ‘fill the gaps’ in our natural nutrient intake. Various factors in our modern diets and lifestyles may mean that we get less than optimal amounts of nutrients from our foods, and some people may have greater needs than others, meaning that a multivitamin and mineral could be helpful. For more information and guidance on choosing a multivitamin and mineral, please read on.
Why take a multivitamin and mineral?
The primary reason to take a multivitamin and mineral is to help ‘fill the gaps’ in nutrient intake from our diet. It is, of course, possible to get everything we need from food. However, modern food production methods, as well as our own food choices and lifestyle factors may conspire against this and mean that we’re not getting all that we need. Factors can include:
To support the idea that we may not get all we need through food, a study published in 2013 in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a high percentage of people across eight European countries are getting less than the ‘Estimated Average Requirement’ (EAR)* for many vitamins and minerals. For example, the researchers found that 40 per cent of females and 36 per cent of males in the UK aged 18 to 60 had an intake of magnesium less than the EAR. Low intakes by UK adults were also found for selenium, zinc, calcium, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin B2, folate (folic acid), vitamin D and vitamin E, and also iron intake for women.
* Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) is the level of a nutrient that meets the needs of only 50 per cent of the population (and therefore is lower than the RDA).
So who could benefit in particular from taking a supplement?
The facts above suggest that unless we eat only organically grown, locally produced food that is stored for minimal periods of time, don’t eat any processed foods, have a relatively stress-free lifestyle, and eat from all the food groups, most of us could benefit from a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, at least at certain times.
Individuals who may benefit in particular include:
How to choose a multivitamin and mineral supplement: Lifestyle Labs’ recommendations
Asking yourself the following questions can help you to decide which multivitamin and mineral best suits your needs. If you need further guidance, consult a nutritional practitioner.
Multivitamins and minerals for children
When choosing a multivitamin and mineral for a child, it’s important to either:
If in doubt whether a multivitamin can be used for your child, check with the supplement manufacturer or a nutritional practitioner.
If you are taking any medications or have any medical condition, please consult your healthcare practitioner before taking a multivitamin and mineral.
Multivitamin and mineral supplements are generally suitable for most people and for long-term use. However, if you are also taking other supplements that contain vitamins and minerals in any combination/quantity, or you are taking individual vitamins or minerals in addition to your multi, it is worth checking that you are not getting too much of any specific ingredient. The most important ones to look out for include:
If in doubt, please check with a nutritional practitioner.
Solgar VM-75 is a perrenial favourite for good reason, professional strength and an easy once daily dose.