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Multi Vitamins 101

Vitamins are natural substances essential for the growth and development of the human body. Consumption of the right kind of food in right quantities ensures a sufficient supply of vitamins. However at times such as during pregnancy and childhood, when the body needs more vitamins than normal, a dose of multivitamins is required to make up for the deficiency. Multivitamins are preparations of more than one vitamin and are usually available in the form of tablets or liquids that can be taken orally or injected.

Why you must exercise caution before having multivitamins

Multivitamins correct dietary imbalances, but it is a good idea to be cautious prior to consumption of multivitamins. Pregnant women should consult a doctor before having multivitamins. In the case of severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies medical treatment is required and cannot be supplemented only by multivitamins.

Multivitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B6, iron and potassium can prove toxic if taken in extremely large doses. Some medical conditions and medications react adversely when multivitamins are taken.

Multivitamins have been classified dietary supplements by the United States Department of Agriculture, and do not undergo the same testing procedures as pharmaceutical drugs. Only those multivitamins containing very high doses of vitamins or minerals require a prescription.

Why it is important to consult a doctor before taking multivitamins?

Multivitamins are normally taken once a day. Prior to taking multivitamins, a person must inform the doctor or the pharmacist of any allergies they have. The doctor should also be made aware of any other prescription or nonprescription medications being taken. Although side effects from multivitamins are uncommon, these can occur.

Sometimes it is difficult to obtain all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that the body and its muscles need through a normal diet. When multivitamins are used with care and attention to standard dosage practice, this gap can be effectively filled up.

Different multivitamins serve different purposes

There are a large number of multivitamins available with each one serving very useful purposes. There are also various formulations by different companies and this makes it a bit difficult to know which of the formulations are best for you. Most of the vitamin supplements have very little or no side effects.

Naturally extracted vitamins are the preferred choice of many as you can rest assured that the side effects if any will be little. There are a lot of them in the market and contain all the essential nutrients needed by your own peculiar condition. These are the popular vitamins in natural food stores. The bases of these vitamins are made up of nutritious "foods." These have more phytonutrients and the food base is supposed to make them easy to absorb. You are required to take more than one pill at a time, most times a few at each meal is appropriate.

Which multivitamins are best for you

Your choice of vitamins should be based on what you want to achieve. A good multivitamin will have 100% Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of each vitamin. It should include vitamins A, C, D, E, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6), Folate and B12. Vitamins are of two types - water-soluble and fat-soluble. However, not everyone should take multivitamins. Cancer patients for instance are usually anemic but that is not an excuse to just run to the drug store and buy any form of multivitamins on sale. They do not require folate because it enhances the growth of cancer. So it is good to be a little careful with this multivitamin. While it may be right for one person, it can harm another.

Soluble vitamins, like vitamin C, usually are okay to take in larger doses but fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin D, K, E and A, can build up in your system and cause side effects. This is not to say that Vitamin C does not have side effects. Use of vitamin C in excess is capable of causing renal stones, which if not properly managed may lead to renal failure. Stones in the kidney or uterus can also be a very painful experience.

Multivitamins formulation – why is it important?

Multivitamins formulation must contain some of the essential and trace elements. This is because our meals hardly contain these elements, whereas, they are very essential for proper body function. Many of them are needed for the vitamins to work properly and are known as co-enzymes. A healthy diet should provide what your vitamin does not provide and vice versa.

Certain minerals are needed in larger quantities and for the sake of bioavailability and efficacy; these minerals should be taken separate from other minerals. An example of this is calcium that is needed for teeth and bone formation as well as proper heart contractility and muscle strength.

It is difficult to take zinc, potassium, magnesium, chromium, manganese, and selenium in the diet. So we should take them in our vitamins supplement. A good multivitamin formulation should contain the above mentioned trace elements.

The physical state of the formulation of the vitamins matters too. Some come in syrup form, others in tablets and even capsules. Syrup is better for children since they may refuse to swallow the tablets or capsules. Also most multivitamin syrups have a pleasant taste and children will love anything that is sweet.

Some minerals are absorbed well in the mouth and taking tablets which just goes down to the stomach may not be ideal. For multivitamins containing Niacin and Zinc, syrup is the preferred type.

If you are truly concerned about the best multivitamin for you, ask your physician. Vitamin supplements are only supplements and not a substitute for a healthy diet. Also it is safer to stick to the more popular tested and trusted brands in the market, than to keep trying out every new brand that comes your way.