The Best Multivitamins on the Market
According to Harvard Health, "Nearly half of adults in the U.S. and 70% of older adults ages 71+ take a vitamin; about one-third of them use a comprehensive multivitamin pill." However, there's much debate over whether multivitamins actually make you healthier. Harvard Health states, Most studies find no benefit from multivitamins in protecting the brain or heart. But There are potential benefits and no risks from a one daily standard multivitamin." That said, for anyone with a vitamin deficiency, they can be helpful in getting the nutrients needed. With so many different choices it's challenging to know which multivitamin to take, but experts we spoke with share their take on what to look for in a multivitamin and why. As always, please consult your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Benefits of Multivitamins
Nancy Salman, Walgreens Pharmacist with 15 years of experience says, "People take multivitamins to supplement what they might be deficient in as a result of their normal daily food intake. This can help maintain a healthy lifestyle."
Talk to Your Physician Before Taking Multivitamins
Dr. Salman tells us, "Before taking multivitamins, people should work with their physician to identify what vitamins and minerals they are truly deficient in. This could involve health screening or labs. From there, a pharmacist can help decipher what may be best for them on the shelf and give a recommendation. I always advise my patients to use caution when selecting a multivitamin – it's important to take into account what medications they might already be taking (like blood thinners for example), and how multivitamins will interact with these. It's also important to be aware of what ingredients are in multivitamins. Is it too much? Or not enough?"
David Culpepper, MD, Clinical DIrector of LifeMD tells us, "Magnesium is an essential nutrient that has a number of important functions within the body. It helps regulate the nervous system as well as muscle function, helps to maintain blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and is an essential building block when the body makes new bone, protein, and even DNA. Magnesium also lowers the likelihood of high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. Over the long term, a deficiency in magnesium can lead to symptoms such as weakness, nausea or loss of appetite, fatigue or weakness, or vomiting. A severe deficiency can lead to symptoms like muscle cramps, tingling or numbness, or even arrhythmia or seizures.
Fortunately, magnesium is found in many healthy foods such as leafy green vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. It is also found in milk. It is also available in multivitamin supplements and on its own as a supplement. Most of the time, magnesium supplements can be taken without any issues. However, occasionally a surplus of magnesium can cause nausea or diarrhea. If you experience these symptoms, stop taking the supplements and consult with your physician."
Getting the proper amount of iron is important because, "Without enough iron, your body can't produce enough of a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen (hemoglobin)," the Mayo Clinic states. "As a result, iron deficiency anemia may leave you tired and short of breath."
Dr. Salman explains, "Iron is important to maintain oxygen usage in the body."
The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements says, "Iron is a mineral that the body needs for growth and development. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Your body also needs iron to make some hormones."
A deficiency in vitamin D is a common occurrence that can lead to osteoporosis and brittle bones and left untreated. "About 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency, while 50% of the population has vitamin D insufficiency," the Cleveland Clinic states.
According to Dr. Salman, vitamin D is another ingredient you should look for in a multivitamin because it, "Has many benefits; helps regulate the immune system and neuromuscular system."
The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
Vitamin D is a nutrient you need for good health. It helps your body absorb calcium, one of the main building blocks for strong bones. Together with calcium, vitamin D helps protect you from developing osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens the bones and makes them more likely to break. Your body needs vitamin D for other functions too. Your muscles need it to move, and your nerves need it to carry messages between your brain and your body. Your immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses."