In the light of reported research & surveys done by the nutritional journal of USA, it is confirmed with sound evidence that multivitamins are at the top in terms of its usage & benefits among all types of dietary supplements. Not the only USA, Other highly developed & advanced countries like Canada, Australia, Malaysia & so on have to facilitate its citizens with safe & sound usage of multivitamins with proper guidance & indication to get the full benefit from it. The responsible behavior of drug regulatory authorities within a country contributes a lot to increase the use of any dietary supplement safely.
World health organizations (WHO) & Food dug regulatory authority (FDA) also approved multivitamins as safe dietary supplements & generate guidelines for their usage. This article is designed on the pattern to convey enough knowledge about multivitamins in a simple manner with strong evidence & background of research.
Let’s begin with multivitamins’ Intro:
There is no standard or authorized definition for multivitamins. The most refined description of multivitamins is “A preparation or dosage form that is available in the form of capsules, tablets, powders & injectables & contains three or more vitamins with addition of minerals & are intended to serve as dietary supplements are known as multivitamins.”
Multivitamins are devoid of any hormones, addictive drugs, or herbs. The significance of multivitamins can be summarized in nutshell by mentioning that the Codex Alimentarius Commission has recognized multivitamins in the category of food. Multivitamins brief overview in the account of its benefits on health will be discussed later on the same page. Well, it is worth mentioning that they gain so popular among people of not only first world countries but also for the people of third world war countries that people want to know each & every little detail about it.
Components of multivitamins:
The products that are labelled as multivitamins consists of two main components as its active ingredients that are vitamins & minerals. The concentration of these two components varies accordingly with the product. The vitamins & minerals are listed below.
The term vitamin was derived from the word “Vitamine” Which stands for vital amines. Later on, this assumption that all vitamins are amines proved to be false & “e” was being removed from the name. Vitamins can be defined as essential micronutrients that are required for maintaining the proper metabolism of the body. Vitamins have numerous biochemical functions. Vitamins are categorized into two major groups:
- Fat-soluble vitamins: Four vitamins are fat-soluble & started in body fatty tissues. These are Vitamin A, D, E & K. The body, more preferably absorbs these in the presence of dietary fat.
- Water-soluble vitamins: Nine water-soluble vitamins that do not store in the body. These are reserved in the body in very minute quantities, except for vitamin B12 that can be stored in the liver for a longer period.
Here is the list of 12 essential vitamins with their individual role of each in the human body.
- Vitamin A: It is essential for maintaining vision. Healthy skin, teeth, bones & mucus membrane.
- Vitamin B1: Also called Thiamin. It metabolism carbohydrates for the production of energy. It keeps the heart & nerve cells healthy.
- Vitamin B2: Known as Riboflavin that works in coordination with other B vitamins. It is essential for normal body growth & production of RBCs.
- Vitamin B3: Also known as niacin that works to lower the serum cholesterol level & maintain healthy skin & nerves.
- Vitamin B5: Also called pantothenic acid. It works fo metabolizing food & in the production of cholesterol & hormones.
- Vitamin B7: Also called folate that works in association with B12 to form RBCs. It is required by the body for DNA production, new cell formation & tissue growth.
- Vitamin B9: Helps in RBCs formation& genetic material.
- Vitamin B12: Helps in synthesis of aminoacid & for the proper functioning of CNS.
- Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid. It has diverse functions in the human body. It boosts immunity, promotes speedy healing of wounds & healthy teeth & gums.
- Vitamin D: It helps in the absorption of calcium in the body.
- Vitamin E: Also known as tocopherol, which is a potent antioxidant & helps in the production of RBCs.
- Vitamin K: It works to clot the blood with coagulation factors of the body.
Deficiency of vitamins:
Deficiency of vitamins leads to some serious consequences & impaired body functions. These deficiency symptoms from mild to severe marks the deficiency of that specific vitamin. These deficiency symptoms are treated by the intake of multivitamins as prescribed by doctors or pharmacists.
- Vitamin A: Night blindness
- Vitamin B1: Beriberi
- Vitamin B2: Ariboflavinosis
- Vitamin B3: Pellagra
- Vitamin B5: Paresthesia
- Vitamin B6: Anemia
- Vitamin B7: Dermatitis & enteritis
- Vitamin B9: Megaloblastic anaemia
- Vitamin B17: Cancer
- Vitamin C: Scurvy & swelling of gums
- Vitamin D: Rickets & Osteomalacia
- Vitamin E: Less fertility
- Vitamin K: BLood fails to clot
The mineral is a board category, but if biologically speaking, minerals are the crystalline compound that is required to carry various body functions properly. These are the inorganic part of our diet. Minerals required by the human body, along with their features, are listed below.
- Calcium: Helps in the development of teeth, ones, in the transmission of nerve impulse, blood clotting & muscle contraction.
- Magnesium: Helps in the metabolism, enhances muscle activity & works for the synthesis of ATP.
- Potassium: Regulate electrolyte balance, maintain normal muscle contraction & reduce blood pressure.
- Iodine: Play its role by regulating the basal metabolic rate.
- Borate: Essential for goeth & wound healing.
- Manganese: It works by boosting the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein & fats. Moreover, it contributes to reducing inflammation, blood clotting & bone formation.
- Molybdenum: It prevents toxins formation & activates enzymes to breakdown these toxins in the body.
- Zinc: Important for the formation of collagen, wound healing. Improve immunity & essential for growth in children.
Minerals contribute a lot to the normal physiology of the human body & involved in multiple functions to serve the human body. The most important minerals are mentioned below with diseases associated with their deficiency.
- Calcium: Osteoporosis.
- Potassium: Muscles cramps & heart palpitations.
- Zinc: impaired immune functions, impotence.
- Iodine: Thyroid enlargement.
Collective benefits of multivitamins supplements:
Increasing demands of multivitamins reflect the satisfied consumer’s behaviour towards the usage of these dietary supplements. The astonishing benefits of multivitamins are enough to convince the people to add them in their daily lives. Each & every individual component of multivitamin possess enough significance that enhances with the combination of each other. The collective benefits of multivitamins are listed below.
- Multivitamins reduced the risk of cancer as revealed by the research, which is carried on 47,289 people & it is found that the intake of multivitamins reduces the risk of cancer in men to the extent of 31%. Another observational study explains the long term use of multivitamins for preventing colon cancer.
- Multivitamins that are based on antioxidant vitamins & minerals slow down the progression of the macular generation, which is the common cause of blindness globally. However, there is not enough evidence to support the effects of multivitamins in the prevention of this macular degeneration.
- The role of multivitamins in the prevention of heart disease has mixed evidence. Some studies suggest that they play their role in the prevention of heart disease. Recent studies reveal that long term intake of multivitamins for three years decreases the mortality rate by heart disease to 35%.
Which people need multivitamins?
Multivitamins are not for everyone. Especially children & younger ones are not recommended to use them without any specific situation or disease that weakens the body so much & require multivitamins to restore body energy levels & strength. Generally, multivitamins are best for
Adults at the age of 35- 40 stat were complaining about several medical problems associated with tiredness, dizziness & low energy levels. So mostly, they are recommended by the doctors to keep multivitamins as food additives in their lives to full fill the deficiency of nutrients that are unavailable from the daily diet.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women:
Women during the gestation period or lactation periods demands more energy to support a new life. Therefore multivitamins work as wonder for them to fulfil their nutritional demand without increasing their diet. All these essential vitamins & minerals are thus delivered to the baby from the mother as well. But it needs proper recommendation with the gynaecologist to choose the most appropriate supplement with suitable combination & formulation.
Vegetarians who consume a plant-based diet are at a risk of deficiency caused by vitamin B12, which is present in animals. The body of vegetarians also lacks minerals like zinc & calcium; therefore, they are recommended to take multivitamins, especially those which contain vitamin B12 to prevent any imbalance in their bodies.
The recommended dose of multivitamins:
Multivitamins consist of more that one vitamin & minerals. The frequency & quantity of multivitamins capsules & tablets depend on the question of how much content of which vitamin & Mineral is present?, Either it math with the recommended value of daily intake or not?. A pharmacist satisfactorily answers these questions according to the multivitamin product. A general overview is here to facilitate you.
- Two capsules of Multivitamins based on vitamins A, D, E & K, in combination with minerals, can be taken once daily.
- One tablet of multivitamins with calcium plus vitamin D & K can be taken twice a day.
- Two tablets of multivitamins based on zinc can be taken once daily.
It is important to note that in most cases, One tablet or capsule of an oral multivitamin is recommended. But chewable tablets of calcium for the children can exceed more than one. Don’t try to consume multivitamins by your own choice.
Is it ok to take a multivitamin every day?
It is perfectly alright to intake multivitamins every day as it will cover all gaps due to improper diet or lacks nutrients. It acts as a backup plan to overcome nutritional deficiencies.
Why multivitamins are not recommended for children?
Children are much energetic & have good metabolism activity. They do not face the problem of low energy levels due to slow metabolism. Therefore there is not much need for multivitamins at a younger age.
Is there any serious side effect of multivitamins?
Of course, every dietary supplement has some side effects. Maybe mild or intense, but side-effects exist. The good thing is that up till now, not any serious case of multivitamins has been reported. These products are quite safe for use.
Multivitamins possess so much importance, but still, that cannot replace food. You are recommended to use multivitamins according to prescriptions with proper guidance & consultations & these dietary supplements have to choose wisely; otherwise, they may impart a negative effect on the health status of an individual.
A student of Pharm D from University of Karachi. She has keen interest in all the attributes towards pharmacy especially community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy with an objective to make medications sound and safe. She loves to provide information about Pharmaceutical Analysis and Pharmacology in a best way so people with no medical background can understand.