7 Ingredients Your Multivitamin Should Have, According to Experts

multivitamins

You may have been buying multivitamins from the market shelves for a long time, but if you’re not checking them for these 7 ingredients, you might be making a grave mistake.

Selecting the right multivitamin might be confusing, and you might miss some critical nutrients, which are a must.

In this article, we’re going to reveal:

  • What are multivitamins?
  • Ingredients to check in them before purchase
  • Our picks for the best multivitamins to buy online

Sounds good? Let’s get started.

What are the Multivitamins?

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Multivitamins are supplements that blend essential vitamins and minerals to support our health and well-being. They provide vital nutrients to fulfil any dietary insufficiency.

Additionally, multivitamin supplements may comprise benefitting ingredients like amino acids, omega-3 fats, antioxidants, superfoods, probiotics, and herb extracts.

Multivitamins are available in various compositions and forms, like capsules, tablets, syrups, gummies, and powders. One may choose based on health needs and preferable form. 

Multivitamin supplements are also formulated based on age and specific physiological conditions. For example, multivitamins for children provide the nutrients required during the growth phase. Pre-natal and post-natal multivitamins take care of nutrition needs during pregnancy and lactation.

Studies suggest that nutritional deficiencies of vitamins A, D, B12, calcium, folic acid, and iron are common, and multivitamins can help combat them.

7 Ingredients For Your Multivitamin

Minerals

Source: Freepik

Before finalizing any multivitamin supplement, it is good to read the ingredient list and nutrition facts carefully. Below listed are the required micronutrients that your multivitamin must furnish.

1. Vitamin D

It is the most vital vitamin required by our body. It plays a significant role in many physiological functions. The prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency ranges from 40-99%, with most studies reporting a majority of 80–90% 1

This fat-soluble vitamin is requisite for bone calcification, maintaining bone density, nerve conduction, muscle strength, immune function, and healthy blood calcium and phosphorus levels. 

Not getting enough vitamin D increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders, weak muscle strength, bone loss, hair loss, and poor immune function. 

Adequate sunlight exposure and intake of vitamin D-rich foods like eggs, milk, mushrooms, and fatty fish can prevent its insufficiency. However, vitamin D deficiency is prevalent for multiple reasons like pollution, use of sunscreens, darker skin tone, and many more.

Therefore, vitamin D supplements or multivitamins containing vitamin D are excellent alternatives for maintaining healthy vitamin D levels.

In supplements, vitamin D is present in two forms – vitamin D2 (plant-based) or vitamin D3 (animal-based). As per ICMR, 600 IU is the daily vitamin D requirement of an adult. 

While taking vitamin D in the supplemental form, it is essential to avoid overdosing on it to prevent its toxicity.

2. Magnesium

After calcium, sodium, and potassium, magnesium is our fourth most abundant mineral. Around 60% of total magnesium is found in bones, and the rest in muscles, tissues, and blood.

Magnesium acts as a cofactor in reactions during major body processes like energy metabolism, protein synthesis, muscle contraction, DNA synthesis, and nervous system regulation.

Low magnesium diets can lead to severe health problems like bone pain, depression, heart diseases, diabetes, and inflammation. Its deficiency symptoms include fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, numbness, and nausea. Therefore, maintaining adequate magnesium levels is a must. 

As per ICMR, an adult man needs 440 mg, and a woman needs 370 mg of magnesium daily. 

Check the presence of magnesium and its amount before you finalize a multivitamin. The supplemental form of magnesium usually comes in oxide, orotate, citrate, carbonate, or glycinate form. 

3. Calcium

Around 98% of total calcium is concentrated in the bones. This most abundant mineral is critically required for bone and dental health. Apart from bones and teeth, we need calcium for healthy blood vessels, nerve function, strong muscles, and hormone secretion.

Maintaining an optimal 1000 mg of calcium daily is advisable to prevent bone degradation and osteoporosis. Calcium supplements or multivitamins containing calcium are superb for ensuring that daily requirement is met. 

Good to know fact!

Vitamin D and calcium absorption are interrelated, which means a person with vitamin D deficiency is also prone to calcium deficiency 2. Many people are calcium deficient because of their low vitamin D levels. 

Therefore, a multivitamin supplement containing both nutrients can help prevent insufficiency and enhance absorption.

4. Zinc

Zinc is an important mineral our body can not produce or store; hence a constant supply is crucial.

Following iron, zinc is the second most plentiful mineral, and we need it for immune function, nerve health, digestion, energy metabolism, DNA synthesis, and healthy skin. 

Zinc is naturally found in nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, whole grains, meat, fish, and poultry. But the diet may not necessarily be low in zinc; its bio-availability plays a substantial role in the absorption.

Zinc is pivotal for our immune system to function suitably. It protects us from the common cold and reduces oxidative stress. Our daily requirement for zinc ranges from 13-17 mg. 

People with zinc deficiency tend to fall sick frequently. It can also affect our ability to taste and smell. Infants, children, older adults, and pregnant and lactating women are at high risk of developing a deficiency. Low levels of zinc among children can impair physical growth and development. 

Zinc supplementation is considered one of the best strategies to prevent inadequacy. Ensure your supplement does not contain higher doses of zinc than the requirement to avoid its toxicity symptoms.  

Source: Freepik

5. Iron

We need iron to synthesise haemoglobin – a protein that transports nutrients and oxygen to other body organs. So it is evident that low iron levels can cause many health issues.

Deficiency of iron results in anaemia. Since iron is involved in oxygen transport, iron deficiency directly affects our energy levels. It can also cause fatigue, tiredness, pale skin, hair loss, frequent illness, and poor concentration. 

Iron-rich diets and iron supplements help preserve many vital functions in the body, like energy metabolism, immune function, digestion, and body temperature regulation. 

Iron supplements or multivitamins containing iron are also beneficial during pregnancy and for athletic performance. 

As per ICMR, the daily iron requirement is 19 mg for men and 29 mg for women.

Good to know fact!

One must prefer taking iron supplements with vitamin C-rich foods or choose a multivitamin containing both iron and vitamin C as this vitamin has been shown to enhance iron uptake by the body.

6. Folate

Another essential vitamin that a multivitamin must contain is folate or folic acid (vitamin B9). 

This vitamin plays a notable role in DNA and protein synthesis and vitamin metabolism. It is required for the production of neurotransmitters. Folate is necessary during pregnancy as it is needed for the growth and development of the foetus. 

Studies support that folate deficiency during pregnancy is associated with neural tube defects and congenital abnormalities. Therefore, folate supplementation is typical for pregnant women.

Low folate levels can generally cause anaemia and increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. Individuals become more prone to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the later stages of life.

Folate is primarily stored in the liver and some in tissues and blood.

The daily folate requirement is 300 mg for men and 220 mg for women. 

7. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency is common due to dietary inadequacy. It is majorly prevalent among vegetarians, vegans, or people on restricted diets. Animal foods like eggs, chicken, lamb, and dairy contain vitamin B12. 

Our body utilizes vitamin B12 for energy metabolism and to synthesize DNA. It is required for the central nervous system’s development, myelination, function, and healthy red blood cell formation. 

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anaemia, weakness, pale skin, smooth tongue, muscle weakness, depression, and digestion issues. 

Vitamin B12 supplementation is the best alternative to prevent deficiency if you are a vegetarian or vegan. An adult needs 2.2 mcg of vitamin B12 daily. 

Vitamin B12 is commonly present in the cyanocobalamin form in supplements. Other forms could be adenosylcobalamin, methylcobalamin, and hydroxocobalamin. 

Pros and Cons of Consuming Multivitamins Daily

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Including multivitamins in the daily diet can help with the following health benefits.

1. Improve Energy Levels: The deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals affects our energy levels to a remarkable extent. If the low energy level is a routine affair, it may be due to a lack of nutrients like B vitamins, iron, etc. In such cases, multivitamin supplements are a boon.

2. Support Immune System: Multivitamins containing vitamins A, C, D, and E are superb for boosting immunity, as these vitamins are necessary for our immune cells to function correctly.

3. Boost Muscle Strength: Free radicals are known to cause age-related problems and impact muscle health. Multivitamin supplements contain antioxidants that combat oxidative stress and provide nutrients like vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which are crucial for muscle building and growth.

4. Suppress Stress & Anxiety: Adequate supply of vitamins and minerals may help relieve stress and anxiety by suppressing stress hormone levels and promoting a happy mood.  

5. Maintain Hair, Skin & Nail Health: Nutritional deficiency is one of the leading causes of hair loss, brittle nails, and unhealthy skin. Besides protein, we also need biotin, B vitamins, and vitamins A and C for healthy hair, nails, and beautiful skin. 

6. Improve Brain Function: Multivitamins containing nutrients like omega-3 fats, Ginkgo Biloba, and Ashwagandha may be excellent for brain health. Studies support their ability to improve memory and concentration.

7. May Reduce Heart Disease Risk: Nutrients like vitamin D, E, potassium, and niacin promote heart functioning. For example, an analysis in Italy suggested that vitamin D supplementation may be an effective strategy to reduce coronary artery diseases and heart failure among people with vitamin D deficiency 3.

Hence, a multivitamin tablet or capsule in your regular diet may be reasonable in lowering disease risk.

8. Promote Healthy Vision: Dark-coloured green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange coloured fruits, and vegetables are considered suitable for vision health as they contain nutrients like vitamin A, carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. If you feel a gap in providing them via dietary sources, consider a multivitamin containing all these nutrients.

Like there are two sides to a coin; similarly, multivitamin supplements may also cause some harmful effects besides the above-listed benefits.

One may experience these possible side effects while taking a multivitamin:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal Discomfort

Stay within the recommended usage mentioned on the pack is always advisable. 

To evade any allergic reaction, people allergic to foodstuff must carefully read the warnings, precautions, and allergen information. 

Some nutrients may interfere with some medications; hence, if you are on certain medications, seek medical advice to understand the best time to consume them to prevent nutrient-drug interaction. 

Conclusion

To sum up, multivitamins are promising to compensate for the dietary inadequacy of essential vitamins and minerals and promote optimal health.

Consuming a well-balanced diet should be our priority, as supplements are there to support and replace natural sources. 

Check the list of vitamins and minerals added. Choosing a multivitamin with 100% of the daily value of most ingredients, like Nutrabay Pro Active Multivitamin, is advisable for men and women. It should not exceed 100%. Also, for some nutrients like calcium, the RDA is usually less than 100%; otherwise, the capsule or tablet size will be too big to swallow. 

Always go for a certified multivitamin supplement that is FSSAI-approved. It may be advantageous to talk to your healthcare provider in case of any medical or physiological condition.

Check out the list of the best multivitamins for men and women.

What ingredients should not be in a multivitamin?

Multivitamins that do contain additives, fillers, or harmful contaminants are the best. For example, Nutrabay Pro-Active Multivitamin for Men and Nutrabay Pro-Active Multivitamin for Women.

What does a typical multivitamin contain?

A typical multivitamin consists of essential vitamins and minerals meeting 100% or less of the daily nutrient requirement. It may contain additional health-boosting ingredients.

What should I look for in a multivitamin?

A good multivitamin should comprise all vitamins and minerals with % RDA above 100% and without harmful additives or fillers.

What is the most important vitamin? 

Every vitamin plays a significant role in the body; hence all vitamins are necessary.

What quantity of each vitamin is required every day? 

ICMR has given the RDA of all vitamins and minerals for men, women, children, and pregnant and lactating women.

Do multiple vitamins really help keep us healthier? 

All vitamins work together in the body to keep us healthy. If you prefer taking multiple vitamins, ensure that the intake of every nutrient is not more than the need.

What are the benefits of vitamins for humans? 

Vitamins are good for maintaining energy levels, boosting the immune system, muscle health, brain functioning, and many more.

What are the benefits of vitamin U?

Vitamin U is not a typical vitamin but a derivative of the amino acid methionine. Experts suggest it may improve digestion, treat stomach ulcers, strengthen immune health, protect against food allergies, lower cholesterol, and quicken wound healing.

What vitamins should a woman take daily?  

Vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, B9, and B12 are essential for women’s health.

How long can we take multivitamins?

One can take a multivitamin supplement regularly. However, giving a gap of one to two weeks after every 60 days is good. In case of no deficiency, one can stop using a multivitamin.

References
  1. Gupta, S., Aparna, P., Muthathal, S., & Nongkynrih, B. (2018). Vitamin D deficiency in India. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care7(2), 324[]
  2. Harinarayan, C. V., Akhila, H., & Shanthisree, E. (2021). Modern India and Dietary Calcium Deficiency—Half a Century Nutrition Data—Retrospect–Introspect and the Road Ahead. Frontiers in Endocrinology12[]
  3. Cosentino, N., Campodonico, J., Milazzo, V., de Metrio, M., Brambilla, M., Camera, M., & Marenzi, G. (2021). Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease: Current Evidence and Future Perspectives. Nutrients13(10), 3603[]
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