Vitamins are essential for good health, but knowing when to take them is just as important. Many people prefer to take vitamins first thing in the morning, before having breakfast and starting the day. However, not everyone is able to eat a healthy diet and may need to supplement their diet with vitamins. This article looks at the use of multivitamins, when they should be taken, and whether they are necessary for good health.
Nearly half of adults in the United States take a vitamin, with about a third of them using a comprehensive multivitamin pill. But is this really necessary? Certainly, there are diseases caused by a lack of specific nutrients in the diet, such as scurvy due to lack of vitamin C or beri-beri due to lack of vitamin B. However, these conditions are rare in the U. S.
and other developed countries where there is generally more access to a wide range of foods, some of which are fortified with vitamins. Individual vitamin supplementation may also be essential in certain cases, such as a deficiency caused by prolonged malnutrition or malabsorption caused by malfunctioning of the body's digestive system. When it comes to specific vitamins and minerals, some Americans consume less than adequate amounts, according to criteria established by the National Academy of Medicine. For example, more than 90% of Americans get less than the estimated average requirement for vitamin D and vitamin E from food sources alone. Multivitamins come in several forms (tablets, capsules, liquids, powders) and are packaged as a specific combination of nutrients (B complex, calcium with vitamin D) or as a complete multivitamin complex. For those who follow a healthy diet, a multivitamin may have little or no benefit.
A diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good sources of protein, and healthy fats should provide most of the nutrients needed for good health. However, not everyone is able to eat a healthy diet and may need to supplement their diet with vitamins. Neil Levin, clinical nutritionist at NOW Foods, agrees that the morning is best for taking multivitamins and any B vitamins. Consider creating a daily schedule that best fits your lifestyle; sometimes remembering to take vitamins on a daily basis can be the biggest obstacle. When it comes to taking vitamins, it's important to know not only how to take them but also when to take them. Megadoses (often the recommended daily amount) of vitamins are not recommended as this can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients or medications or even become toxic if taken for too long.
Be wary of vitamin supplement labels that promise to “support brain health or energy production or skin and hair health” as these are general statements about a vitamin included for marketing purposes only. The debate is whether vitamins are necessary when the diet is adequate to prevent nutrient deficiency since some research has not demonstrated any benefits or even harmful effects from taking vitamin and mineral supplements. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial administered a multivitamin complex or a placebo to more than 14,000 male doctors; after 11 years men who received an MVI had an 8% reduction in total number of cancers compared to men who received a placebo. It's important to remember that a multivitamin cannot in any way replace a healthy balanced diet. The main purpose of a multivitamin is to fill nutritional gaps and provides just a sample of the wide range of nutrients and healthy chemicals found naturally in foods. It can't offer fiber or the taste and enjoyment of foods key to an optimal diet. However, multivitamins can play an important role when nutritional needs are not met by diet alone.
Look for one that contains the recommended daily amounts and that bears the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) seal of approval on the label; this ensures that the ingredients and quantities listed on the label are contained in the pill and that it has been manufactured under sanitary and regulated conditions.