Even on our healthiest days, we know that getting 100% of our required vitamins and minerals can be tough.
In addition to deficiencies caused by modern society and our busy lives, other factors such as pregnancy, menopause, and certain chronic conditions can often leave us in need of extra nutritional support.
This is where multivitamins can help.
Although a balanced diet is always optimal, the right multivitamin can act as a foundation for good health, filling nutritional gaps and supplying essential vitamins and minerals as we age.
But how can you be sure that a multivitamin is the right choice for you?
Although a plant-based diet is generally considered to be highly beneficial for longevity, it is very easy to miss key vitamins if not careful and informed.
Vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, iron, and zinc are just a few examples of vitamins that can be easily missed in some vegetarian and vegan diets.
Individuals who choose to eliminate all meat and/or animal products should pay closer attention when it comes to meeting their daily vitamin goals. A multivitamin can help ensure that all of these bases are covered.
As we age, our risk of vitamin deficiency naturally increases as our body’s ability to process these vitamins decreases over time.
Vitamins B12 and D are especially important for adults over 50 and although a well-balanced diet can still provide many of the necessary vitamins, a high quality “Over 50” multivitamin can really be helpful when it comes to giving your body an extra boost of nutrients.
Anyone who eliminates one or more of the basic food groups is generally considered to be at a higher risk of vitamin deficiency. This includes individuals who suffer from food allergies or intolerances (such as lactose intolerance), or anyone who follows a limited diet plan for other reasons.
It can often become very difficult to replace key nutrients 100% of the time through other food groups, making multivitamins an excellent option in this case.
Supplementing with a high quality prenatal multivitamin during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is a great way to nutritionally support both the mother and baby.
During pregnancy, women require higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals to ensure healthy fetal development. When choosing a multivitamin for this purpose, it's best to look for one specifically labeled as a ‘prenatal’ supplement for the best possible nutritional support.
For women of childbearing age who are planning on becoming pregnant in the future, a multivitamin specifically containing folic acid, iron, and vitamin D is usually recommended.
This is partly due to the fact that birth defects can occur in the very early stages of pregnancy, sometimes even before the pregnancy is known. A multivitamin can help deliver vital nutrients that may help prevent developmental defects ahead of time.
There are many illnesses, such as celiac disease, colitis, some eating disorders, and other chronic digestive diseases that deplete the body of vitamins and affect nutrient absorption.
There are also some medical conditions that require the use of certain medications that may have a similar impact on vitamin absorption. When considering a multivitamin in conjunction with any existing medical conditions, it’s always important to first consult with your physician before starting a new regimen.
If you are still unsure about whether or not a multivitamin may be the right choice for your lifestyle, be sure to consult with your personal primary care physician or a registered dietitian for the best advice specifically tailored to your needs.
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