So how can you make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of these nutrients? Should you take a multivitamin? Read on for the answers.
Vitamins 101First, a crash course in vitamins. As mentioned above, vitamins are substances the body needs to function properly. There are 13 essential vitamins:1
• Vitamin A
• The B vitamins: B1 (thiamine or thiamin); B2 (riboflavin); B3 (niacin); B6 (pyridoxine); B12 (cyanocobalamin); pantothenic acid (B5); biotin (B7); and folate (or folic acid or B9)
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin E
• Vitamin K
Each vitamin has specific jobs to do. For example, vitamins A, C, and E all help the body maintain its natural immune defenses, while the B vitamins are involved in energy production. Vitamin K aids in blood clotting, while vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium for healthy teeth and bones. And their list of important functions goes on.
These organic compounds are grouped into two categories: fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins. As you might guess, fat-soluble vitamins are more easily absorbed in the presence of dietary fat; they are stored in the body’s liver, fatty tissue, and muscles. The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Water-soluble vitamins must dissolve in water before the body can absorb them, which means they can’t be stored—any unused water-soluble vitamins leave the body through urine. The water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and all of the B vitamins. B12 is a bit of an exception from the other water-soluble vitamins, though, in that it can be stored in the liver.1,2
A balanced diet containing an array of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats usually provides ample amounts of the essential water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Enough vitamin D, however, is very difficult to obtain just from food sources. It can be obtained through sun exposure as well. After all, it’s called the “sunshine vitamin.” But, people living in certain less sunny locations may not produce enough vitamin D this way either.
What Is a Multivitamin?
Of course, not everyone eats an optimal diet—and not all the time. Not to mention, no eating plan is “perfect,” and some people avoid specific vitamin-rich foods. In other words, sometimes it’s difficult to get all the essential vitamins you need from your diet alone.
That’s where a multivitamin supplement, or “multi,” comes in. What is in a multivitamin? Multivitamins contain multiple vitamins in one serving, and often provide 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of these nutrients. They are the most consumed type of supplement. You can find multivitamins in a variety of forms, from liquids to capsules to chewable gummies.
There is no standard number of vitamins over one that a supplement must contain to be considered a multivitamin. Nor are there requirements about levels or amounts of vitamins. Multivitamins can contain other ingredients as well, such as minerals and herbs.
Interestingly, while many herbs have long histories of traditional use, multivitamins are a relatively new invention. In fact, they’ve only been commercially available since the late 1930s/early 1940s.3,4
Multivitamin Benefits: What Does a Multivitamin Do—And Do You Need One?*Since it can sometimes be difficult to get all the essential vitamins you need—and in the right amounts—from diet alone, a multivitamin can help fill in any nutritional gaps and set the foundation for maintaining overall good health.*
A multivitamin can prove especially beneficial if you’re susceptible to vitamin deficiencies.
The following groups are most at risk for vitamin insufficiency or deficiency:3,5
• Seniors and those over the age of 50: As it ages, the body has a harder time absorbing vitamins from food, particularly B12. What’s more, the elderly may have difficulty chewing and swallowing and may experience decreased appetite, leading to nutrient insufficiencies or deficiencies.
• Those with certain conditions or taking certain medications: A variety of conditions and medications can interfere with vitamin absorption or the body’s use of these nutrients.
• Those who eat specific diets: If you consume a low-calorie diet or avoid some foods such as with a vegetarian or vegan diet, you may not get enough of certain vitamins, including B12. Likewise, if your child avoids certain foods or is a picky eater in general, they may also not get all the nutrients they need from their diet.It’s also especially important that pregnant women and women of childbearing age get enough folic acid, which is included in specialized prenatal multivitamins.
But as mentioned earlier, even if you don’t fall into one of these categories, you may not be getting all the vitamins you need from your diet. For example, estimates suggest more than 90% of Americans don’t get enough vitamin D or E from food alone.5
Talk with your doctor or healthcare practitioner about multivitamin benefits and usage; they can advise if a multivitamin is right for you and your family members.
What to Look for in a Multivitamin & What Sets Floradix® Multivitamins ApartAs with any supplement, you want to choose a multivitamin that works for you and your lifestyle—with ingredients you can trust and feel good about.
Like all of our supplements, Floradix plant-based liquid herbal multivitamins are easily absorbed and gentle to digest.* The formulas are non-GMO and gluten-, lactose-, and alcohol-free, with no artificial additives or preservatives.
Epresat® Adult Liquid Multivitamin
Our adult vegetarian formula, Epresat, delivers seven essential vitamins—A, B1, B2, B3, B6, D, and E—along with traditional herbs, including milk thistle and echinacea, to promote optimal health.* It is specially formulated to support energy, muscle function, and the immune system so you can stay feeling your best.*
Kinder Love® Children’s Liquid Multivitamin
Kinder Love children’s multi contains the vitamins little ones need for immune health and healthy growth and development—A, B6, B12, D, and E—along with important minerals such as calcium and magnesium.* Best of all, the vegan multivitamin formula is sweetened with fruit juice concentrates for a fruit-forward taste they’ll love.
Multivitamin Side Effects + When Is the Best Time to Take a MultivitaminThough our liquid multivitamins are formulated to be gentle to digest and easily absorbed, you may want to consider taking a multivitamin supplement with food to help further avoid any potential digestive upset as well as help increase absorption of the nutrients.*
As with all supplements, follow the dosage instructions for your product and consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner about the correct dosage for you and your children, as very high levels (many times the RDA) of some vitamins can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients or possibly lead to other unwanted side effects.
Setting the Foundation for Overall Good Health*As you’ve discovered, it isn’t always possible to get all 13 essential vitamins your body needs to keep functioning properly just from your diet. A multivitamin can help by filling in dietary gaps and ensuring your bases are covered when it comes to these nutrients, setting the foundation for maintaining overall good health.* (That’s why a multi is a great place to start when you’re building a wellness routine.)
Consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner to see if a multivitamin is right for you or your little one. If so, you can count on our easily absorbed, gentle-to-digest plant-based liquid multivitamin formulas, Epresat and Kinder Love.*
References:1. “Vitamins,” Medline Plus, National Library of Medicine, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002399.htm.
2. “Vitamins: Their Functions and Sources,” University of Michigan Health, https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ta3868.
3. “Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements,” Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-HealthProfessional.
4. “Vitamins and Minerals,” The Nutrition Source, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamins.
5. “Should I Take a Daily Multivitamin?” The Nutrition Source, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/multivitamin.