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Multivitamins: Why You Need Them

Multivitamins: Why You Need Them

Most people know that vitamins are important. They provide the essential nutrients and minerals necessary for good health. Unfortunately many don’t understand which vitamins are most important to promote optimal health and protect against deficiencies. Severe deficiencies of vitamins or minerals are typically fairly rare in young, healthy people. Slight deficiencies are far more common such as Vitamin B12 deficiency in people over 60. Other common deficiencies include magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc, calcium, chromium, folic acid, and zinc in people of all ages. Most people don’t realize how common these deficiencies are. A good multivitamin is an excellent safeguard against deficiencies like these that could lead to serious health problems.

When considering the benefits of multivitamins, it is important to look at the long run. A small deficiency over time can eventually lead to problems such as osteoporosis in the case of vitamin D or calcium deficiency. If vitamin B6 and folic acid are deficient, the risk of heart disease is increased. Pregnant women should also be very concerned with their intake of folic acid, because deficiencies are clinically shown to lead to birth defects.

Vitamin deficiencies are a concern, but it is also important to be proactive about your health. Multivitamins will not only protect you from deficiencies, but they will also promote health in many important areas. For instance, multivitamins may eliminate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), cut down on antisocial behavior in children, boost mental function, and prevent the onset of the common cold. The B vitamins are even shown to enhance men’s fertility. Multivitamins also assist digestive function, provide added energy, help with weight management, increase immune resistance and shift hormonal balances to help slow down the process of aging.

The truth is, whether they are healthy or sick, most people can benefit from a daily multivitamin. It is a lot like “added insurance” against developing chronic conditions that threaten overall health. Sure you have plenty of vitamins and minerals in a healthy well-planned diet, but there are still often gaps that can be filled with a multivitamin.

It is important to note that although folic acid is an obvious benefit in a multivitamin, you shouldn’t take multivitamins without telling your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You may need to use a prenatal vitamin specifically formulated for pregnant women. Multivitamins can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking a multivitamin if you are breast-feeding. While multivitamins can be a valuable tool to correct dietary imbalances, basic caution is recommended before taking them if any medical conditions such as pregnancy exist.

For the vast majority of people, the benefits of multivitamins are very apparent. Robert H. Fletcher and Kathleen M. Fairfield from the Harvard School of Medicine examined numerous articles published between 1966 and 2002 that focus on vitamins in relation to chronic diseases, and concluded that inadequate intake of several vitamins has been linked to the development of diseases including coronary heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

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