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If you eat a well-balanced diet that contains proteins from a variety of sources, lots of different simple carbs, and fruits and vegetables of all colors, are multivitamins necessary? Although many of the vitamins and minerals you need are widely available in your food, there are some that may be impossible to get otherwise.
The term “B-complex” refers to many different B vitamins that include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, and even pantothenic acid. Many of today’s grains and flours are enriched with these vitamins for a very good reason – it’s almost impossible to get enough of them from your diet alone. In fact, some foods that contain one B-vitamin may suppress the absorption of another, which is an endless cycle. The absolute best way to make sure you get enough B-vitamins, which are vital for everything from muscle growth to metabolism to nervous system health, is through a good multivitamin.
Most experts recommend that you take in at least 200mg of vitamin C per day, and some will even claim that 2000mg per day is beneficial. However, your body cannot manufacture vitamin C, so you’ll need to get your daily dose from food and vitamins. The average American diet will provide you with anywhere from 60mg to 120mg per day depending on the foods you eat. Are multivitamins necessary? If you want to get your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, then the answer is yes. Just don’t fall prey to the gummies and packets of vitamin C powder. Your body will flush out the excess, so you’re wasting your money.
Vitamin D is present only in very few foods, and the ones that do contain it very rarely provide enough to get your recommended daily allowance. As an example, whole milk is fortified with vitamin D3 in an effort to aid in the absorption of calcium, but it doesn’t provide nearly enough. Studies show that only 32% of people in the US get the right amount of vitamin D3 from their diets alone; the vitamin is found in tuna, eggs, liver, salmon, and other types of fish. Due to the growing concern about ingesting too much of these fish due to mercury content, it may be better to take your vitamin D from multivitamins.
Are multivitamins necessary? Absolutely – especially if you may become pregnant. Folic acid, also called folate, is actually another B-vitamin that is not included in the B-complex. The introduction of folate into grains and flours has decreased the occurrence of birth defects drastically. Folic acid is important for health cell division, enzyme production, and blood formation, which are important in utero and in adults alike. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to get enough folic acid from your diet and it represents one of the most common vitamin deficiencies. The most common foods containing natural folate are broccoli, beets, and eggs.
Are multivitamins necessary even if you eat a perfectly balanced diet? The answer is a resounding yes. There are many vitamins and minerals that are virtually impossible to get from your diet alone, and deficiencies can leave you feeling tired and weak.