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The Importance of Multivitamins

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/27/2007 | Nutrition
A multivitamin is a nutritional supplement containing many different types of vitamins, as the name suggests. However, many brands of multivitamins also contain minerals, trace elements, and other nutritionals. Multi-vitamins are convenient because it is not necessary to take dozens of individual vitamin pills each day. Instead, these all-in-one vitamin pills contain many vitamins in controlled dosages.

The controlled dosage of each individual vitamin in the pill is provided for your protection. Dosages are usually measured and presented in a percentage of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), in micrograms (mcg), or sometimes in International Units (I.U.). Most vitamins in the tablet are included at the 100% RDA dosage, meaning that the capsule contains all of that particular nutrient you would need for a day. For nutrients listed in the ingredients as less than 100% of the RDA, the vitamin manufacturer expects you to get the remainder of those vitamins from your daily diet.

Multivitamin pills are not a replacement for a healthy diet, however. Instead, they are a supplement to healthy eating. Today's fast paced lifestyles, and the correspondingly fast paced fast foods, do not typically supply all the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs for good health and nutrition. Instead, these rather unhealthy diets are more likely to provide you with large amounts of only a few essential vitamins, and little or none of others. Taking a daily multivitamin by a reputable manufacturer helps even out the nutrient deficits in your diet.

Do not be alarmed if the combination of your daily diet and your daily vitamin provide you with more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance of one or more nutrients. First of all, different people have different nutritional requirements, and may need more of that particular supplement. Secondly, the extra amount of the nutrients you consume are not likely to be large, and the unused part will normally be flushed out of your system with other bodily wastes. Be aware, however, that deliberately taking mega-doses of certain vitamins can be unhealthy. Almost any material can be toxic to the body if taken in excessive doses!

Remember to take your multivitamin tablet on a daily basis. Taking a pill once a week, or once every two to three days, will be helpful. However, most nutritional supplements containing Vitamins C, D, E, B6, B12, Niacin, Thiamin, and the other recommended nutrients provide the most health benefits when taken daily. If you forget to take your daily pill, don't take two the next day. Instead, simply take your next scheduled single pill. Taking multivitamins on a daily basis can supplement your diet and improve your overall health.