I previously discussed my top five supplement recommendations, yet people often ask me what supplement I would take if I could choose only one. My answer is always a quality multivitamin – it’s the base supplement for all my clients to ensure a full spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals.
And I’m not alone. Not surprisingly, more people take multivitamins than any other dietary supplement, according to the National Institutes of Health. (1) Many people take multivitamins believing them to be an insurance policy for their health.
However, as I’ve said many times, supplements do not replace a healthy lifestyle. The choices you make every day about nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress management, and other lifestyle factors dramatically influence your health and well-being.
But I always recommend multivitamins because no matter how healthy your lifestyle and diet are, it’s unlikely that food today can provide all the essential nutrients with your body’s needs.
Here are some reasons why.
- There are fewer nutrients in food today due to stripped soils from industrial agriculture, added preservatives, processing, and long-term storage, among other modern food treatment practices.
- The need for higher levels of nutrients is increasing. The modern digital age places physiological demands on the body, increasing the need for minerals such as magnesium and zinc, among others. Air pollution and other environmental toxins cause the body to work harder to detoxify, increasing its demand for more antioxidants and B vitamins.
- Micronutrient deficiencies are widespread. Studies show that most people consume diets that do not achieve the minimum recommended micronutrient intake levels. And the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can make eating a healthy diet even more difficult.
So, as you can see, the modern age has created the perfect storm for nutrient deficiencies.
5 top benefits of multivitamins
As well as plugging a nutrient gap and helping the body detoxify, taking a multivitamin supplement has many other benefits.
1. Reduces the risk of nutrient deficiencies and chronic disease
Nutrient deficiencies can affect the body in several ways, ranging from subtle effects to serious chronic diseases.
For example, cracked lips may indicate vitamin B6 deficiency. Sunken, dull, or dry eyes might mean a lack of vitamin A or zinc. (2) And impaired brain function like memory problems, blood disorders, or tingling hands or feet could cue a vitamin B12 deficiency. (3)
Chronic conditions like anaemia stem from a lack of iron, affecting one-quarter of the world’s population. (4, 5) Anaemia can make you feel tired, dizzy, and out of breath. You might also have difficulty sustaining intense training/exercise and subsequently decrease your ability to lose fat.
A dizzying one-third of the world’s population may lack enough iodine (6). Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism and slow metabolism, which can make you tired and cause you to gain weight.
Over time, vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle weakness and decreased bone density. And magnesium deficiency is associated with many health conditions and diseases, including Type 2 diabetes.
A daily multivitamin helps ensure you get the minimum recommended daily amounts (RDA) to prevent nutrient deficiencies that can lead to chronic disease.
2. Increases metabolism to aid in weight loss
The body converts food and nutrients into energy in the process called metabolism. What you eat, including vitamins and minerals, affects your metabolism.
A faster metabolism always burns calories faster than a slower one, making weight gain less likely. Specific vitamins and minerals are known to help boost metabolism and support weight control. (7) In particular, B vitamins play many essential roles in the body’s energy metabolism. And a deficiency in one B vitamin can affect other B vitamins, which can disrupt metabolism.
For example, Vitamin B12 is essential to metabolise proteins and fats and needs vitamin B6 and folate to work correctly. (8) Since B12 is found only in animal products, vegetarians and vegans may have difficulty consuming enough without supplementation. While a lack of vitamin D has been linked with increased body fat, research suggests that calcium combined with vitamin D further assists weight loss. (9,10)
And as I previously mentioned, low levels of iron and iodine can slow your metabolism and consequently hinder weight loss. Taking a multivitamin with a healthy blend of B vitamins and other metabolism boosters can help keep the pounds off.
3. Helps strengthen bones
Along with exercise, a healthy diet and adequate nutrients are essential for strong bones. (11)
Vitamin D and calcium are essential for the maintenance of bone health. Calcium supports your bones and teeth structure, while vitamin D improves calcium absorption and bone growth.
Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, but low vitamin K levels will make bones less able to incorporate calcium. Vitamin K is one of the most important vitamins for bone health. Studies have shown that vitamin K is effective at stopping bone loss in people with osteoporosis and potentially reversing it.
Perhaps less well-known but significant contributors that support bone health include zinc, manganese, copper, magnesium, silicon, and boron. Many diets are insufficient in these nutrients. (11)
A multivitamin that includes calcium, vitamins D and K, and other essential nutrients can help strengthen and maintain a healthy bone density.
4. Helps repair tissue and muscle
Your body needs specific vitamins to help replenish cellular energy and repair damaged tissues. Some of the essential nutrients involved in the muscle repair process include the B vitamins, A and C.
B vitamins help your cells produce usable energy, so your muscle cells have the fuel needed to repair tears.
Vitamin A is essential for muscle growth and recovery, and along with B vitamins, it helps break down protein during the muscle repair process.
Among its many benefits as an antioxidant, vitamin C protects muscle cells from damaging free radicals and helps form collagen, the primary element of connective tissue.
The synergy of B vitamins, A and C provides an important base for muscle repair.
5. Helps boost the immune system
A healthy immune system defends every cell in your body against infection and disease. A weak immune system, referred to as low immune function, puts you more at risk for developing health problems.
Various factors can contribute to low immune function like toxins, stress, lack of sleep and even the natural ageing process. However, nutrient deficiency is the most common cause that undermines the immune system.
Nutrients that play a vital role in supporting immune health include vitamins A, C, D, E and minerals like zinc. I’ve described several essential supplements that support a healthy immune system in more detail.
Depending on the formulation, a multivitamin provides the synergy of these essential nutrients to support your immune system.
A daily multivitamin helps replenish and maintain vital micronutrients to ensure you get the minimum recommended daily amounts (RDA) to prevent nutrient deficiencies. And particularly relevant today is the existing evidence indicating supplements of several nutrients can reduce the risk or severity of some viral infections.
Human Performance Hub carries pharmaceutical grade multivitamins from our own to world-class brands.
- HPH Multi-Vitamin Drink – An array of nutrients that are not typically found in multivitamins, alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), green tea, rosemary & grape extract. It is the ideal multivitamin/multimineral for children, the elderly, and anyone who prefers not to take pills.
- Designs for Health Complete Multi – Provides a potent antioxidant and B vitamin formula in capsule form to help with energy production, methylation, fat loss, and hormone regulation.
- Designs for Health Metabolic Synergy – Blood sugar management formula designed to improve blood glucose and insulin levels to help metabolise carbohydrates and protect from oxidative damage.
- Designs for Health Paleo Greens – Water-soluble super greens powder supplies a rich amount of organic minerals and nutrients.
- YPSI MultiKomplex with Zinc – Contains essential vitamins and minerals and a high content of zinc, glycine, betaine HCL, chlorella, and other ingredients for detoxification and methylation and immune system support.
- ATP Lab Total Defense – Contains essential vitamins and minerals to support your health. Includes a substantial supply of antioxidants, particularly helpful in detoxification, such as organic greens, spinach, chlorella, and spirulina.
We’re always here to help. If you have any questions or would like advice about supplements, nutrition, or training, please book in for a consultation.
Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professionals before making any nutritional & lifestyle changes or before taking any nutritional supplement. For more information, please view our terms & conditions.
- Efficacy of Multivitamin/mineral Supplementation to Reduce Chronic Disease Risk: A Critical Review of the Evidence from Observational Studies and Randomized Controlled Trials
- All About Nutrient Deficiencies
- 9 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Worldwide prevalence of anaemia, WHO Vitamin and Mineral Nutrition Information System, 1993-2005
- Iron deficiency anaemia
- Global iodine nutrition
- The 5 best vitamins to boost metabolism
- Vitamin B12 – Health Professional Fact Sheet
- Dairy consumption in association with weight change and risk of becoming overweight or obese
- Dairy calcium intake, serum vitamin D, and successful weight loss
- Essential Nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet