Medically reviewed on May 13, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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There’s a reason it’s an apple—not a donut—a day that keeps the doctor away. Natural foods contain essential vitamins and minerals that support health, from eyesight to metabolism. But if vitamins are found in food, do you need a daily multivitamin supplement?
With all the health advice flying around online, it can be hard to know what’s right. However, a daily multivitamin might be a great addition to your routine. While not a replacement for nutritious food, a multivitamin can aid in daily and long-term health benefits.
Curious if you need a supplement with your peas and carrots? Let’s explore the ingredients and benefits of a multivitamin to give the full picture. (Note that you can now shop Everlywell Vitamins and Supplements, including tasty multivitamin gummies, plus pregnancy-related vitamins, for your daily needs.)
When it comes to multivitamins, the ingredients list can range from minimal to scroll-worthy. Anything from turmeric to magnesium could be thrown into the mix. However, common or basic multivitamins almost always contain moderate amounts of the 13 essential vitamins .
To understand the power packed inside these daily tablets, let’s explore the purpose of each vitamin and the other common ingredients that basic multivitamins often include.
The body categorizes vitamins into two families—water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are immediately absorbed by body tissues for use.
Each water-soluble vitamin has a specific set of bodily functions it supports, contributing to a comprehensive daily pill. Nine of the thirteen essential vitamins are water-soluble, including :
Out of the thirteen essential vitamins, four are fat-soluble—vitamins A, D, E, and K. The body stores these nutrients in the liver, muscles, and other fatty tissue for long-term use.
While only a small amount of each is necessary, every human needs these essential nutrients to maintain a healthy body, mind, and lifestyle :
Alongside the essential vitamins, most multivitamins also include crucial minerals and vitamin-like compounds in varying amounts, including :
Like vitamins, these substances also facilitate crucial, biological processes.
If the list above was any indication, the nutrients contained in multivitamins are beyond important for daily wellness. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
But if your diet is already full of vitamins and minerals, do you need a multivitamin?
The answer is, it depends. From diet alone, the body might receive enough nutrients. But if you have limited food intake or special health conditions, then a supplement could boost your health and improve things like constant weariness. And in the case of water-soluble vitamins, toxicity is very rare because our bodies naturally eliminate any excess.
Even better? There are other long-term multivitamin benefits supported by research.
If you eat a rainbow-colored plate, then you are more likely to meet your daily nutrient needs. But for the vegetable-averse or more limited eaters, a multivitamin supplement may be able to help you reach the levels of nutrients you need.
One study tracked nutrition adequacy across 90,000 men and women ages 45 and older. Compared to control subjects, men and women who took a multivitamin had a respective 12% and 8% higher nutritional adequacy. The more adequate nutrition, the more support for a healthy body .
Vitamins provide more than daily health support. They also create long-term protections against disease and dangerous conditions—everything from cancer to stroke. Multiple studies demonstrate the correlation between multivitamins and preventing health risks, including:
You’ve probably heard the term “eating for two” for pregnant women. You could also say a developing mother needs “vitamins for two.”
Enter the prenatal vitamin.
These specialty formulas combine the top nutrients that doctors recommend for expecting mothers, including:
From sharp vision to healthy babies, multivitamins can provide significant health support. To find the best formula for your health needs, consult your healthcare provider. Equipped with the right information, they can point you towards the specific nutrients that your body might need. Then, consider trying a monthly Everlywell subscription for the nutrient(s) of your choice, including:
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