Have you noticed how our eating habits have changed over time? Due to the fast pace of life we lead nowadays, we more often opt for processed foods instead of natural alternatives, which are abundant in nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
In response to these changes, more and more people are opting for multivitamin supplements. After all, they are seen as a convenient method of ensuring that the body gets everything it needs.
However, do they really understand what these supplements are and how to use them to take advantage of all the benefits they offer? Here you will find important information about multivitamin supplements and how they can be used.
What are multivitamins?
Vitamins are often found in medicines known as multivitamins. These products are intended to complement the daily diet, especially when sufficient vitamins are not obtained from food.
Multivitamins can contain a single vitamin or a set of them combined and, possibly, also include essential minerals. They are beneficial in situations where the body needs a greater amount of vitamins than it is getting from food. In other words, they are used to meet an individual’s nutritional needs.
Multivitamins: supplements or medications?
In Pak, products made with vitamins and minerals are divided into two categories: vitamin and/or mineral supplements and medicines based on these nutrients. What distinguishes them are the amounts of nutrients provided in the recommended daily dose.
According to the Health Surveillance Secretariat of the Ministry of Health (SVS/MS), vitamin supplements are food complements that help enrich the daily diet of healthy individuals. They are useful when food does not provide enough nutrients or when the diet needs reinforcement.
These supplements must have a minimum of 25% and a maximum of 100% of the vitamins and/or minerals recommended per day. It is important to note that they do not replace normal meals and should not be the only source of food.
On the other hand, medicines based on vitamins and minerals (multivitamins) should be taken in larger amounts than normally recommended for daily consumption. They have a higher concentration of these nutrients than the amount you would normally get from regular foods or supplements.
In contrast to medicines, supplements are not intended to treat illnesses. On the other hand, medicines made with vitamins and minerals are called “multivitamins and/or multiminerals”.
What are multivitamins for?
Multivitamins are created to replace a specific amount of vitamins, or even a group of them, when our body does not have enough.
Generally, they are used when we cannot get enough vitamins from the foods we eat. This happens when there is a lack of these vitamins or when our diet needs a boost.
However, it is important to emphasize that the consumption of multivitamins cannot replace food and should not be the only source of nutrition in the diet.
Main advantages of multivitamins:
- Nutritional supply: multivitamins can contain different types of important vitamins and minerals that help complete our diet when we do not get the amount of nutrients we need (2)
- Broad audience: vitamins and multivitamins can be purchased without a prescription and are widely used by people of different ages. (3)
- Practicality: in the rush of everyday life, we are not always able to obtain all the nutrients we need from food. That’s why multivitamins are a convenient way to ensure this.
When to consider using multivitamins
The use of multivitamins should always be guided by a qualified health professional. After all, vitamin and mineral needs can vary from person to person, depending on age, medical conditions and lifestyle. A healthcare professional can assess your individual needs and recommend an appropriate supplement.
Excessive use of multivitamin medications can cause a problem called hypervitaminosis, especially when it comes to vitamins that dissolve in fat, such as vitamins A, D, E and K.
In addition, guidance from a healthcare professional also helps to avoid unwanted drug interactions and ensures that you are choosing the right supplement for your specific needs and the proper functioning of your body.
Therefore, it is always important to seek advice from a doctor or nutritionist before starting any multivitamin supplementation.