You try to do everything you can to stay healthy. You eat right, exercise, and keep your numbers where they need to be. But if you’re not taking a daily multivitamin-multimineral supplement, you aren’t giving yourself the best chance for abundant wellness.
Multivitamins act like nutrient insurance. When you take a high-quality multi, you can feel confident that you’re providing your body with all of the nutrients it needs to thrive every day. The key, however, is to take the right multi—one that maximizes all of its benefits in every dose.
5 Reasons You Need to Take a Multi
Your body works hard every day and needs a constant supply of nutrients to function properly. Every cell, organ, and system has its own daily nutritional requirements, and even slight supply dips can have unexpected consequences.
Here are five key reasons you need to add a high-quality multi into your daily routine:
- Food processing removes half the vitamins and minerals in food, while leaving all the calories. In fact, this is the first time in human history where people are frequently both obese and malnourished at the same time! Also, like almost everyone, you probably don’t get the full recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. As a result, your nutrient supplies may be lacking.
- Even if you eat a textbook-perfect diet, many foods that should deliver plentiful supplies of essential minerals—like magnesium and manganese—don’t. The soil used to grow the fruits and vegetables you eat has been seriously depleted over the past several decades. This means it can’t supply enough of the nutrients your body relies on to stay healthy.
- The standard Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) isn’t designed to measure the amount of individual nutrients needed for vibrant health. Rather, it offers up the bare minimum to avoid severe deficiency. So, even if you get your full RDA from food, that won’t be enough to prevent deficiencies all together—and it’s certainly not enough to fully sustain optimal health. Effective dosages may actually be double or triple the recommended RDA.
- Low-level vitamin and mineral deficiencies are increasingly common, especially if you eat a Western-style, vegetarian, or vegan diet. These minor deficiencies may cause a wide variety of symptoms, depending on which nutrients are falling short. The most common deficiencies include:
- Vitamin B12 and other B vitamins
- Vitamin D
Taking a daily multi can help you get enough of the essential vitamins and minerals you need to avoid the long-term health consequences of nutrient deficiencies.
- Your body may not be able to fully absorb and utilize all of the nutrients from the foods you eat. A lot of things can affect nutrient absorption, from stress to chronic conditions like Crohn’s disease to aging. Minerals can be especially hard for your body to absorb, even under the best of circumstances. And if your body can’t absorb nutrients from foods, it can’t use them to keep functioning the way it’s supposed to. That’s why it’s crucial to take a multi, especially one that contains the most absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals.
Each Body System Needs Specific Nutrients
Your body needs a wide variety of vitamins and minerals every day in order to fulfill the needs of every cell, organ, and body system. While your whole body needs the complete list of essential nutrients, each organ and system uses them in different ratios and amounts.
Here’s a quick look at just some of your body systems and their specialized nutrient requirements.
Nervous: For optimal physical, cognitive, and emotional health, your brain and nerves rely on the full range of B vitamins, vitamins E and D, and magnesium.
Cardiovascular: Your heart and blood vessels need a full complement of nutrients to keep your blood circulating, and that includes plentiful amounts of vitamins E and K2, folate, potassium, and magnesium to maintain optimal heart efficiency and healthy blood pressure.
Skeletal: You probably know that your bones and joints need calcium, but they also need minerals like boron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and copper, as well as vitamins D and K2 to stay strong and healthy. Meanwhile, for your muscles to stay strong and limber (instead of tight), magnesium and B vitamins are critical.
Endocrine: The system responsible for energy, metabolism, and hormones calls for a daily supply of vitamins A and D, along with iodine, selenium, and vanadium.
So when you do decide to take a multi, check to see that it includes all of the nutrients your body needs. You’ll also want to make sure your whole body truly can take full advantage of all of the nutrients it contains. To accomplish that, you’ll need a multi designed to deliver maximum benefits.
3 Ways to Maximize Your Multi
Once you’ve decided to add a multi into your daily routine, you’ll want to choose a supplement that offers the greatest possible benefits for your body. That means looking for one that contains clinically effective dosages of each nutrient in its most effective form.
The three most important features of a health-promoting multi include:
- Bioavailable vitamins: Your body uses a lot of vitamins every day, especially during times of stress—physical or mental. Some forms of vitamins are easier for your body to absorb and use than others, and you want to make sure your multi contains the most effective bioavailable forms, such as:
- Active forms of B vitamins, which go to work immediately rather than needing to be first converted by your liver. Look for the active forms of vitamin B6, called P-5-P, vitamin B12, called methylcobalamin, and folic acid, called L-methylfolate.
- Vitamin D3 is the form of D already found in your body naturally. Many supplements contain vitamin D2, called ergocalciferol—the form created by plants, which is harder for your body to process.
- The full family of vitamin E. Vitamin E isn’t a single nutrient. It’s really a collection of compounds called tocopherols. Your body needs all of them to get the full benefits of this essential nutrient. Look for d-alpha mixed tocopherols rather than single-ingredient vitamin E.
- Chelated minerals: Your body may have a hard time absorbing most minerals from food, especially if you’re older, have digestive issues, or take antacids. In some cases, your body may only be able to use one or two percent of the total minerals in your food. Chelated minerals can substantially boost that absorption by providing minerals in a way that your body can easily use them. It does this by creating a bond between a mineral and a substance, such as the amino acid glycine. The amino acid basically surrounds and transports the mineral so it’s easier for your body to absorb and process.
The Acid Test
It takes acid to break down minerals so your body can absorb them. When you produce less stomach acid, which can happen as you get older or if you use acid-suppressing medications, you can’t fully digest minerals. This can lead to deficiencies. Chelated minerals require less acid during the digestive process, so your body can absorb more of the essential minerals you need.
- Multiple daily doses: A once-a-day multivitamin and mineral supplement may provide all the nutrients you need but in a potency far less than what your body actually requires. Your body needs a steady stream of nutrients in the correct amounts throughout the day. So, taking a once-a-day multi doesn’t always make sense based on the way your body works. To get the most from your multi, look for one that supplies more than a single daily dose.
Even the best, most bioavailable multi works as a supplement, meaning it’s not designed to be your sole source of nutrients. It’s still important to eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet, and to increase support for specific body systems whenever that makes sense for you.
You Need Extra Immune Support
A high-quality multi gives your body the tools it needs to thrive every day, but there are times when your immune system faces extra challenges. In those circumstances, you want to provide it with targeted support. That means delivering ample supplies of the key nutrients it needs to keep you protected against viruses and other infectious pathogens. You’ll want to stock up on these key nutrients for a robust, resilient immune function:
- Vitamin A, especially in the retinol form, rallies key immune cells—including natural killer (NK) cells—when infectious threats are present. (Caution: Do not take over 8,000 units a day if you are or may become pregnant.)
- Vitamin C helps your immune system protect every cell in your body against harmful bacteria, viruses, and other infectious threats.
- Vitamin D3 enhances immune-cell function, manages healthy inflammatory responses, reduces your risk of developing infections, and offers special protection to your respiratory system.
- Vitamin E is known for delivering powerful antioxidant protection that helps your cells block invading viruses and helps your immune system send the signals necessary to mobilize antibodies.
- Selenium strengthens cells so they can resist infection and activates your body’s most potent natural antioxidant enzyme, glutathione peroxidase.
- Zinc supports critical immune-cell function, including T-cells, B-cells, and NK cells, to protect you against viruses and bacteria.
Your immune system is on call 24/7, and it needs support around the clock. This combination of supportive nutrients helps build up your immune system so it can keep you protected no matter the threats it faces.