Multivitamins are artificial sources of a large number of vitamins together. These are usually the combination of a variety of vitamins found in foods and natural sources. Multivitamins are used to treat vitamin deficiency that usually results from any type of illnesses, pregnancy, poor nutrition and gastrointestinal disorders. These multivitamins are usually used when the vitamins from the diet we take are insufficient. Multivitamins are available in different forms; tablets, capsules, powders, liquids and chewable gums. Multivitamins may also contain minerals along with vitamins. There are about 13 vitamins and 16 minerals essential for body functioning. There are different combinations of these minerals and vitamins, in which there would be different proportions of them. In this article the discussion will be about the components, uses and side-effects of multivitamins.
Components of multivitamins:
Multivitamins usually contain sometimes the B-vitamins as vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 and also the fat soluble vitamins e.g vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D2 or D3, vitamin K along with the minerals as potassium, iodine, chlorine, zinc, calcium, magnesium, molybdenum and iron. Some multivitamins may also contain the anti-oxidants. Multi vitamin formulas are usually based on age, gender and the nutritional requirements or needs for example a multi vitamin for females may contain higher amounts of iron as compared to the multi vitamins for men. Multivitamins must not contain herbs, hormone and drugs. The amount of the components added must be below than the maximum tolerable limit.
Uses of Multivitamins:
Multivitamins may also aid to the treatment of some diseases and the under or poor nutrition. The uses of multivitamin may contain the following:
Health effects on Heart:
It has been studied that the use of multivitamins has been associated with reducing heart diseases and death rate. The use of multivitamins has been found to reduce the risk of death by 35 % in women but not in men.
Health effects on brain:
It has been studied that the use of multivitamins increases the memory efficiency in older adults that means these multivitamins have healthy effect on the brain cognitive functions.
Multivitamins also influence your brain chemistry and controlling the hormonal regulation by making your mood better. It has been found that taking multivitamins have been found effective in making your mood good because many of the vitamins and minerals are associated with the formation of neurotransmitters e.g serotonin that have greater impact on your brain vibes. These multivitamins are also associated to lower the symptoms of depression by relaxing your brain and nerves.
Health effects on Eyes:
As the multivitamins contain the healthy vitamins combinations they may also be associated with improving the eyes health status and reducing the symptoms of age related macular degeneration, in which the vision of especially older adults dwindles down. Multivitamins may also reduce the risks of cataracts and many other eye diseases.
Health effects on bones:
Multivitamins may also increase the absorption of the calcium into bones when it contains the vitamin D along with calcium. In this way, the multivitamins may help in reducing the risks of Osteoporosis.
Multivitamins may reduce the risks of cancer. But there are no strong evidences in between the multivitamins and cancer that these may reduce its effects. Multivitamins have been found effective in reducing cancer only in men but not in women. It may also be used to reduce the risks of colon cancer. Some studies have also found that multivitamins may increase the cancer risks.
Health effects on anemia:
The multivitamins containing the iron along with vitamin B12, increases the iron absorption and reduces the symptoms of anemia.
Side-effects of Multivitamins:
Dosage matters a lot in determining your health when you are taking multivitamins. The high dose of some vitamins and minerals may be safe but of others can be harmful.
Water soluble vitamins: water soluble vitamins are not harmful even if consumed in larger amounts. Their excess is not stored and is excreted out through urine. These vitamins include vitamin C and all the vitamins of the B-complex family.
Fat soluble vitamins: fat soluble vitamins are not easy to be excreted and are accumulated up to toxic levels in the adipose tissue. These vitamins are A, D, E and K. vitamin E and vitamin K are not usually harmful when consumed in larger amounts but that of vitamin A and vitamin D can be toxic.
- Pregnant women should be careful in consuming the doses of vitamin A because its consumption in excess has been associated with birth defects.
- When a healthy food dense in nutrients is consumed along with the multivitamins, the daily intake may exceed the RDA (recommended daily dosage) of the nutrients.
- High doses of minerals can also be toxic. When the iron is taken in larger amounts, it can be toxic for those people who are not suffering from its deficiency.
- Larger amounts of vitamin A or beta-carotene may increase the risks of lung cancer.
So, in the light of above discussion multivitamins should be consumed in regulated and checked pattern. These can be beneficial only when consumed in the balanced way but when over-consumed can be toxic.