Why Should You Take a Multivitamin?

What are Micronutrients? 

 

First, let’s start with the basics. Your body requires both macronutrients and micronutrients to operate. We get both of these from the foods we eat and supplements we take. Macronutrients are the carbohydrates, fats, and protein we eat that have calories attached to them. These are the ones that primarily give our body energy. 

In order to properly utilize those calories, we need micronutrients. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals our body uses to operate at a cellular level. These are the guys that have a rower in their hand and keep the ship at sail. No matter how extravagant your canoe is, without the men rowing it, it’s useless. Micronutrients are the ground workers, the army you need to function. 

What happens if I don’t get enough micronutrients?

 

Micronutrients are essential, and the lack of even just one of them can have major consequences (Savarino & Corsello, 2021). Micronutrients show to play a major role in development from children, to keeping us young and healthy as we get older.  

WHO, The World Health Organization, found that undernutrition is associated with 45% of child deaths. This is because micronutrients enable our body to produce the enzymes and hormones our body needs to develop. 

Micronutrient deficiency leads to a wide variety of serious health conditions, including an increased risk for chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis (Drake, 2022)

A survey on over 16,000 individuals done by the US national survey, NHANES 2007-2010, reported a high prevalence of inadequacies for multiple micronutrients. Specifically, 94.3% of the US population do not meet the daily requirement for vitamin D and 88.5% for vitamin E. 100% of the population had intakes lower than the recommended for potassium, 91.7% for choline, and 66.9% for vitamin K. 

Although this is important, most of us don’t emotionally connect with the impact this can have on our lives, if we have not experienced it yet. Therefore, the biggest impact we see with a lack of micronutrients is how it affects our everyday lives. 

When we have deficiencies, it creates noticeable differences in our energy levels, our mental clarity and our overall capacity to handle stress. When this happens, it affects more than just our health. Our performance at the gym is affected, our productivity at work decreases, and our capacity to handle relationships gets affected. When we lack essential vitamins and minerals we can’t build new muscle, it’s harder to lose body fat and our performance is severely inhibited. Getting enough micronutrients does not just relate to health conditions, but your overall daily routine.  

 

How can I get more micronutrients?

 

1. Keep your plate colorful!

First, we will need to increase the color that we see on our plates. All of the colorful foods are full of phytonutrients that deliver a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that supply our body with the micronutrients we need. This means your plate of browns and tans will not have as much micronutrients as a plate that looks like it was painted by Picasso. 

When making a plate, add fruits and vegetables that have color! This will ensure we take the first step to increasing nutrient uptake.

 

2. Swap out your dessert with fruit!

Secondly, swap out the desserts you may have with some fruit! Fruit will have a larger amount of micronutrients within them than the cookie you were reaching for. This is one of my favorite options, because it still curbs your sweet tooth but adds more value to your body. There are a ton of recipes that jazz up fruit, so you can feel as though you are getting in your favorite bakery’s treat, without needing to sacrifice any micronutrient deficiencies! Here are a couple recipes I love:

https://www.kimscravings.com/super-easy-healthy-baked-fruit-dessert-vegan-and-gluten-free/

https://www.wellplated.com/baked-peaches/

 

3. Take a multivitamin daily!

Lastly, and the most effective way, is to take a multivitamin. 

First and foremost, a multivitamin is a supplement that is designed to fill in the gaps. Just because we take one, does not mean that we can go a full year without eating any fruits and veggies. It is meant to fill in the micronutrient gaps that we commonly see in our daily diet. 

Like mentioned above, the average person does not get enough vitamins and minerals throughout the day. When was the last time you remember eating 6 servings of fruits and vegetables consistently, every single day, for longer than a year, or even a week? Yeah, me neither.

That is exactly why we take a multivitamin, because even on our good days, we may still have deficiencies in our diet. Like I mentioned before, a lack of micronutrients relates to more than just serious health conditions, it’s how we operate on a daily basis! The lack of energy that is impacting our ability to play with our kids and focus at work to get that promotion, all boil down to how our body operates every single day. 

Taking a multivitamin ensures that we get in all the micronutrients we need in a day to operate at our best. It ensures that our children develop properly, it helps us increase natural energy, eliminates our brain fog, and decreases the risk of chronic diseases. 

 

Which Multivitamin Should I Take?

 

I will preface, any multivitamin is better than no multivitamin. So whichever you are taking, that is a major step in the right direction. Now, if you are focused on taking a multivitamin that will ensure you are filling in micronutrient gaps, the best thing to look for is something encapsulated. 

Hard pressed pills do not break down easily in our digestive tract, making the micronutrients hard to absorb. The way it is processed affects the bioavailability of the vitamins and minerals, making it a less effective way to take a multivitamin. 

Gummy vitamins also are not processed in a way that allows us to take advantage of the vitamins. It needs to go through a heated gelatin process that denatures and affects the integrity of the vitamins and minerals. This means, although tasty and fun, they will not be effective when actually taking a multivitamin with the intent to fill micronutrient gaps. 

Encapsulated vitamins, filled with a fine powder, make sure that you digest and absorb all of the nutrients you need to feel your best.

References:

Agarwal S, Fulgoni VL, 3rd, Spence L, Samuel P. Sodium intake status in United States and potential reduction modeling: an NHANES 2007-2010 analysis. Food Sci Nutr. 2015;3(6):577-585. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26788299/

Drake, V. J. (2022, March 15). Micronutrient inadequacies in the US population: An overview. Linus Pauling Institute. Retrieved April 9, 2022, from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrient-inadequacies/overview#micronutrient-deficiencies-inadequacies 

Savarino, G., Corsello, A., & Corsello, G. (2021). Macronutrient balance and micronutrient amounts through growth and development. Italian journal of pediatrics, 47(1), 109. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13052-021-01061-0

 

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