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What Happens to Your Body When You Take a Multivitamin Every Day?
By Jill Levy
April 4, 2023
Considering there’s a handful of vitamins that you should obtain daily, an all-in-one multivitamin is a convenient way to help meet your needs.
Is it good to take a multivitamin every day, and if so, why? While multivitamins can't replace a nutrient-dense healthy diet that includes a variety of whole foods, they can be beneficial for people who want to help bridge nutritional gaps in the diet or who may want additional nutrient support for optimal health.
For example, many people lack vitamin D, iron and magnesium, which most multivitamins provide. Consuming adequate amounts of these nutrients can be helpful for healthy immune system support, healthy energy levels and more.
Below we’ll look at the potential benefits of adding a multi to your routine, plus tips for choosing the best types based on your gender, health and goals.
As always, you should consult with your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including dietary supplementation.
Multivitamins are dietary supplements that contain a combination of vitamins, minerals and sometimes other nutrients to help with absorption (such as probiotics, enzymes or herbs). They’re intended to help fill nutrient gaps in people’s diets and ensure that they get the essential vitamins and minerals they need on a regular basis.
You can find multivitamins in many forms depending on your preference, including capsules (such as our Ancient Multis), powders, liquids, and gummies.
Multis usually contain a variety of nutrients, especially “essential” ones that the body cannot produce on its own. Within multis, you’ll typically find vitamins and minerals such as:
Fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E and K
Water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin C and various B vitamins.
Electrolyte minerals — such as calcium, magnesium and potassium — that are often needed in higher amounts than other minerals.
Trace minerals that are typically needed in small amounts, including zinc, iron, manganese, selenium and others.
When should multivitamins be taken? They are typically taken once a day with a meal to help with absorption. However, each type is a bit different, so read label instructions for use.
What happens to your body when you start taking a multivitamin? Here are some of the reasons why multivitamins may be beneficial, especially for those who are lacking certain vitamins and minerals:
Many people who do not consume adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals through their diet alone can benefit from a good-quality multivitamin.
For example, multis often contain 100 percent of most adults’ need for B12, vitamin D, and sometimes magnesium and iron, which some people can come up short on. (Note: percentages of daily value, or DV, vary from brand to brand).
Taking a daily multivitamin can be a convenient way to help ensure that you meet your nutritional needs, especially if you have limited access to a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods. For instance, those following a restrictive diet or a vegan or vegetarian diet can often benefit from a multi.
Some people may have difficulty absorbing certain vitamins and minerals. A multivitamin might help with better nutrient absorption and provide these people with certain nutrients that they're perhaps not getting enough of.
Stress and exercise can sometimes increase the body's nutrient needs, such as for B vitamins, magnesium and iron. Therefore, taking a multivitamin may be a valuable supplement for stress relief.
A multi may help to support the body during times of stress and following exercise by providing the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for energy production, healthy immune system function and muscle recovery.
Overall, multivitamins are generally safe for most people when taken as directed. But as mentioned above, it’s important to note that a multivitamin should not be used as a replacement for a healthy, balanced diet.
Keep in mind that individual nutrient needs also vary depending on factors such as age, gender and health status. Taking only the recommended amount of multivitamins is also important, so always read and follow label directions for use.
If you take medications, are nursing or are pregnant, are allergic, or have a medical condition, it’s highly recommended that you talk to a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, including a multivitamin.
While everyone can typically benefit from consuming a balanced and varied nutrient-rich, whole-foods diet and a daily multivitamin, there are those who may wish to pay particular attention to their nutritional interests, including considering taking a multivitamin.
They can include:
Older adults: As people age, they may generally come up short on certain nutrients. That’s why taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement that is specially formulated for ages 40+ or 50+ may benefit them.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women: Pregnant and breastfeeding women have increased calorie and nutrient needs, particularly for folate, iron and calcium, which are important for fetal and infant development. A prenatal multivitamin can help to ensure that pregnant and breastfeeding women are getting adequate amounts of these nutrients.
Vegans and vegetarians: People who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet may come up short on certain nutrients, including vitamin B12, iron, zinc and calcium, which are mostly found in animal products like meat and dairy. A multi can be an important vegan supplement as well as vegetarian supplement to consider.
What’s the best type of multivitamin to take? When choosing a multivitamin in general, there are several factors to consider to help ensure that it is high-quality and meets your individual needs.
Here are some things to look for in a multivitamin:
Look for a multivitamin that provides at least 100 percent of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for most essential nutrients, including vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, E and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron.
For instance, some of the best multivitamins for women should include enough iron, vitamin A, vitamin D and calcium for healthy blood and bone support, while some of the best multivitamins for men should include enough vitamin B15, B6, zinc, selenium and vitamin D.
Bioavailable forms of nutrients, such as those that are fermented or enzyme-activated, are produced in a way that’s easy for the body to absorb and use them.
For example, look for vitamin D3 instead of vitamin D2, and methylcobalamin instead of cyanocobalamin for vitamin B12. You’ll find highly absorbable nutrients in our Men’s Fermented Multis and Women’s Fermented Multis.
Your multi should be a so-called clean supplement. It shouldn’t contain any harmful additives or fillers, such as artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners. Also, check for common allergens, such as wheat, soy or dairy if you have allergies or sensitivities.
Supplements that have been third-party tested and certified help to ensure you’re taking a product that meets quality assurance standards.
Consider your individual needs and health status when choosing a multivitamin. For example, pregnant or breastfeeding women may need a multivitamin specifically formulated for their needs, and older adults may benefit from a multivitamin with higher amounts of certain nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D.
Some men’s and women’s multis contain added herbs and botanicals to help support their specific goals, such as our: Ancient Multi Women’s formula and our Ancient Multi Women’s 40 formula intended for those over 40 years of age, or our Ancient Multi Mens and Ancient Multi Mens 40 formulas.