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How to choose them for yourself

Multivitamin and mineral supplements: how to choose them yourself

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Good nutrition supports the smooth functioning of our body and keeps us healthy. While it can be difficult to get all of the essential nutrients from most diets, multivitamin supplements can help fill in these nutritional gaps. Designed as a dietary supplement, multivitamin supplements provide adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals.

As our eating habits become more urban, nutrient deficiencies are becoming a growing health problem in India. The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia has increased sharply in Indian women, while more than 70% of the population in India is vitamin D deficient.

Inadequate vitamin B12 levels are also present in at least 47% of the population.

The intake of essential micronutrients is also insufficient in the elderly population, as a significant proportion are deficient in vitamin B1.

Prolonged nutrient deficiencies can increase health risks, lowering your immunity and leading to various medical conditions such as fatigue, osteoporosis, and broken bones, and also exacerbate the risk of chronic diseases.

Multivitamins are best for those who may have limited food choices, are on a restrictive diet, or have certain health conditions. Pregnant women and the elderly are also recommended to add supplements to compensate for any deficiencies.

Several people, such as vegetarians, vegans, and people recovering from illness, are also likely to be deficient, and consuming certain multivitamins can help.

Can Multivitamins Protect You From Disease?

The benefits of supplementation have been popularized in recent years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are studies showing the benefits of adding helpful vitamins like vitamins C, D, B12 and zinc to the diet. Therefore, an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is crucial for optimal functioning of the immune system. If you’re concerned about suffering from seasonal or contagious illnesses, adding a multivitamin to your daily diet can keep you healthy.

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Other benefits of multivitamin supplements

– Adds antioxidants to your diet that help reduce the risk of certain diseases and conditions
-Increases the energy level
-Improves cognitive function and brain health
– Provides additional nutrition during pregnancy
– Helps support good health in general

How to choose the best supplement

A doctor can help you determine which one best suits your needs, or select a multivitamin supplement with added minerals such as zinc, chromium, or selenium. For example, women of childbearing age may need more iron and folic acid, while older adults may need higher doses of calcium and B vitamins.

A doctor can also help you determine the right type, dosage, and duration of multivitamin needed to fill the nutritional gaps, since some vitamins tend to be stored in the body while others need to be continually replaced. It is important to take dietary supplements according to the prescribed doses and complete their durations, since improper use can lead to harmful effects.

Dietary supplements are not one size fits all. Before adding them to the diet, a doctor should be consulted to help you choose a supplement that is appropriate for your age and needs.

The author is Head and Director of the Department of Internal Medicine in Medanta, Gurgaon.

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