Vitamins and minerals are essential for proper functioning of our body. If you do not get proper nutrition from your diet, it is better to take multivitamins. Multivitamins are supplements, generally taken in the form of a pill, which contains a combination of vitamins and minerals that are required by our body. However, they do not prevent chronic diseases.
Ideally, you should eat well balanced diet and get all the nutrition from natural sources. You should eat wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low fat dairy products. However, it is found that even if you eat all of these, there is every possibility that you will not get full quota of vitamins and minerals from these food items. Taking multi vitamins does not hurt.
Now the question arises, which type of vitamins should you take every day? A basic multi vitamin is all you need to take. It should contain 100 percent of daily value of most of the essential vitamins and minerals. While choosing a supplement you should consider your age group. If you are a woman who is planning to become pregnant, you should choose prenatal supplement with higher amount of folic acid, zinc, iron and calcium. You should take diet rich in iron, along with vitamin C, which helps the body in absorbing iron.
People above 50 years of age should take seniors formula. It contains extra vitamin D, vitamin B12, and calcium, though older people do not need extra iron. Women above 50 are more likely to develop bone-weakening osteoporosis. Vitamin D aids in absorption of calcium. So look for the supplement that combines the two. Doctors advocate those above 50 to take B12 supplements. Vitamins B, especially B12 play a key role in the functioning of brain, and strengthen the immune system. Vitamin B level drops in the body as we age.
Lycopene, lutein and other carotenoids are present in multivitamins, but you should still eat lots of fruits and vegetables to get optimal amounts of these compounds. Always consult a doctor before starting multivitamins. He or she will be able to help you in choosing the multivitamin, which suits you best.