There are a handful of questions about diet and nutrition that I have been asked again and again, including whether taking a multi-vitamin is worthwhile or necessary.
The answer isn't a definitive 'yes' or 'no'.
Instead lies somewhere between 'probably' and 'it depends' as each one of us has different needs, circumstances and preferences, let alone the changing requirements that are linked to our general health, age, activity levels and body mass.
The reality is almost everyone may benefit from a food supplement
The human body uses every nutrient in a multitude of ways, some nutrients have become best known for a specific role, such as the B Vitamins and the creation of energy or vitamin C and the immune system.
Whilst a varied diet supplies all the nutrients, many people choose to take supplements for a distinct purpose, be that energy, bone health or skin care.
When it comes to the multivitamin complex, I often hear it referred to as source of nutrients that fills in the gaps for when diet is a little lacking. Or as an insurance policy, taken 'just in case'. The reasoning seems valid to me but I like to think of a multi as a foundation and often describe in terms of clothing.
Let me explain
When we get dressed, there are several obvious factors that guide our choice. These include the weather, whether we are working or not, who we are seeing, how long we will be outside, or sitting or walking. Each one is going to have some influence on what we end up wearing, but the chances are that whatever we choose we start with the underwear.
Your multi is the same- it's where you start. It's the do-all on top of which we layer the individual and personal choices that are dependent on our own needs.
A good quality multi offers most of the nutrients that are associated with energy, the immune system, skin and bone health, brain function and so on. It doesn't have the same immediately identifiable role that individual specific supplements may have, but like a good and varied diet, those nutrients are the foundation. What you may put on top is up to you.
Food supplements should not be used instead of a varied balanced diet & healthy lifestyle.