Multivitamins are like the undefeated champion of the supplement world. They’ve been around for almost 100 years, are offered in a wide range of varieties and brands, and are the most commonly used supplement. And their popularity keeps on growing! So…what are multivitamins? And what do multivitamins do for you?! Well, they’re great at plugging in nutrient deficiencies caused by poor eating habits, but there’s so much more! So sit tight — we’re going to tell you all about what multivitamins are and what multivitamins do.
What are multivitamins?
Multivitamins are supplements that contain a blend of vitamins, minerals, and at times other ingredients. There’s no standard as to what’s always included, but they tend to contain common nutrients that people often lack getting through their diet.
They can be found in a ton of different forms — including tablets, capsules, chewables, gummies. liquids and powders. And that also means you’ve got flavor options (if you’re into that kind of thing). We’ve seen everything from fruit flavors to chocolate. Basically, there’s something for everyone’s taste and lifestyle.
And the options don’t end there. The formulas are often tailored to sex, age group or specific nutritional need (for example, prenatal or postmenopausal). Be sure to select a formula that fits your needs for the best results.
Approximately one third of the U.S. population takes a multivitamin, and they’re slightly more popular with women than men. Use also increases with age. By 71 years old, 48% of women and 43% of men report taking one.(1)
Aside from multivitamins, you may sometimes see them named or referred to as multis, multiples or just vitamins. Here at Swisse, we like to think of ours as the ultimate multivitamins. Learn more about our formulas here. We’ve got one for men and one for women.(2)
It’s What’s Inside That Counts
What do multivitamins contain?
Since there’s no standard for what is in multivitamins, we can’t give you a definitive answer. But we can tell you that MOST multivitamins contain all or some of the following vitamins and minerals…
This is essential for breaking your food down and turning it into energy. Eggs, fish, cheese and select cereals are a great source of it.
While widely known for boosting the function of the immune system, your body also needs vitamin C to support the growth of your bones, skin and muscles. You can get Vitamin C naturally through oranges, grapefruits, brussels sprouts and tomatoes.
Vitamin D supports strong and healthy bones, teeth and muscles. A great way to increase it is through small doses of sun exposure, but it can also be found in fatty fish and egg yolks.
An antioxidant powerhouse, Vitamin E helps protect your cells from damage caused by toxins. Good natural sources of it include sunflower seeds and nuts.
Calcium is crucial to the health of your bones and teeth. Plus, it helps your muscles move properly and your nerves carry messages throughout the body. Dairy foods, such as milk and cheese, are excellent sources of it.
This is imperative for muscle health, regulating blood sugar and helping produce proteins and DNA. It’s found in a range of foods including almonds, cashews, avocados and dark chocolate.
Necessary for immune system functionality and healing wounds, zinc also gives you the ability to taste and smell. Lentils, cashews, oysters and pork are great natural sources of it.
Iron provides your body with healthy red blood cells that cause oxygen to travel to your tissues. You can get through your diet by eating beans, lentils and certain cereals.
Potassium is essential to healthy kidney functionality and keeping your blood pressure in check. Bananas and leafy greens are an excellent source of it.(3)
Those are just a baseline for what vitamins are in multivitamins. Consider the following “bonus” ingredients which (when included) are evidence of an extremely good multivitamin…
This helps enhance immune function, produce red blood cells, prevent cell damage and support eye health. Vitamin A is found in liver, eggs, orange fruits and vegetables and more.
Thiamin supports the growth, development and function of cells. Foods that are packed with it include legumes, pork, brown rice and certain cereals.(4)
Breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates are the primary job of riboflavin. It’s also hugely involved in maintaining your energy supply. Cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and brussels sprouts) are a great source of it.(5)
Known as another important part of cell development and energy production, niacin can be found in poultry, fish and certain nuts.(6)
Selenium is hugely important to the health of your immune system. It also neutralizes free radicals in the body (which helps prevent oxidative damage) and is vital for reproduction. You can get it naturally by eating Brazil nuts, fish, tofu, and more.(7)
Some multivitamins also contain ingredients other than vitamins and minerals — such as herbs and amino acids. These provide boosted, well-rounded benefits for the individual.(8)
Pssst….Our multivitamins contain everything we just mentioned (and more)! A single mighty tablet is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and unique adaptogenic herbs. Plus, they’re available in separate tailor-made formulas for men and women. Check them out here.
You Could Say They’re Multi-Talented
What do multivitamins do for the body? What are multivitamins used for?
The primary role of a multivitamin is to help bridge any nutritional gaps that may be missing in your diet. Some of the most common gaps are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, fiber and magnesium.(9) There are several signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, but the only way to really find out is through blood work.
Oh, and there’s SO much more that multivitamins help with! Aside from filling those gaps, multivitamins are believed to support the following:
When you get all the vitamins and minerals that you need, your body doesn’t have to work as hard. This can erase feelings of fatigue, and in turn give a boost to your energy levels.
Getting the right vitamins and minerals is essential for healthy brain functionality. Certain studies have even confirmed that a daily multivitamin has the ability to boost your mood and emotional well-being.
Reduced stress and anxiety
Most multivitamins include B vitamins which are helpful in supporting the nervous system — and a strong nervous system is effective in being able to fight stress and anxiety!
Improved short-term memory
There was also a recent study that showed B vitamins play a vital role in how your short-term memory functions. This boost is especially helpful for older individuals.
Vitamins C and E are found in most multivitamins, and they’re essential in supporting healthy glowing skin. They help fight damage from free radicals and encourage the body to produce collagen.
Your immune system is directly affected by vitamins as well. Getting enough vitamin D and E can help protect your cells from damage.
And that’s not even close to being it. Since multivitamins are typically full of a lot of ingredients, the benefits can truly be endless. Plus, there are constantly studies being done to see what other important roles a daily multivitamin can play.
Our multivitamins provide complete nutritional support for your optimal health. Clinical studies suggest that our Women’s Multivitamin helps support increases in energy level and mood, and that our Men’s Multivitamin helps improve mental alertness and helps increase energy levels and mood.*(13)
Before we go, we do want to mention that you should always aim to get nutrients from food first. Think of multivitamins as an amazing backup plan for any of those off days…or weeks…or months (it’s ok!). They shouldn’t be something you completely rely on — rather something that gives you an extra all-around boost. And always remember to consult your doctor if you have any questions on your specific needs, doses, etc.!