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How Do You Know If Multivitamins Are Working?

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: July 20, 2021

While some people claim that they can feel their "vitality overflowing," the majority of us might not know if our dietary supplements are working.

So can you feel a multivitamin at work? If so, what should you look out for?

In this article, we'll dive a little deeper into what to expect, how to find a good multivitamin, and much more.

Can You Feel A Multivitamin Working?

a man's hand filled with supplement pills

No, it's doubtful that you will be able to feel certain vitamins working.

Multivitamins are not intended to have a direct and measurable effect.

They are more of an investment in your ongoing good health than a quick fix.

While those that are particularly in tune with their body or some super-spiritual yogi might be able to feel their bodies’ chakras coming into line, for most people, the general health boost won't be one you think.

As Dietary Supplements, What Should Multivitamins Do?

man smiling while showing his biceps, and a heart plushy on a couple's hand

A good multivitamin should top up your daily intake of all the most essential vitamins.

In addition, it should contain adequate doses of fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin D and antioxidant vitamins like Vitamin C to provide you with the recommended daily allowance.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids in maintaining bone health by regulating calcium and phosphorus levels through proper absorption. It also balances the immune function and aids in strengthening it.

Health Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the water-soluble vitamins responsible for faster wound healing and bone formation and may reduce risk of heart disease. It also helps prevent neural tube defects if taken with B Vitamin by pregnant women.

By taking a multivitamin, you make it easier to get your recommended dietary allowance of essential micronutrients. In addition, it means that you don't have to track certain nutrients like amino acids and agonize over your diet to source them from natural foods.

"The primary role of a multivitamin is to fill nutritional gaps and make sure people get their daily allowance of under-consumed nutrients like vitamins A, C, D, E and K, calcium, magnesium, dietary fiber, choline, and potassium."  - Andrea Wong, Senior Vice President (Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition)

What Can You Expect To Feel From a Multivitamin

man in gym clothes thinking, and a stack of different medicine pills

As we mentioned above, you shouldn't expect to feel much from a multivitamin.

However, if you have a deficiency of a particular vitamin or mineral, or let's say, you lack calcium. You can expect the benefit of getting more calcium from a calcium supplement, right?

So, if you were recommended specific vitamins and minerals to help you manage one specific complaint, then you would expect to see a benefit in that regard.

By upping your vitamin D intake, you could expect to improve your mood and cognitive function and help your body absorb calcium to improve bone strength [1].

Also, water-soluble supplementation like taking folic acid daily can give you more energy by improving your red blood cell count [2].

How Can You Tell Good Vitamin Supplements From Bad Ones?

woman holding up two different bottles

Vitamin supplements and supplement manufacturers talk a huge game.

I tend to run with the rule that if they over-promise, they will probably under-deliver.

There is a wealth of scientific evidence on how taking vitamins and taking supplements can significantly stimulate brain function and improve health conditions [3] but be wary of snake oil salespeople.

Look for companies that base their claims on modesty and science.

For example, "Vitamin K is known to aid in the body's process of blood clotting which can help to heal wounds and is thought to aid in the reduction of skin complaints such as stretch marks or spider veins."

If the vitamin makes more outrageous claims such as "will give you gorgeous healthy skin 100% and everyone will want to smooch you," then it's safe to say you should probably avoid that one.

Some of the best multivitamins out there:

What To Look Out For In A Daily Multivitamin

medical person holding up a pill while looking at it

According to nutritionists, the ideal daily multivitamin should include, at the minimum, seven vitamins and some minerals.

These include vitamins A, D, E, C, K, and the minerals potassium and zinc.

You should also make sure it has iodine, a mineral often overlooked or ignored by some manufacturers.

It is vital to the correct functioning of major organs like your heart, thyroid, brain, and others. At least three minerals, magnesium, calcium, and zinc, are also needed.

Calcium is for proper muscle contraction, and zinc is vital to our immune system.

Taking magnesium can ensure healthy blood pressure levels and an excellent immune system.

Additionally, these three minerals help with energy production while iron supports red blood cell formation.

It is equally essential that you look at the labels and see 100% Daily Value (DV).

Other supplements that contain 500% DV should be avoided as this might be overkill when you account for the vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat.

Are There Any Side Effects With Taking Multivitamins?

man about to vomit, and a woman in constipation

Yes, there are side effects in taking multivitamins like other medications.

Most of these are common and manageable which may disappear for a few weeks.

They include stomach irritability due to constipation. It may also trigger irregular heart rate, nausea, vomiting, and loose stools.

However, improper intake may cause persistent worrisome reactions.

Studies show toxicity in Vitamin E may heighten the risk of bleeding. Also, intake in high doses may cause muscle weakness, fatigue, and diarrhea.

Another health study suggests that taking beta carotene, a provitamin A carotenoid, may be taken in large doses but may pose skin discoloration over long-term use [4].

So, multivitamins by themselves are harmless and will potentially keep you in good health. But, it would be best if you take them according to the recommended dosage or as prescribed by your doctor.

Do Multivitamins Work Safely for Everyday Use?

Multivitamins can work safely for everyday use.

Most multivitamins may not be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but taking no more than the recommended dosage of these vitamins at the best time that works for you helps maximize the beneficial effects.

So, whether you feel that the health claims of multivitamins are just in your head, or you get the actual experience of its stimulating effect, you take them because you want to put in every effort to protect your health.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

You can continue with your supplements or start today.

Multivitamins can be safe and effective to fill in the gaps of a poor nutritional diet and can create a good impact on your overall health.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11252849/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3309636/
  4. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=BetaCarotene

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