I have always wondered a lot about multivitamins - what vitamins and minerals do they include? Why do they include them? Is there some sort of synergistic approach? Is vitamin deficiency really that big of a deal and if so how does a multivitamin aid in preventing such deficiencies? How do I know what brand to go with? Do they really work? Since I was little, my dad has taught me to take my vitamins before going to school as a good habit and to promote healthiness. I grew up having taken gummy bear vitamins and Flintstones’ vitamins which were delicious but now I am taking a men’s daily multivitamin. Why am I even taking this pill in the first place? Part of the reason seems out of habit and well the other part I guess is because I want to be super healthy. Will taking it each day allow me to eat junk food and still be healthy? What about all the buzz in the news these days about clincal studies on multivitamins? When I picked this topic I wanted to learn more about how supplements aid to eating a balanced-diet, because after seeing the Disney Pixar film “WALL-E,” I was intrigued by the concept of eventually eliminating solid foods, and as society becomes more and more advanced, eventually just popping a handful of vitamins and drinking some sort of super meal replacement type shake. Will vitamins take over one day? It seems as though more and more supplements are debuting on the market as average age increases and we rely more and more on medication. I began thinking that if multivitamins can provide necessary daily nutrients and solid foods also provide the same nutrients, then wouldn’t it be cheaper to cut out an expensive steak and take a vitamin along with some sort of steak-like protein shake? In the movie, the main character, WALL-E, a small waste collecting robot, comes across a giant spaceship which serves as a present day cruise ship for people of the future. Sadly, because of technology and medical advancements in providing the body with the nutrients it needs in the most efficient way, the vacationers on this futuristic cruise were all overweight and used electric carts to navigate around. I imagine this made sense because technology is supposed to make our lives easier and while not needing to walk and relying on super dietary shakes seems efficient, these vacationers lost the best part of eating solid foods, the taste, and aren’t getting any exercise! Can multivitamins be combined to create super shakes of the future? And so I am off. I want to know as much as I can about the multivitamins I am consuming. Let’s start from the ground and work our way up. What really is a multivitamin? A multivitamin is a dietary supplement with vitamins, minerals, and additional nourishing components. They are acknowledged by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is the United Nations’ authority on food standards, as a category of food. In the United States, a multivitamin is “considered a supplement containing three of more vitamins and minerals and each is included at a dose below the tolerable upper level” as specified by the Food and Drug Board.
Who can multivitamins benefit? Even though there is some controversial evidence that multivitamins do not prevent heart disease, cancer, or any other potential problems, there are certain groups of people who could benefit from taking a multivitamin. Groups that could benefit from taking a multivitamin include people with poor nutrition, childbearing women, vegetarians, and certainly the elderly. Multivitamins are usually targeted for different groups of people, because different age groups and genders have different dietary needs. Contrary to popular belief, children do not really need enormous amounts of vitamins and minerals even though they are in a constant and delicate state of growth. This is because a lot of children’s foods are already fortified with vitamins and minerals which means as long as they are eating a well-balanced diet, the benefits from consuming a...
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