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Multivitamins are supplements that help provide nutrition for the body. They can help boost a nutritionally-deficient diet, or provide extra nutrients to people with certain vitamin deficiencies. It is important to pay careful attention to the real benefits of multivitamins in contrast to the sometimes overreaching claims of vitamin manufacturers. While the potential benefits of multivitamins certainly can help improve health, they cannot usually make up for extremely poor eating habits or serve as a cure-all for health problems.
The benefits of multivitamins depend largely on what type of vitamin is being taken. There are multivitamin formulas for people of all ages, for just men or just women, or even for expecting mothers. Choosing the right multivitamin may depend on personal vitamin intake, which in turn depends on diet. For people that eat a healthy, balanced diet, a multivitamin may be unnecessary or even provide a dangerously excessive amount of certain nutrients.
For vegetarians and vegans, the benefits of multivitamins can be numerous. Although there are many non-meat sources of proteins, vitamins, and minerals, some of these may be time-consuming to prepare or difficult to find at a regular grocery store or restaurant. Taking a daily multivitamin can help provide iron, selenium, magnesium, and several vitamins that may be harder for vegetarians and vegans to get through regular diet. Be certain to choose a vegetarian formula, however, as many multivitamins contain animal proteins.
Pregnant women can often derive some benefits of multivitamins that have been formulated specifically for their condition. Calcium, folic acid, and vitamin A are frequently the main ingredients in pre-natal vitamins. Women that are menstruating may sometimes benefit from multivitamins with extra iron, as menstruation depletes the body's natural stores of iron. Older women often are prescribed vitamins that contain extra calcium and vitamin D, to promote bone density.
Regular exercisers may benefit from multivitamins in some cases. Some studies show that certain vitamins and minerals help with muscle repair, meaning that a good supply of vitamins can help the body recover from workouts and even injuries faster. Certain multivitamins for weight training also contain a heavy dose of protein, to help build muscle faster.
It is very important to note that multivitamins are not a replacement for a healthy diet. Living on potato chips, cheeseburgers, and soda can be extremely detrimental to health even with regular use of multivitamins. Eating a varied diet that contains lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein is the most frequently recommended way to ensure an adequate supply of vitamins for the body. Taking multivitamins may help keep nutritional levels high, but only when used as a supplement to an already fairly healthy diet.
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