Multivitamin Diet is one that includes the use of prescribed or recommended multivitamin supplements in order to secure an individual from developing any nutritional deficiencies. A multivitamin is defined as any commercial/non-commercial preparation that contains more than one useful vitamin. It is best prescribed by the registered medical practitioner and may be available over the counter in pill, capsule or liquid suspension (suitable for children). Consuming a well-balanced diet is the best way one can ingest all the necessary nutrients that sustain healthful living. In spite of this, it has become a growing trend to include multivitamins in some form or the other, as in most situations the benefits of their dietary inclusion seems to outweigh any possible adverse health risks.
Guidelines for Multivitamin Diet
1. Whether a person is taking any dietary supplements or not, the importance of a healthy diet consisting of foods from various food groups - whole grain cereals, beans and legumes, vegetables and fruits, nuts and healthy fats and modest amounts of skinless poultry, eggs, fish and lean meats if non-vegetarian, cannot be discounted.
2. Selecting a multivitamin under the Physician’s guidance is intended towards delivering ‘complete’ vitamin package to the individual that would be able fully to meet requirements.
3. Vitamin D is one of the chief nutrients that need to be given special attention among others. Ongoing research studies report that obtaining some additional Vitamin D from external sources may help lower the risk of colon and breast cancers. At least 800-1000 IU of this nutrient is needed and this means a Vitamin D supplement in addition to the multivitamin may be required.
4. One must exercise caution while choosing a good multivitamin. As a rule, other than Vitamin D (depending on individual needs) no other vitamins must be ingested in mega-doses. Vitamin A mega doses have been found to have detrimental health effects, as is also the case with some other vitamins.
5. Folic Acid is another vitamin that is needed in persons with special demands. Women trying to conceive and through the pregnancy are advised folic acid supplements to prevent the risk of neural tube defects in the newborns. Folic acid intake also reduces risk of specific types of cancers like colon and breast cancers. A good folic acid intake on a regular basis is associated with reduced threat of cardiovascular disease.
6. For persons living hectic lifestyles with erratic eating patterns, a multivitamin becomes more of a necessity to meet daily requirements. However, dependence on pills rather than wholesome, nourishing foods is an incorrect approach.
7. Taking a multivitamin everyday becomes important for those reported to have a poor or compromised nutritional status, but for a person in good health, with proper disciplined eating habits, a multivitamin might not even be necessary unless advised otherwise.
The best way forward would be to eat a well balanced, nutrient rich diet and a suitable multivitamin pill, as directed by the Physician, in such a manner that it supplements the diet, which is what its true function is. A supplement only provides that which is lacking in the diet, it cannot be used to replace the diet itself.