Vitamins VS Multivitamins

3 bowls of vitamin capsules

Vitamins & Multivitamins 

Nowadays everyone takes some kind of supplement or vitamin. Most healthy people take adequate nutrition from diet alone and could be over supplementing. However, people may take many individual vitamins or a single multivitamin depending on their choices and needs.

Multivitamins

Healthy individuals can typically get all of their required vitamins and minerals from a nutritious, well-balanced diet. However, for people who may not get all of their nutrition from food or have less absorptive abilities, multivitamins are one method to consume a vitamin.

Pros

Opting to take multivitamin tablets to get adequate vitamins and minerals has many benefits:

  • Easy - A multivitamin is one concentrated pill with many vitamins and minerals in a single dose. Taking a single vitamin is simpler than having multiple vitamins.
  • Cheaper - It can be cheaper to buy one good valued multivitamin than a dozen of individual good quality vitamins.
  • Good coverage - Commonplace multivitamins usually contain 10 to 20 different vitamins and minerals which include vitamin A, C, D, E, K, B vitamins, folic acid, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and biotin. Most multivitamins make sure you receive an overall coverage of good nutrients without extreme dosages.

Cons

As easy and affordable as multivitamins can be, some disadvantages exist making a multivitamin not an ideal choice for everyone.

  • Vitamin deficiency - Multivitamins are not the best choice to fulfil the vitamin deficiency of an individual. Vitamin deficiencies typically need higher dosages to resolve the issue quickly. Multivitamins usually contain fewer dosages of several vitamins in contrast to a high dosage of a single nutrient.
  • Difficult to individualize - It can be more difficult to pick the right multivitamin if you are looking for one that consists of specific vitamins.

Individual Vitamins

Supplementing with an all-encompassing multivitamin is a good option, but supplementing with individual vitamins may be required for some people. Different conditions depending on individuals' needs may require individual vitamins supplementations.

Some of the common mineral supplements prescribed are:

Iron

Iron deficiency is one of the very common mineral deficiencies.

A doctor would recommend supplements to treat this deficiency that causes anaemia. Iron deficiency is also associated with restless leg syndrome, thinning hair, and Candida infection. On the other hand, high levels of iron can cause toxicity, so be cautious not to exceed the recommended dosage.

Magnesium

Magnesium has a beneficial laxative effect and boosts a good night's sleep.

There are a variety of different magnesium salts with different absorptions, and your doctor will prescribe the best one for you depending on your needs.

Fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins prescribed together are:

Folic Acid

Doctors recommend taking folate supplements before and during early pregnancy to minimize the risk of birth defects and congenital disabilities.

Lack of this supplement is also associated with a specific form of anaemia, often accompanied by vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is usually prescribed in high doses to treat pernicious anaemia, which forms when your immune system attacks the stomach cells that produce the factor which is needed for vitamin B12 absorption.

Vitamin B6

B6 is a popular vitamin among women with premenstrual tension and people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Vitamin C

The deficiency of vitamin C can cause scurvy. Vitamin C is one of the most popular essential vitamin supplements consumed in high doses to enhance the immune systems. As a water-soluble vitamin, it's safe, but long-term usage in high doses can cause indigestion.

Vitamin D

This is recommended especially during winters when people don't get enough Ultraviolet light to synthesize their supplies.

Pros

Benefits associated with taking an individual vitamin include:

  • Better for deficiencies - Most people having vitamin deficiencies are recommended an individual vitamin. Common deficiencies that need vitamin supplementation include vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, and magnesium.
  • Simplicity - When you are just taking one supplement of an individual vitamin, you know exactly what you are getting and how much. 
  • Address increased needs - An individual vitamin lets people address that need without interrupting the balance of other nutrients like pregnant women need more folate, babies require vitamin D, and those lacking sun exposure also need vitamin D.

Cons

Individual vitamin supplementation is usually for a particular population. Several cons are there making these types of vitamins not suitable for everyone:

  • Expensive - One good quality vitamin can be expensive which is not feasible for everyone. 
  • Complicated - Individual vitamin supplements usually have a higher concentration of the vitamin. Taking multiple individual vitamins of high concentrations can prompt unwanted complications in the body.
  • Over supplementation/toxicity - Some vitamins have upper limits which means consuming more than the upper limit may result in toxicity, which can be very dangerous. Iron and fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K are the most common vitamins where mist toxicities are seen.

Take Away

There are several factors to look into when comparing individual vitamin supplements and multivitamins. Most of the time healthy individuals get enough vitamins and minerals from diet alone. If people want to take a supplement, a multivitamin is the best option. Individual vitamins should only be for those who are deficient in specific nutrients and taken only after a consultation with a doctor.