Why everyone could benefit from taking a multivitamin
In an ideal world we would get all the nutrition we need from a healthy diet; after all, our grandparents did. Fresh, unprocessed foods offer an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other valuable nutrients. However, in today’s modern world, there are many reasons why supplementing with a good quality multivitamin can lead to optimal health and wellbeing.
Modern farming practices
Modern, intensive, agricultural methods are depleting the nutrients in our soil. A study concluded that we would have to eat eight oranges today to consume the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have obtained from just one. Another example of nutrient depletion is Selenium, which is now deficient in most UK soil. The Selenium content in food is closely related to the soil it has been grown in.
Our busy, modern, lifestyles can demand an increased need for nutrients. Stress, lack of sleep, and the amount of toxins and pollutants that we are now exposed to have increased dramatically. These all put a burden on our bodies, and may lead to nutrient depletion over time.
We are living longer than ever before, and as we age the body finds it harder to absorb nutrients and processes start to slow down. Malabsorption can also be an issue for people with impaired digestion, as many nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine. So, if your digestive system is not working as well as it could do, then you may be at risk of deficiency.
Many medications are also considerable offenders of lowered nutrient absorption rate and nutrient depletion.
What you are eating could be causing decreased absorption of minerals in the body. For example, large amounts of caffeine and tannins in tea and coffee, and phytates in wheat bran and legumes, can impair Calcium and Iron absorption in the intestines.
Although vegetarian and vegan diets can be extremely healthy, they must be supplemented with vitamin B12. This vitamin is only found in meat and animal produce. Low levels can cause a wide range of problems, especially if left untreated. Other nutrients that should be considered are Iron, Vitamin D and Iodine.
The sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D is only present in small amounts in oily fish and eggs. The very best source is the sun. Our lives are lived inside much more than they used to be, but our need for vitamin D is still the same - meaning many people who work inside are at risk of low Vitamin D levels.
So we can see why, even though a healthy diet and some sun exposure are key players in good health, we could do with a helping hand to keep our nutrient levels optimal. Taking a good quality daily multivitamin is a great way to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need in order to stay healthy and keep well.
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About Francesca Lancaster
Francesca Lancaster is a Nutritional Therapist based in Northwood, Middlesex. Francesca qualified at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in Naturopathic Nutrition, and is registered with BANT and CNHC.