Do you take multivitamins? Do you know some multivitamin supplements also contain minerals? They are called MVM. What are these supplements used for? Do you need to take them?
What Are Multivitamin with Minerals Used For?
MVMs are taken for various reasons. Research studies have shown that MVMs benefit the body in several ways.
Supplementing Nutrient Intake
MVMs provide the body with the component vitamins and minerals. This is very useful when the diet does not meet the recommended daily intake. Note that taking MVMs may in some cases lead to an excess of certain vitamins or minerals, including vitamins A, niacin and folic acid, iron and zinc. This is more likely if you take MVMs more than once daily.
Promoting Health and Preventing Chronic Diseases
Specific MVMs can help people with some health problems. One study reported that a specially formulated MVM helped to slow vision loss in people with age-related macular degeneration. Other studies have reported an overall reduction of risk of diseases including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
More research is, however, needed to give more concrete evidence. There is also a challenge concerning the composition of multivitamin with minerals tested in the studies, with each study using different concentration of ingredients. This makes it hard to determine the specific combinations and quantities of supplements that work.
Do You Need to Take MVM Supplements?
While taking MVMs can help you supplement vitamins and minerals, they cannot take the place of eating a balanced variety of foods. For people on specific diets such as vegans, MVMs can help to provide the minerals and vitamins that may be absent in the diet. MVMs are also recommended for ill or recovering people and those having certain medical conditions.
Some groups of people can also benefit by taking MVMs.
- Women planning to get pregnant need 400 mcg of folic acid per day to reduce risks of brain and spinal defects in newborn babies. They can get this by eating fortified foods or taking MVMs.
- Pregnant women need iron supplements for their health and the health of their unborn babies. Healthcare providers may recommend prenatal multivitamin with minerals.
- Infants, especially those not breastfed need vitamin D supplementation. Breastfeeding infants should get 400 IU of vitamin D per day; non-breastfeeding infants should drink no less than 1 quart per day of formula fortified with vitamin D.
- Postmenopausal women require additional calcium and vitamin D to strengthen their bones and reduce risk of bone fractures.
- People aged 50 and above require vitamin B12 supplementation because their digestive systems are unable to absorb adequate nutrients from food. They can get this from fortified foods or supplements such as MVMs.
How to Choose Suitable MVM Supplements
With many MVMs available, it can be difficult to know the right one for you. For this reason, it makes sense to talk to your healthcare provider for guidance and recommendation. Your healthcare provider will work with you to choose a product designed for your age, sex and other conditions such as pregnancy. Note that some supplements may be inadequate or have an excess of some vitamins or minerals. Watch out for low amounts of magnesium and calcium, and excess iron and vitamin A.
Precautions for Taking MVM Supplements
Like most medicines, you should let the doctor or pharmacist know of any allergies that you may have, including those of peanut or soy. This declaration will help the medic provide you with multivitamin with minerals products that will not harm you. Seek emergency medical help in case you notice any symptoms of an allergy, such as breathing difficulty, hives, and swelling of lips, tongue, throat or face.
- It is also advisable to discuss your medical history with your doctor before you start taking MVMs. Share information about digestive problems such as colitis and ulcers, liver disease as well as use and abuse of alcohol, etc.
- Don’t forget to let him/her know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before you start taking the MVMs.
- If your MVM contains potassium, avoid use of salt substitutes. And if you are on a low-salt diet, let your doctor know beforehand.
- Take only the recommended or prescribed dose with a full glass of water. Never exceed this dose. Note that overdosing on vitamins A, D, E and K can have life-threatening toxic effects. Overdosing on some minerals can also have serious side effects.
- Never take these supplements with milk or other dairy products, calcium supplements or antacids containing calcium, as calcium can hamper absorption of some of the minerals in MVMs.
Tell the doctor other medications that you are taking, including herbal medicine, OTC and nutritional supplements. MVMs products may interact with or affect the working of some medications, especially the following:
- Sulfa drugs
- Heart or blood pressure medicines
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, indomethacin, naproxen, celecoxib, meloxicam, etc.