Ideally, we should meet our recommended nutritional needs from the food we eat. In reality, this is rarely the case. This is where multivitamins and supplements come in. Manufacturers make them to give us specific minerals, vitamins, and nutritional content. They usually come as a pill or some other easily-consumed form. Taking a pill to balance out our nutritional intake is convenient. However, how much do you know about taking vitamins vs supplements?
This is why more than half of all Americans take some form of vitamin or supplement daily. The problem is knowing which type is best for you.
It’s a billion-dollar market that’s flooded with products containing different ingredients that promise different results.
What most people don’t fully understand is the difference between multivitamins and supplements. Here is a review of the differences between the two, as well as the cons of taking vitamins vs supplements.
The Difference between Multivitamins and Supplements
You can buy multivitamins in many easy-to-consume forms. They come as pills, powders, capsules, or liquids. They contain at least thirteen different vitamins and sixteen minerals. Multivitamin formulas help you meet all your daily vitamin requirements.
Supplements also come in easy-to-consume forms. The main difference is that they provide specific nutritional content that you don’t get naturally in your diet. They aren’t just vitamins. Supplements can provide any nutrients, either extracted from food sources or synthetically produced.
Therefore, supplements are much more versatile than multivitamins. You can use them to get the vitamins your diet is lacking, as well as meet all your other nutritional needs.
The main reason a lot of people take multivitamins is the convenience of getting so many vitamins in one pill. But this also comes with some drawbacks.
The Cons of Taking Multivitamins vs. Individual Supplements
As mentioned earlier, supplements are more versatile than multivitamins. They offer a wider range of benefits and target more specific needs. Here are some of the cons of taking multivitamins vs. individual supplements:
You Probably Don’t Need All Those Vitamins
The main drawback to taking a multivitamin is that you probably don’t lack all the vitamins included in the product you’re taking.
If you identify certain vitamins your diet lacks, or if your doctor tells you that you’re deficient in certain vitamins, you should only take those vitamins.
It’s easy to assume that taking a multivitamin helps you cover more bases, but it’s not the case. There is evidence to show that taking too many vitamins can be bad for your health.
Supplements allow you to take only the vitamins or nutrients you lack. You have much more control over the amount you take when the it’s not combined with other vitamins.
Excess Vitamins Can Be Harmful
People categorize vitamins into two groups; water-soluble and fat-soluble. Excess water-soluble vitamins pass through your body without issue. But the fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E and K, are harder for your body to expel.
Some vitamins are potentially toxic if an excess amount builds up in your body over time. Pregnant women, the elderly, and some other sensitive groups need to be very careful when taking multivitamins due to this risk of toxicity.
If you take a multivitamin and also get vitamins from your diet, it’s easy to exceed the daily recommended amount. This is another reason why taking a supplement containing only the vitamins and nutrients you need is a safer option.
Multivitamins Cost More
When you take more vitamins than you need, you pay for more than you need.
It’s always difficult to put a price on your health. However, multivitamins and supplements do come with a price tag. Find a supplement containing only the nutritional requirements you need. It costs less than a multivitamin containing 13+ vitamins, some of which your body won’t retain.
Read more about nutrition and wellness to understand how to best protect your health.