Benefits of Daily Vitamins: What Does the Science Say?
Americans love their daily vitamins. The vitamin and nutritional supplement industry pulled in over $31 billion in 2018. The Council for Responsible Nutrition's 2019 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements found that 77 percent of Americans regularly use vitamin and mineral supplements. Americans between the ages of 35 to 54 reported the highest use of dietary supplements, with fully 81 percent taking at least one supplement daily.
Daily vitamin supplements are obviously popular. But does science support the daily dosing of multivitamins and minerals? And what are the proven benefits of vitamins?
Vitamins and Minerals Your Body Needs
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the body to function. They play a role in producing hormones and enzymes, boost your immunity, and keep your body's organs and nervous system working properly. These nutrients are also essential for the maintenance and regulation of bodily processes.
- Vitamin A: males 900 mcg and females 700 mcg
- B complex vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, biotin, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12): the dosages vary with the specific B vitamin taken.
- Vitamin C: males 90 mg and females 75 mg
- Vitamin D: (to age 70) males and females 15 mcg, 71 years or older 20 mcg
- Vitamin E: males and females 15 mg
- Vitamin K: males 120 mcg and females 90 mcg
Eating a balanced diet will usually supply all the vitamins your body needs. If you're like most people, you fall short of the nutrition you should get most days. If this is the case, multivitamin supplements can pick up the slack.
Some specific vitamins can be helpful in specific situations, such as during workouts and providing a boost in post-workout recovery. B complex vitamins and vitamins C and E are popular among those who take their workout routines seriously.
Minerals play an important role in keeping your body healthy. Minerals keep your muscles, bones, heart, and brain working properly. They are important in making hormones and enzymes. There are two types of minerals your body needs. The individual minerals and the recommended daily dosages for males and females over age 18 are detailed below.
Your body needs larger amounts of macrominerals than trace minerals.
- Calcium: adults to age 50 need 1,000 mg. Males age 51 to 70 need 1,000 mg. Females age 51 to 70 need 1,200 mg. All adults over 71 need 1,200 mg
- Sodium: males and females need less than 2,400 mg (roughly a teaspoon)
- Potassium: males 3,400 mg and females 2,600 mg
- Phosphorus: males and females 700 mcg
- Magnesium: males 400 to 420 mg and females 310 to 320 mg
- Chloride: there is no recommended dietary allowance for chloride. The average adult normally gets between 0.75 to 0.90 grams daily
- Sulfur: because normal intake of protein provides the body with the needed sulfur, there is no daily recommended dosage
Your body only needs a small amount of these trace minerals.
- Iron: males to age 50 need 8 mg, and females to age 50 need 18 mg. Adults over age 51 need 8 mg
- Copper: males and females over age 19 need 900 mcg
- Zinc: males 11 mg and females 8 mg
- Manganese: males 2.3 mg and females 1.8 mg
- Iodine: males and females 150 mcg
- Cobalt: males and females 3 to 4 mcg
- Selenium: males and females need 55 mcg
- Fluoride: males 4 mg and females 3 mg
Benefits of Vitamins and Minerals in Your Diet
The best way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs is through a healthy diet. In a perfect world, we'd all have access to the recommended seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. We'd lightly steam the veggies, of course, or just eat them raw to be sure we're getting all the nutrients they have to offer. We could have fish as the main course in a meal at least twice a week. There would be no avoidance of dairy products, and we'd snack on nuts and seeds to make sure we have healthy bones and teeth.
But this is not a perfect world, unfortunately.
In the hustle and bustle that is the fast-paced modern world, it is common for many of us to have meals "on the go" or to make a swing through the drive-thru or call for delivery rather than shopping for, preparing, and lightly steaming our own fresh vegetables and fruits seven times each day. Science says you can get the vitamins and minerals you need each day from the food you eat, but the realities of the 21st century make doing so an exception rather than a rule in our daily lives.
Luckily, we have a plethora of multivitamins and mineral supplements we can take to fill the gaps.
Do Daily Multivitamins Work?
When it comes to supplementary vitamins, different people have different approaches. Some like a multivitamin with minerals, and others prefer to put together their own vitamin routine with individual vitamin supplements. Which is best for you? Take a look at the pros and cons of each, then make your decision.
Multivitamin with Minerals
These are usually taken once per day.
- Requires taking only a single pill, capsule, or gummy
- Can be cheaper to purchase one multivitamin than multiple single vitamins
- Most multivitamins contain 10 to 20 different vitamins and minerals, giving good overall coverage of nutrients
- Not the best choice for treating vitamin deficiency, which requires higher dosages to address and resolve the problem
- Multivitamins are difficult to individualize. For example, not all contain iron, thus limiting your options if you require that mineral
These can be taken as a single dose or split into multiple doses.
- Simplifies dosing if you only need one or two supplements
- Better for addressing specific vitamin deficiency
- Allows for addressing the temporary imbalances
- Can be expensive
- Usually higher concentrations, making unwanted complications or side effects more likely
- Increases chances of surpassing upper limits of certain vitamins, leading to toxicity
The Benefits of Vitamins are Obvious
Before choosing which is best for you—a multivitamin or single-dose vitamin—take stock of your lifestyle and health conditions. Then run it all past your personal physician or registered dietician. When the decision is made, go for the best dietary supplements for your money. Check out the best-selling all-in-one daily vitamin pack MTS Nutrition Immortal.