What is a Complete Multivitamin?

J.M. Densing

A complete multivitamin is a dietary supplement, often in pill form, that contains essential vitamins and minerals. These substances are very important to support health and well-being because they are needed by the body to perform many functions. Multivitamins are often recommended to ensure that individuals get enough of these vital substances since it's difficult to acquire the recommended amounts of each through diet alone. This can be particularly important for those who may not eat an ideal diet.

Multivitamin supplements.
Multivitamin supplements.

Most multivitamins contain a range of vitamins and minerals that have been found to perform important functions within the body. In a typical supplement there will be 100 percent or less of the RDA, or recommended daily allowance, of each substance. Some types of complete multivitamins may also contain extra amounts of specific vitamins or minerals for particular purposes — extra B12 for additional energy, for example. To be considered a complete multivitamin, a supplement generally must also contain iron in addition to the other vitamins and minerals.

Multivitamin supplements should contain the B vitamins.
Multivitamin supplements should contain the B vitamins.

The minerals found in a complete multivitamin are important for a person's health and well being. These substances help the body perform various vital functions and assist in growth and development. Iron, for example, is vital for the proper formation of red blood cells. Calcium is vital for bone health and strong teeth, and magnesium is needed for proper muscle and nerve functioning, as well as many other body processes. There are many other important minerals, including zinc and copper, in multivitamins too.

The typical complete multivitamin contains an array of important vitamins as well. Vitamin A is necessary for vision and the B vitamins help the body process nutrients to get energy. Vitamin C helps with immune functions and bone development. Vitamin E also plays a role in immune functioning and vitamin K is needed for proper blood clotting after an injury. Most multivitamins contain a range of other vitamins as well.

Medical professionals often recommend the use of a daily complete multivitamin for healthy children and adults to prevent possible nutrition deficiencies. It’s difficult to get the recommended daily allowance of each vitamin and mineral from food sources alone, even if a person eats a healthy diet. These supplements should be used with caution however, since some have certain compounds which could interact with medications a person may be taking. It’s always a good idea to discuss any supplement use with a doctor before proceeding.

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