To support their diet and safeguard their general health, many people opt to add a vitamin and mineral supplement to their daily routine. But with so many to choose from, how do you know which type of supplement is best for you? And should you go for a single vitamin or choose a multi-vit? This guide will help you to find the answers.
What is a multivitamin?
As the name suggests, a multivitamin contains a range of different vitamins and often minerals that are all essential for the normal functioning of the body. While the formulation of each type of multivitamin can be different, they will typically contain the core vitamins of A, B, C, D and K, as well as in many cases, the other B complex vitamins and vitamin E.
Multivitamins also offer the opportunity to get additional nutrients, depending on your age or lifestyle need, to provide a more tailored supplement. These can include natural extracts as well as iron for energy and probiotics to support your digestive health.
Reasons to consider a multivitamin
Usually in a one-a-day form, a multivitamin is an easy way to supplement your daily diet and help to safeguard your general health. Other reasons to consider adding a multivitamin into your routine include:
- Convenience – with your essential vitamins and minerals rolled into one tablet, capsule or liquid dose, a multivitamin means you can take what would otherwise be multiple tablets in a single pill.
- Cost-effective –if a broader spectrum of vitamins and minerals is the right approach for you and your health, then taking a good multivitamin is a cost-effective way of getting all these nutrients rather than buying individual tablets.
- Multiple benefits – with a multivitamin you get the individual benefits of the ingredients all at once – from vitamin C for your immune system and vitamin D for your bones, to fatigue-reducing iron and vitamin A for eye health.
What is an individual vitamin?
Unlike the ‘cover all bases’ approach of a multivitamin, an individual vitamin contains a single, specific vitamin which you choose depending on your own nutritional or specific health needs. You can also choose a single vitamin based on its percentage of the recommended daily allowance – or nutrient reference value – so you know you are getting a sufficient dosage depending on your need.
Reasons to consider a single vitamin supplement
A single vitamin supplement enables you to be more targeted when it comes to the additional vitamins you are taking to support your body. The main reasons to consider an individual vitamin include:
- To address a vitamin deficiency – if you know you are lacking in a specific vitamin, or your lifestyle puts you at risk of a deficiency (e.g. of vitamin D during the winter), then the dosage of that particular vitamin in a multivitamin may not be enough. Taking an individual supplement gives you greater control over the dosage and enables you to adjust if required or directed by your GP.
- To help with a specific medical condition – if you have a medical condition that can benefit from or requires supplementation of a certain vitamin, then an individual vitamin tablet could be the best option as it enables you to increase your intake, while keeping your dietary intake of vitamins stable.
How to decide which is best for you
So which type of vitamin supplementation is best for you? It is actually down to personal choice or medical/physical need as neither a multivitamin or single vitamin is better than the other. But factoring your own health, lifestyle, GP advice and any specific deficiencies should help you to make your final choice.