Do you consume multivitamins every day? Are you intrigued by the numerous adverts about gaining extra energy in your stressful life? Has your physician, dietician or gym instructor prescribed you multivitamins to improve wellbeing?
If yes, this article is meant for you. It’s important to understand the significance of multivitamins before popping that pill.
Research suggests India loves its vitamin supplements. According to Statista, revenue in the Vitamins and Minerals segments amounts to $1479 million in 2018 and is expected to rise by 1.8% annually.
In a stressful life laden with deadlines, work and family expectations, healthy and nutrient-rich food often takes a backseat roke. In such a scenario where weakness and laziness takes over, the easy way to get around it is taking multivitamins. But does your body really require multivitamins or is it just a marketing myth?
Vitamins are essential for vital functions and to improve health and wellbeing. But they should be used rationally in the right amount according to age, physiological state or pathological condition to obtain maximum benefit. Research conducted by Chugh and Lhamo published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences found that a large number of multivitamin products have misleading names/labels; not specifying the constituents, or amount or the maximum amount that can be consumed.
“Vitamins are essential for vital functions and to improve health and wellbeing. But they should be used rationally in the right amount”
Knowledge of average requirement, adequate intake and upper intake levels is essential. Research concluded majority of the supplements contained nutrient amounts higher than recommended intakes or do not have recommended intakes.
High doses of vitamin A can result in hypervitaminosis manifesting as nausea, vomiting, itching, dermatitis, increased intracranial tension, hydrocephalus and even liver derangement. Serious hypercalcemia may occur in acute ingestion of large doses of vitamin D resulting in cardiac arrhythmias and renal failure. Large scale study indicates that supplemental iron may even be associated with increased total mortality risk whereas deficient intake impacts psychomotor development and cognitive performance with adverse outcomes in pregnancy.
Hence it is crucial to check the levels of constituents in a multivitamin pill and make an appropriate choice according to body requirements. Before buying an over the counter multivitamin tablet consider the nutrients lacking in the body and pick the one that most appropriate. Apart from consumers even government needs to come out with stringent laws to curtail companies from selling the medicines via blanket prescriptions.
In fact, the research by Chugh and Lhamo found that banned fixed dose combination of vitamins B1, B6 and B12 are widely available in India. This calls for an effective legal and regulatory framework and makes it crucial for consumers and regulators alike to check the levels of constituents in a multivitamin pill and either take steps towards controlling their availability or make an appropriate choice.