Eating a well balanced diet including fruits and vegetables is essential for optimal health. When you consume healthy foods, your body absorbs critical nutrients including vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins are organic compounds that we obtain from food. The human body either doesn’t produce enough of these, or at all, and therefore we have to rely on food sources to fuel our bodies with these key nutrients. There are 13 types of vitamins — including fat and water-soluble — each responsible for important physiological functions, from producing energy and hormones to creating DNA and supporting your immune system.
While we can source nutrients from food, many people revert to taking supplements to ensure they’re getting an adequate supply of vitamins into their body. There’s a huge variety of vitamin supplements on the shelves these days, from gels to drinks and even drips — but how do we know which one to take? While we’ve all got the common goal to improve our health and function optimally, people’s needs vary. Some individuals will add vitamin supplements to their diet to improve athletic performance, others could be seeking to improve mental health, put their mind at ease, or perhaps they’re actually nutrient deficient. So if we all have different needs, is there a one size fits all approach?
Different types of vitamin supplements
When it comes to vitamins, there are typically two types of supplements: single vitamins and multivitamins. Single vitamins provide just the one nutrient, for example, vitamin B tablets which contain (believe it or not) just vitamin B. Multivitamins however, are made up of a variety of different vitamins. Most will include vitamins A,B,C, D and K, but you’ll also find a few supplements, including Mydrade, which include additional vitamins and minerals to support your overall health.
So, what are the benefits of multi and single vitamins? Let’s get into it.
Multivitamins have numerous benefits
It’s almost self-explanatory, but multiple vitamins lead to multiple benefits. Taking a supplement like Mydrade, that includes a plethora of different nutrients including both vitamins and minerals, will enable you to reap a vast amount of benefits. These include everything from an enhanced immune system to hair and nail growth, cognitive function and energy levels.
Multivitamins are cost effective
Multivitamins are typically a similar price to single vitamins, which means if you’re taking more than one single vitamin, you’re going to be spending more money. Multivitamins will therefore make your bank balance a little more happy!
Multivitamins can put your mind at ease
In this day and age we have access to so many forms of tracking devices; we can track our runs, our sleep, even our stress levels. But unless you’ve got access to frequent blood tests, it’s difficult to monitor how many vitamins are in your system or how many you’re losing from exercise on a day-to-day basis. When we exercise, we lose a lot of nutrients from sweat, which ultimately leads to dehydration. It’s essential these nutrients are replaced, but it can be difficult to measure and monitor — particularly if you’re exercising in the winter, when dehydration can occur without you even realising.
Taking a multivitamin before, during or after exercise can really put your mind a rest; knowing you’re topping your body up with the fuel it needs to keep up your training routine, but most importantly, remain healthy.
In addition, multivitamins are often recommended to those who are underweight, eat a poor diet or live by a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Some multivitamins can be harmful
When it comes to taking multivitamins, it’s important to be aware of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of the vitamins and minerals included in the supplement. If an individual takes too much, the additional nutrients won’t be beneficial, but in fact counterintuitive. In the worse case, it can increase the risk of toxicity, particularly from vitamins A, D, E and K. It’s important to note that not all multivitamins have a high dose. For example, Mydrade’s hydration supplements only include a maximum of 16% of the vitamin’s RDI and is safe to consume the whole day (6-7 serves a day).
Single vitamins benefit nutrient deficiencies
For those who suffer with particular nutrient deficiencies (such as a lack of vitamin B) taking a singular vitamin means you can specifically address it. A multivitamin dosage might be too low to combat your deficiency, so by consuming the single vitamin you can keep track and easily increase your dosage. It also means you don’t have to take other vitamins and minerals if you feel it’s not necessary.
Single vitamins can help specific medical conditions
Similarly to those with nutrient deficiencies, if an individual has a medical condition, or if a woman is pregnant, taking a single vitamin allows you to control the dosage closely. It’s important to see a doctor about your dosage needs.
As we’ve outlined, there isn’t a one size fits all approach. First and foremost, you should try to source nutrients from a well-balanced healthy diet. Understandably, this can be difficult, particularly if you fall into the bracket of being underweight, an athlete, you have a poor diet, or you eat vegetarian or vegan foods only.
If this is you, or you’re worried about nutrition, speak to a medical professional and take a blood test. If you’re nutrient deficient, for example if you don’t have enough vitamin D, a single vitamin will be your best bet. If on the other hand you suffer with multiple deficiencies, or you’d like to put your mind at ease, a multivitamin (at a low dosage) will be the most beneficial for you.
A great multivitamin to start with is the Australian-made supplement Mydrade. Packed full of vitamins and minerals, sugar-free and with zero artificial flavours or colours, it’s the perfect vitamin drink to add to your daily routine.