If you maintain a hectic schedule or just don't have the energy you usually have, you may consider taking a daily multivitamin to put more pep in your step. However, multivitamins alone are not sufficient to provide energy. While they can provide a beneficial supplement to your diet, multivitamins cannot replace healthy, wholesome foods, and taking the wrong multivitamin can be harmful to your overall health. Consult with your physician before taking any supplements, including multivitamins.
Multivitamins are a formulation of a combination of individual vitamins designed to provide supplemental nutrition, and they can come in the form of pills that you swallow, chewable tablets or liquid. Some multivitamin formulations include minerals such as iron or calcium. In most instances, the amount of each individual vitamin contained in a multivitamin equals or exceeds the daily recommended amount of that particular vitamin for adults. Manufacturers frequently offer specific combinations of vitamins designed to meet the needs of women, men, children, pregnant women or mature adults.
For healthy adults who eat a well-balanced diet, taking a multivitamin will not provide a significant energy boost. Carbohydrates represent the most important source of energy in your daily diet, and the best sources of carbohydrates are breads and grains, fruits, some dairy products and sugars. However, if you follow a strictly regimented diet, especially one that eliminates entire groups of foods, or if you regularly consume fewer than 1,800 calories daily, taking a multivitamin daily can provide essential supplemental nutrients to your diet.
Multivitamins and Fatigue
Fatigue differs from the sense of tiredness that results from sleepiness. Instead, fatigue is a sense of weariness that rest doesn't seem to help. Taking a multivitamin may ease symptoms of fatigue if your condition stems from a specific vitamin or mineral deficiency, such as iron-deficiency anemia, or from an overall poor diet. However, fatigue also may accompany thyroid malfunction, depression, substance abuse, chronic pain or even allergies, according to MedlinePlus. Taking a multivitamin will not correct these conditions, and delaying treatment may cause harm to your health.
Choosing the Right Multivitamin
All multivitamins are not created equal. Check the dosage labels to ensure that you are getting enough of the right vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins, including niacin. Avoid taking multivitamins that include mega doses of vitamin A. More than 4,000 international units of retinol, which is one form of vitamin A, may be toxic, the Diet Channel warns. Beta carotene, another form of vitamin A, does not pose a health risk for most adults; however, randomized trials showed that smokers who took high single-dose supplements of beta carotene have an increased risk of developing lung cancer, according to Harvard University School of Public Health. You should begin to feel beneficial effects of taking a multivitamin within a few days, if not, try another formulation, Diet.com suggests. Remember to talk with your doctor about which formulation would be best for you, and consider meditation or yoga to lower energy-draining stress.
- Diet.com: Seven Things You Need to Know About Multi-Vitamins
- The Diet Channel: Multivitamins - How to Choose a Multivitamin
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Fatigue - Treatment
- MedlinePlus: Fatigue
- Psychology Today: Vitamin B - A Key to Energy
- Harvard University School of Public Health: Vitamin A
- Diet.com: Niacin