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What is Multivitamin?

A multivitamin is any preparation containing more than a single vitamin. Tablets and injectable forms (for example Vitaped and Hospira) are available. In common usage, "multivitamin" refers to tablets that contain various vitamins usually along with dietary minerals and, occasionally, herbal extracts


By supplementing the diet with additional vitamins and minerals, multivitamins can be a valuable tool for those with dietary imbalances or different nutritional needs. People with dietary imbalances may include those on restrictive diets and those who can't or won't eat a nutritious diet. Pregnant women and elderly adults have different nutritional needs from other adults, and a multivitamin may be indicated by their physician.

Orthomolecular medicine proponents generally recommend individually optimized, often higher, vitamin intakes. They recommend more absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals, in inexpensive but higher potency formulas, spread across the day. Often iron-free formulas, sometimes copper-free formulas are preferred.

Multivitamins help bridge the nutritional gaps found in most people's diets. According to an article published in 2002 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Harvard researchers David H. Fletcher, M.D., MSC and Kathleen M. Fairfield, M.D., DrPH reported the following: "Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone. It appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements."


While multivitamins can be a valuable tool to correct dietary imbalances, it is worth exercising basic caution before taking multivitamins, especially if any medical conditions exist.
Pregnant women should generally consult their doctor before taking any multivitamins. Severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies require medical treatment and cannot be treated with common over-the-counter multivitamins. Special vitamin or mineral forms with much higher potency are typically available as individual components, specialized formulations, or available by prescription.

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