different multivitamin tablets and pills lying next to several fruits

Multivitamin Guide: Info, Benefits and Side Effects

This might be a surprising revelation, but when most people talk about workout supplements, they mention things like Protein, BCAAs, Creatine, Fat Burners, Mass Gainers, Testosterone boosters and so on, but tend to forget one of the most important supplements of all.

Can you guess which one it is?

Something that’s so important – your body’s whole metabolic process, efficiency, and performance suffer a massive drop if you’re deficient in one of the components that this supplement provides.

I’m talking about Multivitamins, for both women and men.

Why Multivitamins Are Important:

People tend to forget that their body needs a complex and vast variety of vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals to properly function – and if they’re deficient in one or many of them – it will definitely not bode well for their workouts in the gym or even their daily health in general.

So do multivitamins work and should you take them? That’s not even a proper question anymore because the science has been in for many decades and it’s a well-known fact that your body will suffer if it has a vitamin deficiency.

Ideally, you should always have a proper and healthy diet which provides you with all the essential micro and macronutrients, but that’s not always possible, especially for those with incredibly busy lives or those who don’t eat very healthy food.

That’s exactly what multivitamins for men and women were created for – they help you get your daily vitamin and mineral requirement so you won’t always have to worry about whether you’re body’s at its optimum nutrient levels or not.

Finally, bodybuilders know that during intense training or weightlifting sessions, their bodies use up a significantly larger amount of nutrients than during their normal daily lives – that’s why it is essential to replenish all these key elements so as not to hamper the progress of their exercise – and later recovery.

So if you’re someone who’s not acutely aware of the facts and ramifications of proper vitamin and nutrient balance in your body – read on – we’ll fully explain it all!

Also, for our top ten lists of Multivitamins for Men, check out Best Multivitamin Supplements for Men and for our top rated multivitamins for women, follow Best Multivitamins for Women.

What Is a Multivitamin?

The simplest description is that it’s a dietary supplement with a combination of many different vitamins, dietary minerals, and other nutritional elements that are naturally found in food and other natural sources.

It can come in many different forms, such as capsules, pills or tablets, as well as powders, liquids and even intravenously injectable formulations that hospitals tend to use.

There are two main categories – whole-food and organic derived or synthetic (created in laboratories) vitamins. The whole-food natural made option is considered to be the better one because they contain vitamin complexes just as they exist in nature and thus are better recognized, absorbed and utilized by the body.

Synthetic vitamins also have their uses, but for certain cases they may not be as effective, such as the treatment of scurvy (Vitamin-C deficiency), where according to this study, using a naturally occurring Vitamin C treated the illness and ascorbic acid had little to no effect.

What does this supplement do?

It makes sure that your diet is complete with all the necessary nutrients and minerals to properly function – as well as ensured great general health and wellness.

Different Multivitamins for Men and Women

An Athletic Man and Woman drinking from a sports shaker cup

A multivitamin for men and a multivitamin for women may not differ all that much, except for certain key elements.

Gender-specific vitamins echo the differences of bio-chemistry in the sexes, with the biggest difference being iron levels. Women who are premenopausal need much more iron than men since they lose a lot of it during menstruation.

After the menopause hits, iron requirements become the same for both sexes, but women start needing more calcium to maintain their bone strength.

Men’s vitamins tend to have more Vitamin K or added nutrients like lycopene, both of which help against prostate cancer.

The Main Ingredients

There are a huge number of components in most commercial multivitamins:

Vitamins – C, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, B5, B7, A, E, D3, K1.

Micronutrients – Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, Chromium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Iron, Beta-Carotene, Potassium Iodide (Potassium and Iodine combined), Cupric, Selenomethionine, Borate, and Nickel.

These are just the main ones that are present in the vast majority of vitamin supplements. There are many different optional ingredients added by different manufacturers.

The Benefits of Multivitamin Supplements

Cute Young Couple Looking at each other while riding gym bicycles

There are many different multivitamin benefits, here are some of them for each component:

Note: To read about the elements or nutrients that you’re interested in – just open the toggles below!

Vitamin C, Vitamin B-Complex, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin K

Vitamin C is an antioxidant nutrient responsible for immune system and cell health and is essential in production of collagen (a component of blood vessels, skin, and bones)

Vitamins B-Complex is essential in the production of energy and crucial for breaking down protein, carbs, and fats in the body. They also maintain a healthy and functional nervous system as well as support healthy function of blood cells and the heart.

Vitamin A is an antioxidant nutrient essential in maintaining eye health and supporting the immune system’s proper function. It also promotes bone and tooth growth as well as keeps the skin and mucous membranes healthy.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant nutrient that supports the health of the heart and arteries. It helps reduce the oxidation of LDL, (the bad sort of cholesterol) and plays a major role in keeping the immune system functioning properly.

Vitamin D is essential for bone and muscle health as well as helps in the absorption of Calcium. It also plays an important role in maintaining a healthy nervous and immune system.

Vitamin K is crucial for blood coagulation. It also promotes healthy cartilage, bone, and teeth as well as helps against prostate cancer.

Zinc, Calcium, Chloride, Chromium, Copper

Zinc is essential for maintaining the function of nearly 100 different enzymes and proteins that initiate chemical reactions in the body. It is needed for proper development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and it helps your immune system fight off bacteria and viruses.

Calcium is needed to maintain strong and healthy bones and teeth in any individual. It is also necessary for blood flow in your blood vessels.

Chloride is needed by your body to keep the proper balance of body fluids, and it is an essential part of digestive juices.

Chromium supports the action of insulin, a hormone required for storing and metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Copper is needed for the optimal function of enzymes that are involved in the production of energy at the cellular level. It’s also required for the formation of the connective tissue that helps support blood vessels, bones, and the heart.

Iodine, Iron, Magnesium and Manganese

Iodine is necessary to synthesize thyroid hormones which regulate your metabolism. It combines with an amino acid called tyrosine and makes the thyroid hormone that’s then released into the blood stream.

Iron is crucial for the production of protein hemoglobin, which is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to cells. It is needed for proper brain and nerve function, supports your immune system and is critical for regulating cell growth and replication, such as repairing your skin.

Magnesium is necessary for over 300 different reactions that take place on a constant basis in your body. It is involved in making proteins, maintaining the strength of bones and cell membranes, and is crucial for energy production.

Manganese is a critical mineral that’s involved in the formation of bone and the metabolism of different amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, and cholesterol. It also helps form collagen.

Molybdenum, Potassium, Phosphorus and Selenium

Molybdenum is an essential trace mineral that’s required for normal cell function and growth.

Potassium is an important electrolyte in your body and is used by the autonomic nervous system to maintain proper heart and brain function. It is also essential in regulating the fluid levels in your body and helps your muscles contract.

Phosphorus helps your body maintain robust and healthy bones and teeth, as well as helps your body create energy.

Selenium helps regulate your metabolism and is required to create certain antioxidant compounds that help prevent damage caused by free radicals and aid in the proper function of cells and a healthy immune system.

Side Effects

Multivitamin side effects have been widely studied and as much as vitamin deficiency is not good for you, their over-consumption can lead to some pretty severe side-effects and is even linked to an increase in mortality.

That is why it is of paramount importance that you never exceed the recommended dosages specified on the manufacturer’s label.

Mild side effects include mild diarrhea, nausea and stomach upset.

Severe side effects, where you should immediately visit a doctor, include severe allergic reactions (itching, rashes, hives, difficulty breathing, and tightness in the chest as well as swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue), feeling of swelling of the entire body and numbness or tingling of the skin.

An overdose of vitamins A, D, E, or K can cause serious or life-threatening side effects even in healthy adults.

Safety Facts

Multivitamin usage is generally safe, provided that dosage precautions are taken. The dosages for men, women (pregnant and not) as well as children and the elderly are all different, so keep that in mind when choosing a supplement.

That is why it’s always a good idea and great practice to consult with a qualified health care specialist before starting a regimen of this type of supplement.

Again, the most important thing is never to take more than your body needs, so if you have a fully balanced and healthy diet with a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and other nutritious sources – you most likely don’t need any vitamin supplementation at all!

How to Take the Multivitamins

A Man sitting before a plate with a multivitamin tablet and a fish oil capsule

This all depends on which form your supplement comes in.

If it’s a pill, tablet, capsule or powder – it’s as simple as drinking it or mixing it with water. Taking vitamins with food generally increases absorption; however certain drinks like coffee, milk or grapefruit juice may hamper the absorption of several nutrients.

If it’s in liquid form – drink it on its own.

If it’s an intra-venal or intra-muscle injection – you don’t need to worry about mixing it with different foods, because it will not have to be digested and absorbed in the stomach.

When:  

The best time to take multivitamins is after a grueling workout when you have used up or sweat out a massive amount of nutrients. However, if the product contains Zinc (above 25% of DV), it should not be taken directly after a workout because it will hamper the absorption of Amino Acids!

Other than that, the generally agreed-on best time to take most vitamins is in the morning during your first meal. That way they have the best chance to be absorbed into your system along with the food that you’re going to eat throughout the day.

How Much:

Multivitamins are generally to be taken once a day, every day when necessary. If you have a certain deficiency, your doctor may prescribe a different dosage.

The subject of who needs how much of every nutrient is very tricky, and WebMD has tried to tackle it. You can read their full report here.

Do You Need a Multivitamin? – Answered

A comprehensive infographic depicting detailed information about fruits and the vitamins

So if you’re still thinking “Should I take a Multivitamin?” – read the following:

It all depends on your diet! If you have a proper, healthy and well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and other nutritious products – you do not need to take Multivitamins!

People who consume fewer than 1,400 calories per day or those cutting out entire food groups (such as carbohydrates or fats) from their diets are going to need supplementation.

Also, people with conditions that deplete or severely hamper the absorption of nutrients may also need supplementation.

Same thing with bodybuilders, weightlifters and serious athletes – they deplete much more nutrients than normal during their high-intensity exercise session – especially if working out multiple days in a row – which is why supplementation is often needed

And if you’re thinking “Do multivitamins Work?” – Several different studies have proved the effectiveness of multivitamin supplements for prevention of chronic diseases and the maintenance of health and general well-being in individuals with inadequate or suboptimal nutritional status

Conclusion

Vitamins for bodybuilding are essential if you have daily intense and grueling workouts that leave you depleted of these vital compounds.

Ideally, you would want to get everything from food – but that’s not always possible. If you feel that your performance levels are slipping, and you’re not working out at maximum efficiency, you may need a daily vitamins plan to help you make your workouts more efficient.

So which multivitamins do you personally prefer? Do you use them or do you try to keep a balanced and healthy diet that gets you all the nutrients that you need instead? Write your thoughts and ideas in the comments below and let’s discuss them!

Eat well and train hard!