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Healthy diet and multivitamin

A perfect duo!

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By Audrey Couture

M.Sc. Pharmacology


I promise: I make efforts to eat well every day. Of course I happen to go to the restaurant and find out that the serving of vegetables is not as generous as it should be, even if I try to choose wisely in the menu. But at the end of the day, despite my daily efforts, I still don’t know for sure if I got all the vitamins and all the minerals that my body needed just to maintain proper functions.

A lot to look after…

In case you had not realized, there are 13 essential vitamins that you must eat every day, and at least 20 essential minerals (including so-called oligo-elements and electrolytes) that you must provide your body with just to stay healthy. Are you dizzy yet?

I’ve tried those calorie-monitoring apps. They also give and idea about the vitamins and minerals we eat on any given day. But the truth is, I find it fastidious on the long term to enter everything I eat during the day. Besides, if I notice I’m missing vitamin E, I have to search the web for a source of vitamin E and the quantity I must eat to fulfill that gap. And hope I have some at hand!

Frankly, eating healthier is one thing, making sure I get all my vitamins and minerals is  whole new ball game. And I’m not even talking about the debate that fruits and vegetables today would provide lesser amounts of vitamins than before, or whether organic-grown foods are preferable choices. I want to keep it simple, because my daily efforts are focused at eating better. If it gets too complicated, I’ll give up.

So I found my easy way around: I take a multivitamin to complete my daily nutrition.

Nope, I’m not using my multivitamin as an excuse to eat junk food. It’s just how I solve the puzzle of making sure I get enough of each vitamin and each mineral every day. And I’m sticking with my healthy eating efforts.  The multivitamin is just my insurance policy to make sure I’ve covered all my dietary requirements in case my diet itself does not on any particular day. No more headache, please.

And I don’t take a multivitamin in the hope that it will reduce my risk of developing diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Anyway, the scientific data is very controversial at the moment. I’m satisfied with my humble goal: just provide my body with what it needs to function properly today.

What to look for in a multivitamin

Since the idea here is to provide all the vitamins and all the minerals our body needs to stay healthy, the first criterion to look for is a long list of vitamins and minerals. To be an effective insurance policy, it should provide every essential vitamin and every essential mineral.

Individual dosages do not need to be very high: our body’s daily requirements are not huge. A complete multivitamin will usually provide enough of each vitamin and mineral. Shall you use other type of vitamins, like B complexes, you get megadoses of B vitamins, but none of the other vitamins and minerals. I’m not saying they are not great products: their therapeutic goal is just different. With a multivitamin, you are not looking at a therapeutic action other than complete your daily nutrition. In theory, you should not feel the difference when you take a multivitamin. And if you do, it was about time!

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