Written by: Brielle Kirk, PA-C.
What should be in your multivitamin?
There are so many options when it comes to consuming micronutrients. With the overload of information on social media, how can we tell which ones are most important for us? I’ll discuss the top 10 micronutrients I believe are most important and should be included in your daily multivitamin. I will also include foods to consume, for one should not solely rely on a multivitamin for nutrients! Keep in mind, this is for the general, healthy population. If you have any medical conditions, be sure to ask your medical provider which micronutrients would be best for you!
1. Vitamin B-12 – The body needs B12, for it is considered an essential vitamin! It is a coenzyme involved in the conversion of food to energy. If we do not get enough of it, we can often be left feeling tired and drained. It is important to get this vitamin through foods, such as beef, chicken, fish, and eggs. If you are eating these foods and your blood levels show otherwise, you may need monthly injections, which are a convenient way to supplement!
2. Vitamin D – This vitamin plays a vital role in bone strength by helping to absorb calcium. It also has been shown to support your immune system. We get this vitamin from the sun, but often in our working society, getting it from the sun is not enough, making supplementation necessary. Foods containing it include fatty fish, egg yolks, and mushrooms!
3. Calcium – The body needs calcium for bone and teeth strength. It also helps with muscle contraction and nerve signaling throughout the body. Calcium can be found in dairy milk and dairy alternative drinks, such as almond and cashew milk.
4. Vitamin C – This water-soluble vitamin helps support your immune system, which is why you’ve probably heard of this as preventing illness! It also functions in tissue repair throughout the body, such as in tendons, muscles, and skin. It’s also an antioxidant that helps to prevent aging, so this in combination with the tissue repair properties is why it’s found in a lot of skin care products! Guava, kiwi, bell peppers, oranges and strawberries are all high in this micronutrient!
5. Omega-3 – This is a great fatty acid found in fish, fish oil, Algal oil or hemp seeds. Omega 3s are great for anti-inflammations, which helps with blood flow, cardiovascular health, and brain function.
6. Magnesium – This electrolyte has a lot of functions! It helps muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure, in addition to making protein, bone, and DNA! It can be found in dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds. If you take magnesium before bed, it can actually help you sleep at night!
7. Iron – This element is important for the makeup of red blood cells, and is what gives your blood the red color! It makes up hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout your body to your lungs. Someone can therefore become low in iron by losing a lot of blood, which is very dangerous. Beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, shrimp, clams, and beef are all high in iron.
8. Zinc – Zinc is needed for the immune system to function properly. It also helps with cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. It also plays an important role for the senses of smell and taste! Foods high in zinc include oysters, meat, poultry, seeds and lentils.
9. Vitamin A – This is a fat-soluble vitamin important for keeping healthy teeth and good vision. Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin. It is also known as retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye. Vitamin A is abundant in carrots and other orange/yellow pigmented vegetables, liver, and eggs!
10. Folic Acid – Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, is an important vitamin when it comes to neurological function and DNA production in our bodies. It also helps the body to create new red blood cells. This vitamin is especially important for women who wish to childbear, for low levels during pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects in the baby’s brain and spine. Foods abundant in folate include leafy green vegetables, cooked lentils, broccoli, and asparagus.