Multivitamins. They come in many shapes and sizes, and you can find them in pretty much any supermarket, pharmacy or online supplier. It’s likely that you’re no stranger to them. You may have fond memories of your parents telling you about the importance of taking your multivitamins. Fun parents often gave their children a fruity gummy version. If you had parents like mine, you just had a tablet version. I’m not bitter at all…
Anyway, in his latest video, nutritionist and PhD researcher Richie Kirwan spills the tea on the “all-rounder” of the supplement world. As always, he’s not telling you how to live your life — he just wants you to make informed choices.
What does a multivitamin contain?
Multivitamins can be a bit of a wildcard. They can contain any mix of vitamins, minerals, and even other substances, in pretty much any dose selected by the manufacturer. While there is no set recipe, there are guidelines that must be followed, particularly RNI — or reference nutrient intake.
In the UK, each multivitamin supplement usually contains enough of each nutrient to provide you with 100% of the RNI. Although, it’s worth bearing in mind that we all have different vitamin and mineral requirements. Adult women, for example, need more iron than men. Because of this, RNIs are usually set at a level that meets 95% of the population’s nutrient needs.
The vitamin and mineral information for the micronutrients is likely to be listed on the side of the container, disclosing how much of each micronutrient the supplement contains — usually in milligrams and micrograms — and as a percentage of the RNI. The amount of each vitamin and mineral in the supplement is tiny, but that’s because your body doesn’t need a lot — hence why they’re called micronutrients.