Multivitamin Supplements 101
By Joshua Ng (Pharmacist, Caring Pharmacy) | Malaysia | Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:21pm
What is a Multivitamin?
Multivitamin vs. Healthy Eating
- A multivitamin helps to supplement your daily requirements of vitamins and minerals1
- Having a well balanced diet (Refer to the Malaysian food pyramid) would meet your daily nutrient requirement2
- A Multivitamin does not provide energy, protein or fiber that you get from food1
Multivitamins may be important for people such as1:
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Adults over 50 years old
- Those with certain food restrictions (i.e. vegans)
- Children and adolescents
- Those who may not be able to have a well balance diet
“There are so many of them... How do I choose a multivitamin?”
- A multivitamin usually contains an extensive list of vitamins and minerals. However the product you choose should contain adequate amounts of a particular nutrient that can cater to your need(s)1, for example:
- Folic acid for pregnant women
- Vitamin B12 for those who have a meat-restricted diet
- Iron for those with low hemoglobin counts (anemia)
- Calcium for women
- Vitamin C for a stronger immune system
- B complex for those with highly active lifestyles
- Multivitamin supplement products are regulated in Malaysia by the Drug Control Authority (DCA). As long as you purchase the multivitamin from a reputable pharmacy in Malaysia, you can be assured of its safety.3
Label: “mg”, “mcg”, “IU” – what are they telling me?
- They are measuring units of the respective vitamin or mineral contained in a multivitamin pill.
- To find out the ideal amount needed (based on gender and age), one may refer to “The Recommended Nutrient Intakes for Malaysia4”. Or you can just ask the pharmacist.
How do I take a multivitamin1?
- Take your multivitamin with food and drink a glass of water
- Avoid taking multivitamins with other medications
- Always check the instructions before taking as each product can be different from another
- Do not take more than the recommended dosage. Too much of a certain vitamin or mineral may lead to toxicity.
- How to choose a multivitamin. Dieticians of Canada (2012) (web accessed August 2018). Web link: www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Factsheets/How-to-choose-a-multivitamin.aspx
- Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents. National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition (2013) Ministry of Health Malaysia.
- Guidelines for entry into Malaysian supplements market. WM Poon. NewHope. (web accessed August 2018). Web link: www.newhope.com/news/guidelines-entry-malaysian-supplements-market
- Recommended nutrient intakes for Malaysia. National coordinating committee on food and nutrition (2017). Ministry of Health Malaysia.
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