Multivitamin Supplements 101
What is a Multivitamin?
A multivitamin supplement is usually in a tablet or capsule form. Each tablet is formulated with several vitamins (i.e. C, D, E, etc) and minerals (i.e. calcium, iron, magnesium, etc). Nowadays, some multivitamins come with essential fatty acids like Omega 3.
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
**The list above is not exhaustive, please ask your pharmacist for advice in choosing a product that can cater to your needs
- 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.