A supplement, as the name implies, is useful to “supplement” a nutritional deficiency. It is extremely unlikely that deficiencies of all vitamins and minerals can coexist in a person. And yet, there are multivitamin and multimineral supplements on the market with the same formulation, engineered without a scientific rationale and without taking into account the physiological nutritional needs of each individual.
There are other reasons why we do not recommend them. Let’s see them together:
- A mineral can interfere with the intestinal absorption of another mineral or create a metabolic antagonism. Thus, the individual elements contained in a supplement must be well-balanced with each other and have a correct relationship to perform its function at best. The same holds true for vitamins, which have both synergistic and antagonistic interactions. The market features many supplements that do not take these important indications into consideration;
- Many minerals and vitamins have a tonic / stimulating action (as in the case of Potassium, Iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin E) or a sedative action (such as Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin B12). Therefore, in a multivitamin and multimineral it is not possible to obtain specific effects aimed at the needs of the single person;
- A good-quality supplement must contain significant concentrations of bioactive compounds (e.g. a vitamin or a mineral) such as to maximize their positive effects and provide a benefit to the health of the organism. The doses of each vitamin or mineral in multivitamins and multiminerals are so low that they cannot have any material effect (that is, normalization) in the person. In fact, certain vitamin and / or mineral deficiencies require adequate contributions to individual physiological needs;
- Some vitamins and / or minerals may have a negative interaction with certain medications. For example, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) has a pharmacodynamic antagonism with different immunosuppressive drugs (Methotrexate) and this causes a reduction in the drug’s efficacy. Vitamin K can reduce the therapeutic activity of anticoagulants and Calcium may reduce the absorption of some antibiotics, if taken together with them. Taking multivitamin/multimineral supplements together with some drugs could therefore be harmful to your health;
- The minerals and vitamins contained in food supplements must have a good “oral bioavailability“, i.e. they must be adequately absorbed in the intestine and have a significant concentration in plasma. In most cases, multivitamin and multimineral supplements are not bioavailable enough and, in particular, contain inorganic mineral salts that are not complexed with organic molecules. Therefore, they have a poor “bioavailability” and create an overload at the level of different organs.
In light of these observations, we understand how a supplement, to be of excellence, must have some basic characteristics. First of all, it must be formulated with a scientific rationale, making use of the latest research in the supplements field. Secondly, it must contain only useful compounds, capable of working synergistically in a formula that enhances its beneficial properties. A correct integration must be targeted to the physiological needs of each individual and must take into account various factors (age, state of health, physical activity, possible concomitant use of drugs), having as a purpose the integration of what is missing from our organism.