Multivitamins are the most widely used dietary supplements, and a lot of athletes take them religiously to support their nutritional needs.
Staying on top of illnesses and ensuring your body has all the nutrients to recover properly from hard sessions is key to feeling at your best, and many of us use multivitamins as an insurance policy to make sure every base is covered.
A healthy diet will of course always be the most important part of your nutrition programme to keep you on track in the short and long term, and some people question whether multivitamins really work at all.
So how much of an impact do these all-in-one pills really have? Built for Athletes takes a look.
Does A Multivitamin Protect You From Common Colds?
There has been little research into the impact of multivitamins specifically, but scientists have looked at how the individual compounds found in your multivit can protect you from a common cold.
Possibly the most famous vitamin to support the immune system is vitamin C, which rose to prominence in the 1970s after evidence emerged that it could prevent common colds.
A recent study in 2013 suggests that although vitamin C doesn’t necessarily prevent colds, it can reduce the severity of cold symptoms. With symptoms eased, athletes should be able to maintain better training standards.
Zinc is another compound used to support the immune system, and a review that looked at 18 different studies into the effectiveness of zinc found it can reduce the duration of symptoms when taken within 24 hours of a cold flaring up.
Not all multivitamins actually contain zinc, however, and few offer significant doses of it.
Does A Multivitamin Help Support Long-Term Health?
With about a third of people in Britain taking multivitamins, researchers have followed people over long periods of time to see whether supplements impact serious diseases and health outcomes.
The bad news for multivitamin lovers is that they are not linked with a reduction in risk of cancer and heart disease, and they don’t help to protect against mental decline either.
If you’re taking a multivitamin to help protect you from long-term serious illnesses, you’re better off focusing on the quality of your diet.
For avoiding severe colds and general infections or viruses, make sure your multivitamin contains zinc and vitamin C.