Benefits of Multivitamins


Vitamins are substances used in the body to perform many essential tasks. They are generally not broken down during metabolism like sugars and fats, but are recycled over and over again. We do lose a portion of the vitamins we get in our diets, both because we excrete them and because eventually, they do break down. However, for most vitamins, it will take months to years to use up the body’s reserves.

This is not the case for niacin (B3), for which can be depleted in a few weeks. Addicts are prone to vitamin deficiencies because they do not maintain a proper diet over many months to years.

Multivitamin formulations

A standard multivitamin will contain the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of a series of common vitamins. These include: A, B (1,2, 3, 6, 12), Folic acid (B9), C, D, and E. They may also contain K and biotin.

Some preparations will include trace minerals in the formulation as well as vitamins.

Most multivitamins are taken orally, along with a meal. The idea is to duplicate the natural process of obtaining vitamins in the diet. There are injectable preparations as well, but these are usually reserved for patients who cannot eat for an extended period of time.

One of the considerations of vitamin formulations is cost. While there are specific combinations that are designed for unique populations, any multivitamin will help someone who is suffering a deficiency. In this case, taking something is much better than not taking anything at all and low cost might be a factor. Some clinics will recommend a particular formulation or advise recovering addicts to double up and take two multivitamin tablets a day for a few weeks – especially if deficiencies are suspected.

Single vitamins may be suggested, such as niacin for alcoholics, because the nature of the addiction depletes a specific vitamin. While vitamin supplements are an important adjunct in nutritional therapy, they do not replace a steady, healthy diet. As soon as possible, recovering addicts should eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables.

photo by Irena Naumets

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