The human body requires a number of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Examples include vitamin A, which is required by the retina in the eye, vitamin D which is required for maintaining healthy bones, and vitamin E which helps form red blood cells.
A diet lacking enough essential vitamins is likely to result in vitamin deficiency syndromes. Scurvy, rickets and beriberi are examples of such syndromes.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet typically provides enough vitamins for the body’s needs. Some people, however, like to take multivitamins to ensure that they receive their required amounts. Multivitamins contain a range of different vitamins and minerals usually including magnesium, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin A in varying amounts. After ingestion the multivitamin’s casing is broken down by the gut, the vitamins are absorbed and pass to where they are needed.
Care must be taken not to take too many vitamins. In 2004, the Danish government was so worried about people overdosing on vitamins that it banned Kellogg’s breakfast cereals which had been enriched with extra vitamins! The effectiveness of multivitamins is often disputed by scientists. Most experts agree that the best and safest way to ensure that you receive all the vitamins you need is to have a healthy and balanced diet.