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A multivitamin is a tablet or capsule that contains a range of different vitamins and minerals to assist in making up a shortfall.  Most people do not need a multivitamin if they eat a varied and healthy diet that includes foods from all five of the food groups. By eating the types and amounts of foods recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating you are giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs, in the amounts that it needs. However, a multivitamin can be helpful for some people.



When might I need a multivitamin?

You may find that a multivitamin is helpful if:

  • Your diet is restricted due to food allergies, following a vegan or vegetarian diet, or energy restriction,
  • You have a medical condition that affects your nutrient absorption such as coeliac disease, or Crohn’s disease,
  • You have had surgery on your gastrointestinal system,
  • You are recovering from a surgery, a severe illness or a severe infection,
  • You are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding as your requirements of certain nutrients such as folate are increased, or
  • You are over 50 years old, as age generally decreases your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients from food.


If you are unsure about whether you need a multivitamin, it is best to speak to your healthcare professional.



A single daily multivitamin is usually safe as long as you follow the directions on the bottle and the advice of your healthcare professional.


However, it is important to remember that a multivitamin does not replace a healthy diet. There are many nutrients found in food that are not found in multivitamins, including energy, fibre, carbohydrate, proteins, essential fats and other beneficial compounds that are not vitamins or minerals. This means it is still important that you eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods including protein foods, low fat dairy, fruit, vegetables, healthy oils and whole grains as part of your diet, even if you are taking a multivitamin.



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.



Better Health Channel


Dietitians of Canada


Eat Right Ontario