by Dr Danica Bonello Spiteri MD MRCP M.Sc.(SRM), M.Sc.(Sp.Biomech)
A 25 year old male attended with feeling generally run down and unable to exercise as he used to. He reported to having a poor diet, due to a stressful office job, so not able to prepare fresh healthy meals for lunch time and he suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, resulting in malabsorption of the nutrients from his intestines.
A multi-faceted approach was taken towards him, by addressing his lifestyle choices in terms of stressful occupation, the poor choice in his nutrition during the day as well as assessing his exercise regime.
Since he was at high risk of vitamin deficiency, he was advised to take a multi vitamin with his main meal of the day to ensure that there is adequate supply of the important vitamins and minerals within the body, to enable it to function well.
When taking a multivitamin with food, the food increases the amount of stomach acid, which enhances digestion of a supplement. Some foods, such as protein, fat and complex carbohydrates also slow down the movement of the multivitamin through the digestive tract. As a result you’ll absorb more nutrients.
The water soluble vitamins (Vitamin C and the B vitamins), pass through your system too quickly for optimal absorption if they are taken on an empty stomach.
It’s especially important to take the fat-soluble vitamins with food. Vitamins A, D, E and K won’t be digested and absorbed without bile acids. The presence of food, especially foods that contain a little fat, triggers the release of bile.
If a healthy, balanced diet is adhered to, a multi-vitamin is not a necessity. However, if you do not follow a regular healthy well balanced diet, or are have other medical problems and/or conditions a multivitamin helps ensure that your body remains works optimally. Medical conditions such as poor intestinal absorption, reduced food intake, pregnancy, elderly, adolescents or those with different and/or increased nutritional requirements (eg. Athletes), may benefit from regular ingestion of multivitamins.
Following this multi-faceted intervention, he reported to generally feel much better and even his irritable bowel symptoms improved.