Do you need a multivitamin?

We all need vitamin and minerals, they are essential for health and wellbeing. Many of these nutrients are obtained from a healthy, balanced diet but not everyone gets the right food every day. That’s where multivitamins can help.

What is a multivitamin?
A multivitamin is a combination of different vitamins, minerals or herbal extracts normally found in food. They may help bridge the nutritional gap between diet and the recommended dietary intake (RDI).

Requirements for a balanced diet
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend the number of standard serves we should consume from the five core food groups each day, for a nutritious and balanced diet.

The recommended intake amounts differ for each age and gender as does the standard serve for different foods.

Recommended average number of standard serves per day

Toddlers Vegetables & legumes Fruit Grains (cereal) Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives Allowance for additional serves from any food group
Girls and boys 1-2 years 2-3 0.5 4 1 1-1.5 0
Girls and boys 2-3 years 2.5 1 4 1 1.5 0-1
Children Vegetables & legumes Fruit Grains (cereal) Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives Allowance for additional serves from any food group
Girls 4-8 years 4.5 1.5 4 1.5 1.5 0-1
Girls 9-11 years 5 2 4 2.5 3 0-3
Boys 4-8 years 4.5 1.5 4 1.5 12 0-2.5
Boys 9-11 years 5 2 4 2.5 2.5 0-3
Adolescents Vegetables & legumes Fruit Grains (cereal) Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives Allowance for additional serves from any food group
Girls 12-13 years 5 2 5 2.5 3.5 0-2.5
Girls 14-18 years 5 2 7 2.5 3.5 0-2.5
Boys 12-13 years 5.5 2 6 2.5 3.5 0-3
Boys 14-18 years 5.5 2 7 2.5 3.5 0-2.5
Adults Vegetables & legumes Fruit Grains (cereal) Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives Allowance for additional serves from any food group
Women 19-50 years 5 2 6 2.5 2.5 0-2.5
Women 51-70 years 5 2 4 2 4 0-2.5
Men 19-50 years 6 2 6 3 2.5 0-3
Men 51-70 years 5.5 2 6 2.5 2.5 0-2.5
Other Adults Vegetables & legumes Fruit Grains (cereal) Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives Allowance for additional serves from any food group
Women 70+ years 5 2 3 2 4 0-2.5
Men 70+ years 5 2 4.5 2.5 3.5 0-2.5
Pregnant Vegetables & legumes Fruit Grains (cereal) Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives Allowance for additional serves from any food group
Under 18 years 5 2 8 3.5 3.5 0-3
Over 18 years 5 2 8.5 3.5 2.5 0-2.5
Breastfeeding Vegetables & legumes Fruit Grains (cereal) Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans Milk, yoghurt, cheese & alternatives Allowance for additional serves from any food group
Under 18 years 5.5 2 9 2.5 4 0-3
Over 18 years 7.5 1 9 2.5 2.5 0-2.5

Adapted from the Australian Dietary Guidelines

Reasons to take a multivitamin
With a busy lifestyle and conflicting priorities, you may be consuming an energy-dense, nutrient-poor diet, meaning you’re lacking essential vitamins and minerals. Alternatively, you may just be struggling to consume the RDI for your age and gender. Not consuming the RDI of important vitamins and mineral may have an impact on your health & general wellbeing.

How do I know if I need one?
Consult with your health professional on the right supplements for you.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your healthcare professional. Vitamin supplements should not replace a well balanced diet.