The Essential Mineral That Most Multivitamins Lack

Whether you take them in the morning with breakfast or at night before bed, multivitamins are a common way that people improve their health. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, 50% of American adults take a multivitamin or supplement on a regular basis. Seventy percent of people who are 65 and older take vitamins as a part of their health regimen.

There is an endless variety of types and brands of multivitamins to choose from store shelves and online markets. Many people may think that all multivitamins are created equal and will provide the same nutritional benefits. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, there isn't a standard list of required ingredients that must be included in multivitamins. Each manufacturer selects the ingredients they want to include in each bottle of multivitamins. This means that you could be missing out on key nutrients. There's one important mineral that seems to be excluded from multivitamins — by design.

Iron is commonly left out of multivitamins

Iron plays an important role in keeping you healthy. According to the Cleveland Clinic, iron is a mineral that helps to form hemoglobin. Without iron, the body would not be able to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. The absence of iron leads to iron deficiency anemia and decreases the resistance to infection throughout the body. Young women, vegetarians, children, and frequent blood donors are more at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia (via Mayo Clinic). Given that iron is essential to the healthy function of the body, why isn't it included in most multivitamins?

According to Livestrong, most manufacturers leave iron out of multivitamins because most of the population gets sufficient iron through diet alone. Most multivitamin supplements for men and seniors contain little to no iron, while multivitamins for women that contain iron have 100% of the daily value (via National Institutes of Health). This is because women who are menstruating, pregnant, or breastfeeding are most likely to be iron deficient. Excluding iron from multivitamins can decrease the risk of an iron overdose, which is the most common form of accidental poisoning in young children (via LiveStrong). Therefore, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before you begin taking an iron supplement.