By their very definition, vitamins (and minerals) are essential nutrients. Essential substances, when discussing nutrition, are those that the body cannot manufacture at all or in sufficient quantities, but are necessary for normal health and function of the body. Since we cannot produce enough internally, they must be obtained from an outside source. For most, this is accomplished from the things we eat and drink. If one’s diet fails to provide adequate intake of these essential nutrients, then supplementation is a simple, convenient way to ensure these substances are being obtained.
A chronic lack of an essential nutrient will impair the processes that that substance is involved in. Since vitamins and minerals are involved in enzyme systems that allow EVERYTHING in the body to occur, the consequences of deficiency can be quite dire, even fatal. Full blown deficiencies are not that common today, but prolonged inadequate intakes are linked to long term consequences such as greater risk of age-related and chronic diseases. For many, the use of a properly designed multiple vitamin and mineral formula can offer protection against common insufficiencies.