Choosing a Multivitamin
You walk down the grocery store aisle and stare at the many shelves of vitamins and supplements. They look alike, they make extravagant promises, prices aren’t bad…how do you choose a multivitamin? Does it matter or are they all equally good products?
It does matter which ones you choose and they are definitely not created equal. With a few simple principles in mind you can easily choose the multivitamin that’s best for your body and pocketbook.
Do You Need a Multivitamin?
The best way to get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients our bodies’ desperately need is from fresh, whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins deliver an abundance of the vital nutrients we crave. However, this doesn’t always happen. Much of the foods we eat are grown in nutritionally depleted soils. The results are the fruits and veggies we eat don’t have all the nutrients they used to have.
Today’s modern world keeps us rushed and busy 24/7. This lifestyle leaves little time to prepare and eat all of the fresh foods we need for good health. That’s where supplements come in to help.
What to Look for and What to Avoid
To insure that your body gets all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs we turn to vitamin and mineral supplements. But, with so many choices it’s hard to know what’s the best. Liquid, capsules, multivitamins, individual supplements – where do you begin?
Taking a high quality multivitamin is a great way to protect your health today and tomorrow and when you know what to look for and what to avoid you can make an educated product purchase.
There are several key vitamins and minerals you want your multivitamin to have. Once you find these ingredients make sure the product offers 100% DV (daily value) for each.
Avoid mega doses of vitamins and minerals and stick to 100% DV for each. There are certain vitamins and minerals that can be toxic to the body if too much is taken.
- Vitamin A: Take no more than 4,000 IUs daily.
- Vitamin E: Take no more than 100 IUs daily.
- Vitamin B6: Take no more than 100 mg daily.
- Iron: Only take up to 18mg daily.
- Phosphorus: Take up to 350 mg daily.
- Beta Carotene: No more than 15,000 IUs daily.
Proper intake of nutrients is essential for our bodies to function properly daily and to protect against the onset of chronic diseases (cancers, heart disease, diabetes 2, Alzheimer’s, and other degenerative diseases). We use nutrients for energy production, cell growth and to fight against cell degeneration or aging.
Once you find a multivitamin with the desired ingredients in the correct amounts you must look for reputable companies that produce high quality vitamins that your body will absorb.
You can take vitamins but if your body fails to absorb them you’ll just be creating what Dr. Victor Hubert of Mount Sinai Medical School calls “expensive urine”. You’ll be wasting your money.
So how do you know that the vitamin you want will be absorbed? There are several items to check for to insure high quality vitamins.
Liquid or Tablets?
This is a common question for many people when shopping for a multivitamin. In general, a high quality multivitamin in pill form can be as effective and absorbed just as well as liquids. There are also low quality liquid vitamins that the body doesn’t absorb.
Liquid supplements can be especially helpful for children and seniors. Both may have trouble swallowing pills and vitamin pills may cause stomach upset. Either way, pills or liquid the product must be high quality.
Choosing a High Quality, Reputable Vitamin Manufacturer is Essential
The first thing to look for is the expiration date. Many consumers forget to check this and buy outdated products that are ineffective.
Next look for the USP seal. The USP is the United States Pharmacopeia. They ensure that the product you’re choosing meets pharmaceutical guidelines not just food grade guidelines. Most cheap multivitamins meet only food grade guidelines. These products are generally lower quality and less able to be absorbed and utilized by the body. Many of the USP certified vitamins are called nutraceuticals.
You want to purchase a multivitamin without a lot of synthetic fillers and additives. Just reading the label can make this difficult to determine, ask a pharmacist for assistance. Another way to find out more about the manufacturer before making a purchase is to research a few online. Visiting the company’s website usually provides more details about the quality of the product.
Look for companies that manufacture at labs in the USA (or wherever they’re located); avoid ones that ship off manufacturing to the lowest bidding country.
Today it’s really important to supplement your diet and taking a multivitamin is a great way. Make sure you choose one that your body can use. Take a little time to make an educated choice and once you find a reputable company you can use it for all of your nutritional needs.