Multivitamin Purchasing Guide

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With so many multivitamins on the market, it can be difficult to choose one that is right for your needs. The first step towards selecting a multivitamin is choosing which type of multivitamin will best meet your individual requirements.


Choosing the right multivitamin

To choose the right multivitamin, you should consider your current health status is.  If you are healthy but want to prevent chronic diseases, then you might just need a basic one-a-day supplement that contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals.  On the other hand, if you have a chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, you may need a more potent multivitamin with additional ingredients.  If you are on a strict diet or have food allergies and sensitivities to gluten or dairy products, then you might consider a product that is free of those allergens as well.

Types of Multivitamins

One-a-Day Multivitamin

These basic multivitamins are great for when you are on the go, but can’t always eat a well-balanced diet.  Typically they contain only the necessary vitamins and minerals in adequate amounts to meet your daily requirements.

Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement

This type of multivitamin provides additional nutrients to your overall health, such as extra calcium or B-vitamins.  These supplements are beneficial for people who lead an active lifestyle, eat a balanced diet, and want to take extra precautions to improve their overall wellbeing.  The jury is still out on the benefits of vitamin and mineral supplementation for people who do not have nutritional deficiencies.

High-Potency Multivitamin

These multivitamins contain a large dose of specific nutrients or ingredients such as antioxidants, Omega 3 fatty acids, herbs, probiotics, vitamins D and E, CoQ10, ginkgo Biloba, saw palmetto, or grape seed extracts.  These supplements are beneficial for those who want additional nutritional support and may be more susceptible to chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, osteoporosis, and hypertension.

No Additives Multivitamin

Multivitamins that do not contain preservatives, colorings, artificial flavors, sweeteners, and yeast are the best choice for most people.  This type of multivitamin is free of known allergens such as gluten, lactose, nuts, and soybeans.  Many people who have allergies to these products can still take a multivitamin containing them because they rarely cause allergic reactions.  The exception is yeast, which can cause allergic reactions in some people.

Food-Based Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement

These supplements are derived from whole foods that are specifically formulated to improve health and provide more nutrients than their typical counterparts, such as whole grains or legumes.  For example, one product uses spirulina, which is a blue-green alga that is rich in vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, amino acids

This type of multivitamin is beneficial for those who have allergies to dairy products, gluten, soybeans, nuts, and yeast.  It can also be beneficial for those who suffer from fatigue as well as people who need more nutrients than they are getting from their daily food intake.

What to look for in a multivitamin

While there are many multivitamins on the market, not all of them were created equal.  There is no standardization in terms of ingredients and dosage amounts within each product so it is important to look out for certain things before choosing a multivitamin.

For example, some products may contain more than the daily value amount of fat, calories, or sugar.

In terms of bioavailability, it is important to look for a multivitamin that has been formulated with nutrients that are more easily absorbed by the body.  Bioavailability can be increased by using ingredients such as amino acids and essential oils in a supplement.

The importance of taking vitamins on an empty stomach

This will help promote absorption and prevent nutrient loss.  It is also important to note that if you take a multivitamin with food or coffee, the nutrients in the supplement may be blocked from being properly absorbed. Drink coffee at least 30 minutes before taking a multivitamin so that it can have its full effect on your body.

Tips for choosing the best multivitamin for you

Read the ingredients list on the label so you know exactly what you are putting into your body.  Look for a multivitamin that contains all of the essential nutrients as well as additional ingredients such as herbs, amino acids, and digestive enzymes.

The dose amount is important to look at since some multivitamins contain too much of a certain nutrient and others do not have enough to be beneficial.  It is highly recommended that you consult a doctor or nutritionist for advice on what multivitamin will best meet your needs.

Advice on how to get your kids to take their vitamins every day

Children do not like swallowing pills and most won’t take it without some form of candy.  It is important to look for a chewable multivitamin that your children may enjoy taking with you.

You can also try making a smoothie using vegetables such as spinach, kale, or broccoli along with fruit to mask the taste of the multivitamin.

Another tactic is to give your child a multivitamin that can be added to their favorite drink or snack, such as yogurt or smoothies.  Also, kids are more willing to take something they can see and feel, so incorporating fruit pouches with vitamins inside will also help them get the needed nutrients.

Multivitamin Precautions

Do not take more than the recommended amount of manganese, iron, copper, choline, fluoride, vitamin K, selenium, or zinc due to excess amounts that could lead to health problems. If your multivitamin contains choline combined with no-flush niacin (a type of B vitamin), you may experience flushing.

It is best to speak with your physician before taking some multivitamins, due to some containing high levels of iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, calcium, Ginkgo Biloba, and vitamin A that could result in negative interactions with other medications.

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