How to Choose a Multivitamin
There are lots of good reasons to take a multivitamin. Even the best eating plans can fall short of meeting all of the 40-plus nutrients you need each day. Most people’s fail to meet dietary recommendations for many reasons, including strict dieting, poor appetite, changing nutritional needs, or less-than-healthy food choices. Taking a once-daily multivitamin is an easy way to fill in small nutritional gaps.
But strolling down the vitamin aisle to choose the best multivitamin can be confusing. With so many different brands and varieties to choose from, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Why Take a Multivitamin?
In a nutshell, it’s wise to make sure your diet is complete with all the nutrients needed for health and wellness.
Healthy eating remains the best source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. A multivitamin is not a substitute for healthy food or a healthy lifestyle, but it can provide a nutritional back-up for a less-than-ideal diet. "If your diet eliminates whole food groups or you don’t eat enough variety of foods -- you would benefit from a once-daily multivitamin,
As Guidelines calcium, vitamin D, dietary fiber, and potassium as nutrients of concern for inadequate intake in adults and children. All of these nutrients, except fiber, come packaged in a multivitamin. Fiber can be obtained as a separate supplement, but it's still best to try to get all your fiber from the foods you eat.
Although some evidence questions the benefit of a daily multivitamin and its ability to stave off disease, many people add them to their diet to maintain or boost health.
Multivitamins are the most commonly used supplement, with 40% of men and women reporting they take a daily multivitamin.
What to Look for in a Multivitamin
- · Read the label carefully. Product labels identify which nutrients are included and the amounts contained within each serving.
- · Get the basic vitamins and minerals. Most multivitamin preparations usually include the following vitamins and minerals: vitamin C, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, folic acid (B9), B12, B5 (pantothenic acid), biotin, A, E, D2 or D3 (cholecalciferol), K, potassium, iodine, selenium, borate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, betacarotene, and iron.
- · Check the percentages. In general, choose a supplement that provides 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for most of the vitamins and minerals in that supplement. Some nutrients, like calcium and magnesium, are rarely included at 100% because the pill would be too large to swallow.
- · Look for the extras. Modern multivitamins are available in a wide variety of formulas that are aimed at helping people with specific nutritional needs or conditions. Some of the more popular ones come with or without iron, or as high-potency formulas that contain at least two-thirds of the nutrients called for by recommended dietary allowances. Other multivitamins can contain additional select nutrients like antioxidants, or formulations that are specialized to specific conditions, like prenatal vitamins.
- · Formulas for men, women, and age groups. Choose a multivitamin designed for your age and sex so that the nutrients included will be right for you.
- · Don't overdo it. Avoid multivitamins that exceed 100% of daily recommended values, because supplements are in addition to the nutrients in food, and some, in large doses, can build up and become toxic.
Selecting Multivitamins for Your Age and Sex
Most multivitamins are formulated for the nutritional needs of different audiences. "At different stages of your life, your nutritional needs change, and a well-chosen multivitamin can ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need as you age, In addition to multivitamins aimed at groups like seniors, some multivitamins are aimed at women of childbearing age who may need extra iron in their diet, or prenatal vitamins for women who are contemplating pregnancy or who are already pregnant.
Because most multivitamins don’t include enough vitamin D or calcium, as suggests taking these nutrients as additional supplements unless your diet is rich with milk, fish, and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
Tips for Storing Vitamins
Supplements don’t last forever and can lose potency over time, especially when not kept in proper storage. Check expiration dates, store in a dry, cool place and avoid hot, humid storage locations like bathrooms.
Keep supplements in a secure location out of children’s reach.
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