How To Choose A Multivitamin

 

Multivitamins are the foundation of a sound dietary supplementation program. They offer convenience, balance and economy. Recent studies have also shown that multivitamins can improve immune systems in the elderly and reduce the risk of birth defects. To select the multivitamin that's right for you, talk to a healthcare practioner trained in nutrition and your local health food store personnel and read the label carefully!

Here's What To Look For:

DOSAGE:

While it's preferable to obtain nutrients at intervals throughout the day, many multivitamins are available in one, two or three-a-day formulas. Select a dosage that is convenient and ensures you obtain all the necessary nutrients.

DOSAGE FORMS:

Multivitamins are available in tablets, capsules, Vegicaps , powders and chewables. Select a form you prefer to take daily. For example, vegetarians may prefer Solgar's all vegetarian Vegicaps or tablets.

FORMULA CHARACTERISTICS:

Avoid formulas that contain synthetic fillers, excipients and allergens. They may hinder absorption, induce allergies, upset the digestive systems or cause binding. You may also want to avoid salt, sugar and starches.

NUTRIENT LEVELS:

Make sure your multivitamin contains the nutrient levels needed to balance your diet.

NUTRIENT SOURCES/FORMS:

Usually presented in parenthesis after the name, this term typically refers to either the source or the form of the ingredient for you to determine whether that ingredient meets your specific needs.

VITAMIN A/BETA CAROTENE: A range of nutritionally important carotenoids, not just beta carotene alone. Avoid synthetic beta carotene altogether. People who are inefficient at converting carotenes into vitamin A may want to include preformed vitamin A as well.

NATURAL VITAMIN E:

Your body preferentially retains and transports natural vitamin E which is identified by the "d-" prefix. The synthetic form (noted by "dl-") should be avoided because it is rapidly excreted from the body.

B VITAMINS:

Look for formulations containing the entire B vitamin complex and associated factors due to their synergistic activity. B vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, cobalamin, biotin, pantothenic acid and folic acid.

CHELATED MINERALS:

Minerals that are chelated (bound) to amino acids offer maximum absorption and utilization.

PHYTONUTRIENTS:

Phytonutrients such as d-limonene, genistein, sulforaphane and grape seed extract are important food factors that have recently been shown to provide powerful protective benefits. You may wish to select a multivitamin that also includes these cutting-edge nutrients.

ANTIOXIDANTS:

Antioxidants help protect the body from free-radical damage. Some vitamins (A, C, E) and minerals (selenium, zinc, copper) are anti-oxidants or form antioxidants in the body. However, other nutrients such as, coenzyme Q-10, alpha lipoic acid, carotenoids, bioflavonoids and some amino acids are important antioxidants as well.