Choosing a Multivitamin or Multimineral Supplement
The many meanings of "Multi": Check each product carefully. Some "Multi's" are mulitvitamins, and some are multimineral. Many are combinations of the two. Because many minerals, like calcium, are quite bulky, supplements which have both vitamins and minerals may have only minimal amounts of certain ingredients. This is important to know if you are trying, for example, to supplement a specific amount of calcium per day. Likewise, you may find other combos that require you to take more capsules, tablets, or dissolved powder to get the full daily requirement (or more) of most nutrients. Additionally, some formulas may be tailored specifically towards the needs of children, women, pregnant women or seniors.
Carefully check the total amount of ingredients you are taking. If you are already using other supplements, check all of your supplements for totals of ingredients which can be toxic over time in large doses. (Vitamin A can be toxic in doses of 25,000 IU or more per day long term, particularly if you have liver impairment or are pregnant). Please visit RDA values and toxicity information for a complete listing of dietary nutrients and uses.
Are you pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant, or lactating? You should choose a prenatal vitamin to make sure you are getting adequate doses of folic acid, iron and other nutrients for you and your baby's increased nutritional needs. Your baby's needs for folic acid are most critical during the time before you may even realize you are pregnant, so begin supplementing early (800 mcg folic acid per day) to help prevent fetal abnormalities such as neural tube defects.
Does quantity matter to you? Some multi's may suggest you take 4, 6, even 8 capsules or tablets per day in divided doses to meet their recommendations. If it is important to you to have something that you need to take less frequently, read the dose instructions carefully. Compare desired nutrient values.
Do you have difficulty swallowing pills, or do you have a very sensitive stomach? You might consider trying a powdered or liquid multi for improved ease of ingestion.
Iron. If you are a women of childbearing age, pregnant or nursing, you will most likely need supplemental iron, depending upon how much iron you are already getting in your diet. Otherwise, unless your doctor specifically recommends it, it is better to select an iron-free multi.
Sensitivities and dietary preferences. If you have sensitivities or are otherwise trying to avoid certain ingredients like citrus fruits, dairy, glutein, soy or animal source products, carefully check the list of ingredients.
The very best way to find out exactly which vitamin is right for you is to ask a qualified nutritionist. She can ask you a series of questions about your health and your goals, as well as provide a lab test which will show exactly which nutrients you need to focus on. Contact us for a phone or email consultation!