December 8, 2011

How to Choose a Multivitamin

Again, WebMd has an article when needed. The last blog about supplements was inline with this. We do need to be aware of supplements and which ones are age appropriate. It appears that the food industry goes out of their way to prevent balanced nutrition with the highly processed foods we are exposed to in the stores. It should not be that difficult to eliminate the highly processed foods, but occasionally they can be substituted with little nutritional damage, but only occasionally.

If you are using supplements to fill in the nutritional gaps, you may want to consider a multivitamin. We do not always use the best eating plans or have a dietitian or nutritionist available to consult on a regular basis, so depending on the test results from your doctor, you may need a multivitamin to fill in the gaps. If so, which one do you chose when you are looking at the large variety on the shelf? I would encourage you to read the WebMd article as it covers many points.

First, make sure that your daily food intake includes a variety to be complete in nutrients as possible. This may eliminate the need for a multivitamin, but depending on the tests done by your physician, do consider supplements or a once daily multivitamin if necessary. “The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified 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.” 

Some pointers to consider while looking over the variety of multivitamins include: reading the label carefully, getting the basic vitamins and minerals, check the percentages of what the multivitamin has listed, look for extras that you may not need or do need, check the formulas for men, women, and age, and do not overdo the multivitamin routine.

Look for the multivitamin that fits your sex, stage in life, and your health conditions. This more than a salesperson's promotion should determine what is appropriate for you. Most multivitamins are sold in capsule form, but they are also available as tablets, powders, chewables, and gummies. Liquids and injectable formulations can be found that can be administered by healthcare providers.

Supplements and multivitamins can lose their potency over time and especially when improperly stored. Also, check expiration dates, store in a cool dry place and avoid hot, humid places like the bathroom. Make sure that the location is secure and out of the reach of children.

It really does not seem to matter when you take the multivitamin, but taking it with food can be an advantage in lessening stomach discomfort. “A measure of safety is to look for the designation "USP" on the label. A multivitamin that meets the requirements of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia (USP) meets the standards and ensures the product is pure and actually contains the listed ingredients.” Always consult your health care provider when taking any supplement or multivitamin to be sure that they will not have conflicts with prescription medications.

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