According to the American Medical Association, most people, even the most vigilant health experts, are unable to give their bodies optimal amounts of vitamins and minerals simply through the foods they eat. Multivitamins were created with this in mind and provide an easy way meet the body’s daily vitamin and mineral needs. But how do you know you are taking the right vitamin and how do you know you’re body is absorbing what it needs for optimum health? Here are a few tips for choosing the right multivitamin.
Consider the quality of your vitamins
As with any dietary supplement, the first factor to consider is the quality of your multivitamin. Cheaper is certainly not better if you have to take 10 times as many vitamins to make up for lesser quality. A few tips for ensuring high quality: 1. Choose a brand that has a proven track record- highly visual, and recommended, familiar brands are your best bet for high quality vitamins.
2. Choose a multivitamin that bears the “Pharmacopoeia” (USP) seal on the label, or participates in the “Good Manufacturing Practices Certification Program (GMP) of the Natural Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA.) This verifies the supplement has a safe manufacturing process for optimal quality. If not present, you may need to research the company further.
Familiarize yourself with recommended allowances referred to on vitamin labels:
RDA: Recommended Dietary Allowance: This is the amount needed to meet the requirements of 98 percent of the population.
AI: Adequate Intake: If there is no RDA for a certain nutrient, this value will be used in its place.
UL: Tolerable Upper Limit: This is the maximum amount of a nutrient you can ingest without causing adverse effects.
% DV: Percent Daily Value: The Daily Value is based on the 2,000-calorie diet which is considered the approximate energy intake of the average adult.
DRI: Dietary Reference Intakes: This term incorporates four sets of standards: Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), which is the amount of a particular nutrient designed to meet the nutritional requirements of half of the population; and RDA, AI and UL.
Examine your diet
To determine which multivitamin is best for you, it is necessary to thoroughly examine your diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s good pyramid website, mypyramid.gov is a great place to start, while free weight loss analyzers are offered online and provide better insight into your diet: Jillian Michaels online or the Denise Austin, Fit Forever. These will help to you answer the basic question, “What did I eat today?” and determine how close you are to getting the nutrients you need.
Choosing the multivitamin that is right for you
In most cases, you will find your needs fall into one of the common multivitamin formulas: Men’s, Women’s, Senior, Children’s. Unique circumstances include pregnant women, or those with special needs. Regardless of which is right for you, choose a multivitamin with no more than 100% of the DV of a wide range of vitamins and minerals and modify fortified foods to avoid adverse health effects from over-intake.
You may also want to consider taking your additional supplements in a separate pill. Multivitamins can only include so much and while those antioxidants or herbal supplements are frequently making their way into multivitamin formulas, the amount may not be sufficient for what you are taking it for.
Iron-free to meet certain dietary requirements
This iron-free multivitamin contains vitamins and minerals important for proper body function in quality forms and safe doses. The body needs these vitamins and minerals for optimal protection, growth, and maintenance of body systems as they age. The vitamins and minerals in this formula play many important roles in the body.
Swanson Premium Brand Daily Multi-Vitamin & Mineral
An excellent all-purpose multi to help ensure that your basic dietary needs are met this balanced formula combines a healthy supply of 18 essential vitamins and minerals in each convenient capsule. It’s a great way to cover your nutritional base
Last but not least, take the time to research your vitamins and the company that produces them. Know what you are taking and in what quantity as well as quality, and you will get the most out of your multivitamin.