When starting a health program, most people feel inclined to begin with a multivitamin. While a multi vitamin does not contain a high enough dosage of any one nutrient to be considered ‘treatment’ for any specific health concern; a multi vitamin is still a useful supplement. I consider a multi vitamin essentially a ‘peace of mind pill’; providing nutrients that one may be lacking in a less-than-optmial diet.
Just as there are various brands and qualities of automobiles on the market, the same is true for brands of nutritional supplements. Marketing plays a big role in sales…What brand names come to mind when you think of multi vitamins? Now go and check their labels! Sadly, just because a brand has been ‘marketed’ successfully does not necessarily mean that it provides the best nutrient value or is the cleanest supplement.
To help guide you in the right direction of a quality multi vitamin, keep your eye on the following:
1. I am a big advocate of label reading, beginning with the non-medicinal ingredients. The non medicinal ingredients can very quickly shed light on the quality of the supplement you may be considering.
A quality multi vitamin should always be free from sugar, lactose, sucrose, wheat, dairy, artificial colourings and chemicals.
I recommend choosing a multi vitamin that is free from synthetic additives such as: propyl ethylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, FD & C colorings, cotton seed oil, mineral oil, aspertame, sorbitol, carmel color, corn starch, methylparaben, dl’alpha tocopherol (synthetic vitamin E), propylparaben, hydrogenated oil, sunset yellow FCF coloring and sodium lauryl sulfate.
These agents are an extra burden for your body and should be avoided in all supplements.
2. Check out the amount of B vitamins provided in your supplement.
B1-thiamin, B2-riboflavin, B3-niacin, B5-pantothenic acid, B6-pyrodixine, B12 -cyanocobalamin, folic acid and biotin are all part of the vitamin B group. B vitamins are essential for healthy nervous system function, supporting our bodies during times of stress and used for concentration, energy and endurance.
The B vitamins are water soluble, which means that they are not stored in the body. When under stress our bodies require higher amounts of this group of nutrients. I like to see at least 25 mg, and ideally 50 mg or higher of most of the B vitamins in a multi-vitamin.
3. Ensure that the vitamin E contained in the multi is from a natural source. The body utilises and absorbs synthetic products very differently than a natural source vitamin. You can tell the difference by reading the fine print. Synthetic vitamin E is identified as: dl’alpha tocopherol. The presence of the ‘L’ means that it is synthetic. A natural source vitamin E is identified as d’alpha tocopherol and ideally contains mixed tocopherols such as beta, delta and gamma tocopherol for enhanced benefits.
4. Choose a supplement that contain Vitamin D3 in the form of cholecalciferol, which is easier for the body to use than its alternative -ergocalciferol.
5. Calcium. The recommended daily allowance of calcium is between 1000 mg-1200 mg daily for a women aged 30-40. This dose is not possible in a multi vitamin, simply due to the size of the pill required to provide that dosage unit, thus supplementation with extra calcium will be useful. That said, you can ensure that you are taking a multi vitamin containing calcium CITRATE for best absorption.
6. You can find multi vitamins in tablet, capsule, liquid and chewable form. It is likely that liquids and chewable vitamins contain additional sweeteners, so read the fine print for details.
7. To best utilise the benefits of the nutrients and for added energy throughout the day, take a Multi Vitamin with your morning meal.