Mixed up About Multivitamins?
Don't get bogged down in the vitamin aisles. Find out what to look for when choosing a multivitamin and mineral supplement.
- Ask your store what they know about their products. Find out:
- What standards do they set for the supplements they carry? Does the store have strict quality control (QC) guidelines that screen out poor-quality supplement manufacturers?
- Are their supplements easily absorbed by the body? Does your store know if the manufacturers of their supplements do a "disintegration time test" on their supplements to determine when and how the supplements are absorbed by the body? If a supplement is not easily absorbed, most of the nutrients will pass through your body unassimilated.
- Does the manufacturer have integrity? Does your store know if their manufacturers cut costs by including unnecessary binders and fillers, which can be allergens? Does the manufacturer provide a guarantee that they include in their products what it says on the labels?
- Find the right amount of individual nutrients for you. Determine:
- How much of each nutrient do you need? Consult a naturopathic doctor, medical doctor or nutritionist to determine what percentage of or over the RDA of each vitamin and mineral you require. This is difficult to determine on your own, and the information in charts in magazines is often too general and minimizes the amounts needed. Also, men and post-menopausal women should not take supplements with iron unless directed to do so by a physician (to avoid iron overload).
- Does the supplement contain synthetic additives? Scan the ingredient list for unnecessary additives (such as yellow dye #5, which may be allergenic).
- If you're buying a multivitamin and mineral supplement, choose a brand that requires more than two tablets/capsules per day, since the RDA of calcium and magnesium won't fit into one or two tablets. For many types of supplements, capsules are a good choice, since the body absorbs the nutrients from them more easily than tablets.
- A last note: Make sure you maintain a highly nutritious and varied diet! Ideally, you should not rely on supplements but, instead, get most of your nutrients from food.
Writer: Sydney Maupin, Staff Writer
Source: This information has been approved by Bastyr University nutrition faculty members and Alan Gaby, MD.
Learn more about the nutrition services provided by Bastyr Center for Natural Health, or schedule your appointment today.