Should I Take a Multivitamin? What are the Best Multivitamins?



Vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Should you take one of each or a one-a-day multivitamin? That’s a question which causes much confusion for the average consumer. Most people should be taking a multivitamin each and every day to ensure optimum health and to strengthen the immune system against colds, viruses, and various other common ailments. Some studies show that vitamins may help prevent certain diseases including heart disease, osteoporosis, and maybe even certain cancers. There have also been published reports showing that people who lack certain vitamins and minerals in their diets tend to age faster. More and more evidence suggests that multivitamins are a good bet for most people. You should check with your doctor first if you have any pre-existing conditions or any specific needs.

Ideally, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients should come from a well balanced diet. However, the reality is that most of us aren’t eating enough of the right foods. The American Cancer Society suggests eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day to help prevent cancer over a lifetime. To prevent diabetes, the American Diabetes Association suggests including fish in your diet 2-3 times a week. Most people are falling way short of these nutritional goals due to hectic lifestyles, poor eating habits, weight loss diets, and junk food. If you are one of those people who might not eat right every single day, a
multivitamin should be included in your diet as insurance and can help you get the essential
vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Who Else Should Take a Multivitamin?

Most people will benefit from a daily multivitamin, particularly pregnant women, people over the age of 50, dieters, vegetarians, and smokers. Smokers especially need their antioxidants. Cigarette smoke contains dangerous compounds called “free radicals”. These “free radicals” react with cells causing problems and abnormalities. Antioxidants can reduce their negative effects and greatly decrease the damage already caused by them. A good multivitamin should contain as many of the following vitamins and minerals as possible: vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, and vitamin B6, zinc, selenium, and copper.

Which Multivitamin Should You Choose?

When choosing a multivitamin, look at the label and choose one that has nutrient levels at or close to 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). For most people, a typical multivitamin is sufficient. Reputable manufacturers of multivitamin supplements include Twinlab, Solgar, Country Life, Nature’s Best, and Natrol to name just a few. There are also specialty formulas out there specifically tailored for men, women, children, seniors, athletes and bodybuilders. Bodybuilders and athletes deplete the vitamin and mineral stores in their body through strenuous exercise and weight lifting. These vital nutrients need to be replaced for peak optimal performance.

Additional Multivitamin Tips:
  • Not all multivitamins are created equal. If you’re unhappy with your current multi, find a formula you truly like
  • Multivitamins come in capsules, tabs, and even liquid formulas. If you have trouble swallowing capsules or tablets, you may want to give the liquid formulas a try.
  • If a multivitamin upsets your stomach, try taking it with food. This usually helps.
  • Do not take more than is recommended on the package. Most formulas call for “one-a-day”.
  • Calcium is especially important for women. Try and choose a formula with 100% of the RDA Recommended Daily Allowance of calcium in each serving.
  • While iron is essential to the human body, too much iron for men can be toxic and can potentially lead to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and liver disease. Most vitamin manufacturers make an “iron free” formula specifically for men. Try and find a formula that contains less than 9 milligrams of iron which is the amount experts suggest should not be exceeded.
  • Try not to buy “cheap” vitamins from close-out or dollar stores. They tend to be of less quality than more trusted brands and may even be past their expiration dates.

Multivitamin Precautions:

  • Pregnant women should always consult their primary physician before undertaking any vitamin or supplement program.
  • Severe vitamin deficiencies require medical attention and should not be treated with dietary supplements.
  • Various medications have the potential of interacting with your multivitamins. Again, please consult your doctor if you are taking any medication for a pre-existing condition.
Remember, a multivitamin is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition. Find a good multivitamin that is right for you, eat right, exercise often, don’t smoke, visit the doctor at least once a year and stay well.

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