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How Should I Choose a Multivitamin?

Multivitamin Tips To Consider:

When it comes to meeting your nutritional needs, food will always come first, pills come second. While supplements can make up for nutrient gaps in the diet, nothing can replace healthy eating.   The synergistic effect of nutrients working together from food can never be duplicated in a pill.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s top nutrients of concern include: Vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and fiber. Make sure that any supplement you choose has an adequate amount of the first 3 nutrients. Fiber can be derived from foods such as: fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

As for what time of the day you should take them, it doesn’t really matter. Just be consistent so that you remember to actually take them. Some supplements may contain nutrients such as iron that can upset the gut. If this is the case, take the supplements with food.

Choose a formula that is based on your age and gender. Our nutritional needs change as we age and men and women require different amounts of nutrients at different life stages. For example, pregnant women need more iron than any other age group or gender.

Shop carefully if you are a vegan or vegetarian. Many supplements have animal by-products in their formulas.

Look for the ‘extras’ as needed. For example, pregnant women should take a prenatal supplement, the gluten-free crowd should look for a formula with extra B vitamins, and those with iron deficiencies should choose formulas that contain adequate amounts of iron.

The form also typically doesn’t matter unless it bothers you. For example, an enteric coating may be difficult for some to swallow therefore a liquid preparation may be more appropriate.

Enteric coatings are safe to consume and regulated by the FDA. The enteric coating is used for so many supplements as it is resistant to stomach acid therefore the supplement can pass through the stomach and reach the intestines where the nutrients will be assimilated into the bloodstream.

Time released formulas may slow down the transit time of some nutrients which could help with overall absorption.

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Do not go overboard with any specific nutrient or mega dose. There are toxicity risks to overconsuming supplements.

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