A multivitamin (MV) is a dietary supplement that provides the recommended daily allowance of all of the necessary nutrients for humans in a single dose.It generally combines different vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients like dietary enzymes and even herbs to support the body throughout the day. Multivitamins and other supplements should not in any way replace a healthy diet and should only be used to aid nutrient intake for those who need more.
Benefits To Consider
- Increased nutrient intake
- Chronic disease prevention
- Decreased risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration
- Vitamin D from a multivitamin can prevent deficiency, as well as reduce the risk of breast cancer and other cancers
- Folic acid in a multivitamin aids in prevention of neural tube defects in newborns if mother takes a multivitamin before becoming pregnant
- Prevention of B12 deficiency in strict vegetarians or vegans
How To Read The Label
There are many different types of multivitamin on the market and it is important for you to know where companies are getting their ingredients.
- Glandular MV’s: These supplements often use nutrients harvested from various organs and tissues of certain mammals.
- Whole Food Based MV’s – The “cremde la crème of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants etc. “ Supplements made from concentrated whole foods, which are often dried food concentrates. These contain non-isolated, non-synthetic forms of supplements.
- Standard MV’s –Almost all multivitamins are from synthetic chemically isolated vitamins. These synthetic vitamins are not as well absorbed and may even cause imbalances in some individuals.
Whether your multivitamin is once daily or multi-dose is another important factor for you to consider. Consider taking a multi-dose supplement if you are able to remember to take the necessary doses needed. If you feel that you are only able to take one dose per day then it might be best to consider a single dose multivitamin.
Additives – Excipients are inactive substances that serve as a vehicle or medium for a drug or other active substance. They include binders, dispersants, coloring agents, fillers, and gelling agents. When choosing a multivitamin, consider a product that limits these excipients as some may have harmful side effects.
What To Look For In Your Multivitamin
- Make sure your multivitamin contains vitamin E from mixed tocopherols.
- Look to see what form of vitamin D is contained in your supplement. Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) is the preferred supplement form.
- Make sure if you have any allergens such as gluten, dairy, soy, etc. that your supplement is free of these allergens.
- B12 comes in many forms. Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxycobolamin, and Methylcobalamin. The best form to supplement with is Methylcobalamin.
- Your supplement label should also read “mixed-carotenoids”.
- Look for biologically active forms of supplements if possible.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) active form is pyridoxal-5′-phosphate, however most supplements contain pyridoxine hydrochloride.
- The active form of Folic Acid is 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate
Better absorbable form of minerals—bound complexes (aspartate, malate, citrate), or chelated (glycinate, bisglycinate).
Men and women require different nutrients, as do children, pregnant women, and elderly patients. It is important to remember to match your multivitamin to your lifestyle to get the best results.
Ideal potency considerations
- Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are reference values that are quantitative estimates of nutrient intakes to be used for planning and assessing diets for healthy people
- Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)- the average daily nutrient intake level sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all (97-98%) healthy individuals in a particular life-stage and gender group. Again this is only meant for healthy individuals and not individuals with acute or chronic illnesses.
- Adequate Intake (AI’s) – recommended average daily nutrient intake level based on observed approximations or estimates of nutrient intake, by apparently healthy people, which is assumed to be adequate. Set when insufficient data exist to determine an exact RDA
- The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the highest level of daily nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general population. As intake increases above the UL, the risk of adverse effects increases.
Be sure to store in a cool dry place, with little humidity, and remember to always watch out for expiration dates.