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Choosing the Perfect Multivitamin

Paralyzed by the sight of a multitude of multivitamins on store shelves?There is a wide variety of multivitamins, so much so that making a selection can be a confusing and frustrating task for you. How then do you know which are the perfect multivitamins for you and your family?

Image Source: Marcelle Pick
Image Source: Marcelle Pick

The key to choosing the right multivitamin is to know yourself and your family, your needs and their needs. What nutrients are lacking in your diet? Are you pregnant or planning to become pregnant? Does your child have healthy eating habits? Is there a senior family member who has problems with mobility? Also, beyond what you can observe from the day-to-day, what is your family doctor saying about your family’s health? With this information, you will be able to make more confident selections!Here is a general guide for you to go by as you scout for multivitamins! (Adapted from Kathleen Zelman.)

  • Examine the label. Identify which nutrients are included and the amounts contained within each serving.
  • Get the basic vitamins and minerals. Most multivitamin preparations usually include: vitamin C, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, folic acid (B9), B12, B5 (pantothenic acid), biotin, A, E, D2 or D3 (cholecalciferol), K, potassium, iodine, selenium, borate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, betacarotene, and iron. (Read about the functions and sources of vitamins here.)
  • Check the serving size (percentages). As a general guide, choose one that provides 100% of the DV for most of the vitamins and minerals in that supplement. Avoid multivitamins that exceed 100% of the recommended DV. Supplements are taken in addition to the nutrients you obtain from food; some, in large doses, can build up and become toxic.
  • Lookout for “other ingredients”. Modern multivitamins are available in a wide variety of formulas that are aimed at helping people with specific nutritional or dietary needs. For example, some exclude the use of ingredients like soy, dairy, gluten, and wheat. Others may contain additional select nutrients like antioxidants, or formulations that are specialized to specific conditions, like prenatal vitamins.
  • Formulas for different genders and age groups differ. Choose a multivitamin designed for your gender and age so that the nutrients included will be right for you.
  • Consider the available forms of multivitamins. There are tablets, capsules, pastilles, powders and liquids. Chewable tablets are made available for children while adult gummies are an option for adults who love sweets!

Supplements like multivitamins should not replace healthy eating nor make up for unhealthy eating. They are meant to complement a healthy diet. Rather than acting as a “fix”, multivitamins enhance a healthy lifestyle. Do share with us which multivitamin works for you and how it has helped you in your daily life. If you have tried multivitamin gummies, we would love to hear from you too! Comment below or on our Facebook page to share with the community.

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