While eating a well-balanced meal is important for long-term health, many Americans find they can’t get all the nutrients they need from diet alone. This is due to a number of factors depending on the individual, but can include dietary restrictions and less-than-ideal diets. Since a healthy diet consists of consuming over 40 nutrients per day, even someone with a stellar diet can have difficulty meeting this goal. Multivitamins cause no harm, and they often provide health benefits by boosting the average daily diet.
What to Look For in Your Multivitamin
When you scan the aisle for a multivitamin, the myriad of choices can be overwhelming. There are a few things to keep in mind when narrowing down your choices.
- Carefully read the label—Check which nutrients are listed in the particular multivitamin, as well as the amount of each.
- Get the most important vitamins and minerals—Important vitamins and minerals include vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid, B12, B5, biotin, A, E, D2 or D3, K, potassium, iodine, zinc, selenium, borate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, beta-carotene and
- Check the percentages—A good rule of thumb is to choose a multivitamin that has 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for the majority of vitamins and minerals that are in the supplement. Certain nutrients, such as magnesium and calcium, often aren’t included at 100%, because it would make the pill too large to swallow.
- Look for extra benefits—If you have particular nutritional needs or conditions, you can look for a multivitamin that best fits you. Some come with or without iron, or contain other nutrients like antioxidants. Others are specialized for a particular use, such as prenatal vitamins for pregnant women.
- Formulas by gender and age—Look for a multivitamin that is tailored to your particular age and sex, as it will provide more or less of certain nutrients based on your body’s needs.
- Don’t take more than is needed—Some multivitamins contain well over 100% of the daily recommended values, but it’s best to avoid these because some nutrients can be toxic in large doses. Remember that some of your nutrition will come from the food you eat as well.
Multivitamins come in many different forms, such as pills, gel capsules, liquids and gummies. No matter what form you choose, look for one that is regulated by the FDA. This will ensure that what’s in the multivitamin matches what is on the label.
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