Thursday, January 8, 2015

Choosing a Multivitamin

It’s a fact that you can get all the vitamins and minerals you require as long as you eat different kinds of foods. But taking a pill may help picky eaters or those who don’t eat right. In such a case, a lot of registered dietitians and nutrition experts advise taking a multivitamin supplement daily to make up for poor eating habits.

But with the large number of multivitamins found in the market today, choosing a multivitamin can be confusing. There are many questions to answer. How do you find the right brand? How do you save money? Should you buy a multivitamin with extra calcium and vitamin C or go for so-called special formulas instead?

First, don’t assume that you’re in good hands with expensive brands or multivitamins sold exclusively at health food stores. In truth, you can find good products that don’t cost a fortune at your local drug store. Some generic products are great too. The National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine said multivitamins should meet at least 100 percent of the Daily Value for the following: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B12, B6 (at least 100 milligrams or mg), vitamins C and D, less than 100 mg of vitamin E, and folic acid.

The product should have not more than 15,000 International Units (IUs) of beta-carotene (the vitamin A found in foods) and over 4000 IUs coming from retinol. As far as minerals are concerned, the multivitamin should contain 18 mg of iron and at least 100 mg of magnesium. These basic requirements should be found in the product you select. To check this, just read the label.

Other minerals that are beneficial to health are 0.9 mg of copper, 50 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, and 11 mg of zinc. If you’re worried about calcium, you’ll learn that multivitamins normally have only 200 mg of calcium. Since your body needs 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium daily, get the rest by taking three servings of dairy products everyday. One serving has about 300 mg of calcium and can be found in a cup of milk or yogurt, an ounce of cheese or a cup of calcium-fortified orange juice. 

The things you can do without are extra iodine, manganese, molybdenum, chloride, boron, biotin and pantothenic acid since you’ll find them in the foods you eat. There’s also no need to take extra potassium and phosphorous because these are required in small amounts and happen to be in many foods like fruits and vegetables.