Multivitamins: What Supplements Should You Take?

With our hectic lives today, it can be hard to eat right all the time. No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just don't have the time or effort to make a full, well-balanced meal. While vitamins and minerals are not meant to take the place of food in providing you with the nutrients you need to stay healthy, they are good to take in a supplementary form, since no one is perfect when it comes to eating habits.

So what should you look for when choosing a multivitamin?

Vitamins and Minerals

Women who are looking to take a multi vitamin for nutritional support should make sure that their vitamin of choice contains folic acid, since this helps prevent birth defects in any child she may conceive.

Women should also look for a multivitamin containing calcium and Vitamin D since these said in bone formation and repair, and thus help prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D and calcium are especially important during and after menopause.

Iron deficiencies are also common in menopausal women, so women who still have their menstrual cycle will want to look for a multivitamin with iron in it.

You may also want to take Vitamin B12 in supplemental form since some people lose the ability to absorb it from food with age (over 50), but they don't lose the ability to absorb it from supplements. If you are vegetarian you should strongly consider taking a B12 supplement since it's only available in animal products and some fortified foods.

If you do opt to take any type of Vitamin B supplement, make sure you are getting 100% of your recommended daily values in all types of Vitamin B. This is because all types of Vitamin B work together, so taking more of one type and less of the others is pointless - the different types of Vitamin B need to be in proportion in your system to work properly.

Quality and Cost

As of right now, there is no universal quality standard set in place for vitamin and mineral supplements. This means that you should stick to brands you know and trust. However, this does not mean that a more expensive vitamin is better than a less expensive one.

The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) does have a voluntary testing gprogram called the Dietary Supplement Verification Program. Products bearing this mark have passed USP tests to ensure that they contain the ingredients listed on the label, they contain the listed amounts, they dissolve effectively, they do not contain harmful ingredients, and they were manufactured using safe and sanitary procedures.

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