The Essential Multivitamin Guide
Enjoy vibrant health and add years to your life by optimizing your nutritional status with a well-designed multivitamin. This exclusive special report will tell you everything you need to know about how to select the best multivitamin for you.
The verdict on multivitamins is in — taking a multivitamin that provides optimal dosages of key nutrients may be the single best investment you can make now for your long-term health. However, you can’t buy just any multivitamin and expect it to work wonders. It’s important that you take the right multivitamin, so you don’t end up wasting your money, and missing out on their incredible health benefits.
In this exclusive special report, you’ll learn:
- How taking a multivitamin can put you on the path to optimal wellness
- How a hidden nutritional deficiency could be threatening your health
- The shocking truth about the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
- Why you can’t get the nutrients you need from food alone
- How to choose a multivitamin that gives you real health benefits
- How to avoid wasting your money on an inferior supplement
A Brief History of the Vitamins
For centuries, people throughout the world have recognized the value of eating certain foods for health. But in 1911, a Polish researcher by the name of Casimir Funk made a discovery that would change our ideas about food and health forever. He isolated a substance from rice bran that became the first vitamin, thiamine (vitamin B1). He didn’t know all that much about it, but he was certain of one thing — this substance was actually “vital” to life itself, so he coined the word “vitamine” to describe it. But, unlike many biochemicals that the body manufactures, this was something it was unable to produce. It had to be obtained from food.
The list of vitamin-deficiency symptoms includes everything from fatigue, depression, impaired cognitive function, compromised immunity, weight gain, dry skin, dental problems and more.
Since his incredible discovery, 12 additional vitamins have been identified, each of which is involved in the complex chemical reactions that create and sustain life. Some are involved in many processes throughout the body, while others play very specific roles. Vitamin K, for instance, is the nutrient that allows our blood to clot. Vitamin A starts the process of sending light signals from the retina of the eye to the brain’s visual cortex. Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorus levels in the body. And thiamine plays a role in energy metabolism.
Regardless of their roles, each vitamin is absolutely critical to our ability to thrive and survive. If we don’t get enough of any one of them, our health immediately suffers, setting the stage for chronic, degenerative disease. The list of vitamin-deficiency symptoms includes everything from fatigue, depression, impaired cognitive function, compromised immunity, weight gain, dry skin, dental problems and more.
Minerals Are Essential Too and Balance is Key!
Just as essential as the 13 vitamins are the 18 minerals our bodies require. (The word “multivitamin” is somewhat misleading, as multivitamins typically contain at least as many minerals as they do vitamins.) The minerals we need for life, including sodium, calcium and iron are the same as those found in the oceans of the world.
These minerals work together in very specific ways, and getting the proper balance is important. Magnesium, for instance, contributes to more than 300 different processes in the body, including basic energy production. Zinc allows our bodies to make proteins, including those that make up our DNA. Calcium makes our bones hard enough to hold our weight. Copper provides the strong cross-links that hold our connective tissue together. Though we may have only a few dollars’ worth of minerals in our bodies, what they do is priceless.
We get vitamins and minerals, along with other nutrients, primarily from the foods we eat. If we eat a diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, eggs, milk and some meat, we usually manage to get the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of the vitamins and minerals we need. However, leading experts warn that this is simply not enough.
The RDA Was Designed to Ensure the Bare Minimums Needed for Survival
The U.S. government established the RDA during World War II, when food supplies were limited, as part of an effort to prevent nutritional deficiencies among troops and civilians. (1) The RDA was designed to serve as a guideline for the bare minimums of individual nutrients that Americans needed to consume for survival. More specifically, these minimums were intended to prevent deficiency-related illnesses such as pellagra (niacin deficiency), scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) and rickets (vitamin D deficiency). The RDA was not created with the prevention of diseases of aging (such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s) in mind, nor to slow the aging process and extend lifespan.
If a Long and Healthy Life Is Your Goal, the RDA Won’t Cut It!
The fact is, if you want to live long and well, you need levels of some nutrients that are much higher than the current RDA.
There are many nutritionists and anti-aging experts who believe that the RDA is woefully inadequate, and in need of a major overhaul. There are some who would like to see it replaced with an “ODA,” or Optimum Daily Allowance, which would provide recommendations that reflect current research findings. Numerous studies have shown that higher levels of certain nutrients, such as vitamin D, may be needed for disease-prevention.
As evidence grows, most nutritionally minded professionals have shifted from thinking of vitamins and minerals primarily as substances needed to prevent deficiency diseases (which are actually relatively rare these days), to acknowledging their role in promoting optimal wellness and longevity. The fact is, if you want to live long and well, you need levels of nutrients that are much higher than the current RDA.
You Could Be Nutrient Deficient and Not Know It
It’s estimated that more than half of the U.S. population is deficient in magnesium; up to 54% of all adults over age 60 are low in vitamin D; and some 15% of people over 60 are deficient in B12.
The majority of Americans, young and old, fail to consume the recommended amounts of a variety of essential nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, vitamins D, E, A, B12, and even vitamin C. It’s estimated that more than half of the U.S. population is deficient in magnesium; up to 54% of all adults over age 60 are low in vitamin D; and some 15% of people over 60 are deficient in B12! Many more are borderline deficient in these and other nutrients.
The main reason for this lack of nutrients is that more than 80% of Americans do not consume anywhere near the five servings a day of fruits and vegetables required for optimal health. And while many of the foods we eat are fortified with nutrients (such as vitamins A and D in milk and B vitamins in flour), but this is scarcely enough to make up for suboptimal food choices.
How Healthy Are Your Fruits & Vegetables?
Even those who do eat the five-a-day apparently can’t be assured of getting what they need. A new study indicates that the average vegetable (even organic vegetables) found in today’s supermarket is up to 40% lower in nutrients than those harvested 50 years ago! This is because crop varieties are often selected strictly for high-yield, not taste or quality. Other studies have also found that the mineral content of fruits and vegetables depends on the soil in which they’re grown. As soil becomes depleted from years of overfarming, nutritive values fall.
On top of all of this, our bodies’ needs are increased by the demands of modern life, such as constant exposure to toxins in our environment, and physical and mental stress. Even if you get your 5-a-day, you still might need a multivitamin…especially if you fall into any of the below groups:
- People with intestinal absorption problems
- Long-term antacid users
- People who’ve had gastric bypass surgery
- People recovering from illness or surgery
- People with food allergies, especially if their diet is very restricted
- Vegans and vegetarians
Amazing Finding: Supplements Significantly Lower Death Rate
There is a strong scientific history supporting the health benefits associated with nutritional supplements. For instance, two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, along with Richard Passwater and Jim Enstrom, well-known pioneers in the field of nutrition, examined mortality rates in elderly Californians. They found that the death rate for supplement users was significantly lower than for non-users. Male supplement users had a 22% lower risk, and female users, a 46% reduced risk, over a given time period. (2) Later, Enstrom and colleagues found that supplementation with vitamin C in excess of 250 mg a day reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 42% and lowered the risk of death overall by 35%, adding about six years of life expectancy. (3)
In two large studies of self-supplementation, vitamin E was associated with reduced coronary risk. The studies, conducted among 39,910 male health professionals and 87,000 females, found that men and women who took supplemental E for more than two years showed a 37% and a 41% reduction, respectively, in heart disease. (4, 5) And new benefits continue to be found. Three recent studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reinforce the varying and important roles that vitamins can play as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The first study found that women with high intakes of calcium from both food and supplements — up to 1,300 mg day — appear to have a lower risk of cancer overall, and both men and women with high calcium intakes have lower risks of colorectal cancer and other cancers of the digestive system.
A second study showed that women who took a combination of B vitamins, including folic acid, B6, and B12, decreased their risk for age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of severe irreversible vision loss for older Americans. The third study suggests that higher blood levels of vitamin D make people less likely to develop respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
Astounding News from NIH: Taking a Multivitamin Can Positively Affect Longevity
Ongoing research at leading institutions world wide continues to prove that taking a multivitamin consistently can have not only a positive affect on your everyday life, but also on how long you live.
One breakthrough new study suggests that multivitamin use can actually affect longevity at its most basic, cellular level. A study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that multivitamin use is positively associated with telomere length in women.
A telomere is a DNA region at the end of a chromosome that protects the end from destruction. Longer length has been positively correlated with longevity. In the study, the relative telomere length of leukocyte DNA was on average 5.1% longer among daily multivitamin users, compared to nonusers. Multivitamin supplements represent a major source of micronutrients, which may affect telomere length by reducing oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. (6)
Why a Multivitamin Is Your Best Line of Defense
Multivitamins are absolutely the best way to make sure you are getting optimized levels of the nutrients you need. In fact, a multivitamin is the one nutritional supplement more people take than any other. And there are good reasons for that. It’s the best way to get a good balance of all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Taking just a few individual vitamins or minerals is more likely to cause imbalance or over-dosage than taking a well-formulated multivitamin. Even doctors are more likely to recommend a good multivitamin supplement than individual nutrients.
And the truth is that a multivitamin is always more convenient and cost-effective than buying and taking individual nutrients. If you don’t currently take a multivitamin, or if you take one of the drugstore brands that provides just 100% of the RDA across the board, it’s imperative that you read on to learn how you can get what you really need to experience the best health possible.
Don’t Be Left Out of the Multivitamin Revolution!
Americans love to take their vitamins! More than 150 million Americans take dietary supplements, according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement industry trade group. The most popular nutritional supplement is a multivitamin, with some 50% of the U.S. population using them.
A good number of the people who take supplements are health care professionals. Some 72% of doctors and 89% of nurses use nutritional supplements. Those who take vitamins themselves are also more likely to recommend them to their patients. What does this tell us? The people who have the most contact with, access to and knowledge of pharmaceutical drugs are turning to dietary supplements to help keep them young, which is among the top reasons health care professionals report for taking supplements. (7)
Multi Miracles: 8 Amazing Things the Right Multivitamin Can Do for You
By now you might be getting a sense of the benefits of multivitamins. Below, you’ll learn more about the particular aspects of health that multivitamins can improve and the nutrients important to those aspects.
Here are just some of the amazing things a comprehensive, high-potency multivitamin can help you to do:
#1: Put Your Aging in Slow Motion
Oxidative damage to cells by free radicals has been implicated in most diseases associated with aging.
Optimum amounts of key vitamins and minerals can counter many of the processes than cause premature aging. These processes include oxidative or free radical damage, glycation reactions related to high sugar levels, reduced methylation due to low levels of certain B vitamins, and telomere shortening, related to DNA structure in cell division. Here are some of the ways this “premature aging” can occur:
- Human cells in a magnesium-deficient environment literally age faster, due to accelerated rates of damage to telomeres. (8) Magnesium deficiency affects more than half of all people in the U.S.
- Oxidative damage to cells by free radicals has been implicated in most diseases associated with aging, including cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Antioxidant nutrients like vitamins E and C, and selenium, help to prevent free radical damage.
- Sugar can literally stick to other molecules, causing harmful glycation reactions. Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, can block some of the pathways by which high blood sugar promotes tissue damage. In one study, thiamine reduced sugar-related damage by 80%. (9)
#2: Reduce Your Risk for the Big C
Some researchers believe that at least half of all cancers are lifestyle-related. That’s good news because it means you can really reduce your chances of developing cancer. Anti-cancer nutrients like vitamins A, C, E and D, folic acid, selenium and calcium are a big part of the strategy. They help your body fight off cancer before it has a chance to outwit you.
- Women with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had half the risk of breast cancer compared to women with the lowest blood levels. (10) Another study found that a good blood level of vitamin D was associated with half the risk of colon cancer compared with low blood levels of the vitamin. (11)
- Low antioxidant levels, measured by blood tests, have been linked to an increased risk for breast cancer. Women with low vitamin A had double the risk for breast cancer. Women with low vitamin E had nearly three times the risk. (12)
- High calcium intake (1,300 mg a day) is associated with a decreased risk for colorectal cancer. (13)
#3: Help You Maintain a Strong Immune System
People who take a multivitamin are less likely to call in sick from work.
People who take a multivitamin are less likely to call in sick from work, and that may be because just about every vitamin and mineral plays a role in fighting infections and healing wounds. You really do need a good balance of all of them. Those with a long-known history of infection-fighting include vitamins A and C, and zinc.
- Vitamin A deficiency reduces the response of both T and B lymphocytes and decreases antibody response to antigens. Vitamin A is especially important in keeping the skin and mucous membranes of eyes, throat, mouth and lining of intestines intact. These surfaces are the first line of defense against many kinds of infection.
- Vitamin C enhances the body’s resistance to infectious diseases and many types of cancer. It strengthens and protects the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells, antibodies and interferon, a protein that provides protection from viral invaders and cancer cells.
- Low vitamin D has been linked to a high rate of upper respiratory infections, especially in people with asthma and COPD. Vitamin D may also help to reduce risk for autoimmune disease. (14)
#4: Help Your Heart
The nutrients found in a multivitamin can help your heart and cardiovascular system by helping to maintain normal blood pressure, preventing abnormal blood clotting, and stopping the oxidation of cholesterol, one of the processes that leads to plaque build-up.
- People with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D (below 15 ng/mL) have twice the risk of a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack, heart failure or stroke compared to those with higher levels of vitamin D. Those with high blood pressure and low D levels are most at risk. (15)
- Folic acid, B12 and B6 can prevent damage to blood vessels caused by high homocysteine levels. In one study, high doses of these three Bs significantly reduced the progression of early-stage subclinical atherosclerosis, as measured by thickening of the carotid artery. (16)
#5: Keep Your Bones and Joints Strong and Healthy
Bone remodeling (the process of breaking down and re-forming) occurs over a lifetime. Joints can do some of the same thing, producing cartilage and synovial fluid to keep them operating smoothly. Unfortunately, the wear-and-tear of a lifetime of use, plus any injuries we sustain, can make it harder to keep our bones and joints healthy.
Nutrients help keep bones and joints healthy simply because they supply the raw materials your body needs for maintenance and repair. Although the focus typically is on calcium and vitamin D, many nutrients are absolutely needed for strong bones and joints. Vitamins C and K, magnesium, copper, zinc, boron, manganese and the Bs also help form bones and joints. That’s why it’s best to take a multi, not just a few individual nutrients.
- Magnesium may play as much of a role in preserving bone density as calcium. High blood levels of magnesium are consistently associated with better bone mineral density. Magnesium seems to act as the “glue” that binds calcium and another important mineral, fluorine, to build bone. Many older people have low magnesium intake.
- Vitamin C is an essential co-factor in the cross-linkage of collagen fibers, a process that gives bones, cartilage, and other tissues strength and resilience. In one study, people with the highest vitamin C intake had about half the risk of the joint breakdown of osteoarthritis as people getting the least amount. (17)
- Adequate copper increases collagen synthesis in articular chondrocytes, the cells that produce cartilage in joints. In one study, animals bred to have a propensity for osteoarthritis that got extra copper had a 20% increase in collagen formation. Copper is processed out of a lot of foods and many people don’t get enough.
#6: Maintain Your Memory and Cognitive Health as You Age
B12 may actually help keep your brain from shrinking.
Your brain requires nutrients to make the neurotransmitters that allow it to function, and to maintain its structure of neurons and blood vessels. Some of the early, subtle symptoms of vitamin deficiency are clouded thinking, loss of motivation, mild depression and irritability. The B vitamins play a major role. But so do lots of other vitamins and minerals you find in a multi, such as vitamins D and E, magnesium and iron.
- You may be less likely to have symptoms of depression if you take a daily multivitamin, especially if you are older and ill. Symptoms of depression include problems with sleeping and appetite, loss of interest in usual activities, feelings of fatigue and worthlessness and diminished ability to think or concentrate.
- Folic acid and B12 are two nutrients most likely to help lift depression, and B12 may actually help keep your brain from shrinking. One study found that people with the lowest blood levels of B12 had about 6 times more brain shrinkage as people with the highest B12 levels. (18) People with low blood levels of folic acid are nearly twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s as those with higher blood levels.
- Getting enough D can improve mood and memory problems. In a group of older people, those with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to have mild depressive symptoms such as lack of interest or indecisiveness than people with adequate levels. Deficiency was also linked to poor memory, judgment and problem solving. (19)
#7: Keep Your Eyes Healthy into Your 80s, 90s and Beyond
Your eyes can provide a window for looking at your overall picture of health. Cataracts, for instance, are caused in part by oxidative damage due to sunlight and low levels of antioxidants. Damage to the retina of the eye, such as macular degeneration, can be due to microcirculation problems and damage from high blood sugar, high homocysteine levels and low levels of antioxidants and B vitamins.
Light sensitive cells in the back of your eye depend on vitamin A and zinc to do their job. Eyes also have a special need for the yellow pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, which accumulate in eyes and, like yellow sunglasses, screen out harmful blue light. In fact, so many nutrients play a role in eye protection that good multivitamin and good diet really are your best protection.
- Vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration, a condition that affects the blood vessels of the retina. High levels of homocysteine are associated with dysfunction of the blood vessel lining. This trio of B vitamins reduces homocysteine levels. (20)
- Vitamin C accumulates in the watery areas of the eye and helps protect them from harmful sunlight. In one study, people who took supplemental vitamin C had less than half of risk of developing cataracts as those who did not take supplemental C. (21)
#8: Promote Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails
We may think of these body parts as strictly cosmetic, more affected by the beauty counter than by diet, but that’s not the case. Our skin, hair and nails all originate from deep layers of the skin, and act as good indicators of our general nutrition. Thinning, dry hair, brittle or peeling nails and skin rashes or breakdown (especially around the mouth) can all be signs of nutritional deficiencies.
Many nutrients are involved in keeping skin, hair and nails healthy: vitamins A, C, E, the Bs and minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium. So we recommend a multivitamin, not just a supplement aimed at hair or nails. Research shows that taking a multivitamin every day increases the speed of nail growth. And a multivitamin is standard care for healing pressure ulcers. Nutrients can be super skin, hair and nail savers.
- Vitamin C is needed for two key enzymes involved in the synthesis of collagen, the connective tissue that holds your skin together. Extra vitamin C (beyond the RDA) increases collagen production, and contributes to optimal collagen density in the skin, making skin thicker and more wrinkle-resistant. (22)
- Biotin plays an important role in the health of nails and hair. This vitamin is an essential cofactor in the production of proteins that help cells stick together. Problems with these proteins show up as a brittle nails. Research showed that people with brittle nails who got 2.5 mg of biotin over a six-month period had a 25% increase in nail bed thickness. (23)
- Zinc and copper help skin stay resilient, wrinkle-free and young-looking. (24) Many nutrition experts consider zinc supplementation essential for optimal health in older people. But it’s important to get a proper ratio of zinc to copper, since too much zinc interferes with copper absorption. A general recommendation is about 1 mg of copper for every 10 mg of zinc.
Not All Multivitamins Are Created Equal…So How Do You Choose?
If you’ve ever struggled over the fine print on a vitamin bottle’s label, you know how hard it can be hard to pick the best multivitamin for you. There are lots of formulas, each with a different mix of nutrients.
Premium brands often have more of the expensive nutrients, like vitamin B12, and contain forms of nutrients that are more expensive and bulkier, but more bioavailable, like chelated minerals — minerals combined with amino acids to make them easier to absorb.
One-a-day formulas, while they may seem convenient, never contain sufficient amounts of all the nutrients you need for optimal wellness in forms that can be easily absorbed — there simply isn’t enough space inside one capsule! At a minimum, a multivitamin formula that provides effective, research-based doses of important nutrients will fall somewhere in the 2-a-day to 6-a-day range.
Stay away from multivitamins that provide “100% of the RDA” across the board. If the majority of the ingredients it contains are equivalent to 100% or less of the RDA, chances are it is too weak to be effective at warding off chronic disease and extending lifespan. Vast amounts of clinical research has proven that much higher doses of many vitamin and minerals than what the RDA specifies are needed to slow aging and prevent disease.
In addition, there are some potentially life-saving antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid, curcumin and CoQ10 that are not even included in the RDA’s list of “essential” nutrients. These antioxidants have been extensively studied and proven to safely and effectively slow the aging process by protecting cells from free radical damage.
The older you get, the more important it becomes to include antioxidants in your supplements regimen. A multivitamin that provides effective doses of antioxidants is a good option for two reasons:
1) It can save you money — buying individual antioxidants supplements separately can get pricey.
2) Certain antioxidants actually enhance the effects of other nutrients when they are combined, so getting them in a multivitamin is ideal.
However, as with vitamins and minerals, it’s important to make sure your multivitamin includes significant dosages of antioxidants, not minuscule amounts that the manufacturer has included just so they can put the ingredients on the label.
If you’re age 50 or older, a multivitamin designed specifically with the aging body in mind is your best choice. It will have the things you need: high doses of vitamin D, high amounts of the homocysteine-lowering triad folic acid, B12 and B6, trace minerals in their most absorbable form, and high levels of antioxidants like vitamins C and E, and selenium. Look for a multivitamin that provides the antioxidant equivalent of at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. It will not contain iron, which can act as a pro-oxidant in older people. If you are over 50 and taking a multivitamin that contains iron, you should consider switching immediately to an iron-free formula.
Learn How to Play the Label Game
It’s important to make sure your multi contains high enough levels of its ingredients to have significant effects. Some vitamin manufacturers load their products with tiny amounts of “extras.” The long list on their labels may look impressive, but the amounts are too small to be effective. That’s why, when you shop for a multivitamin, it’s good to have an idea of what you are looking for.
Here is a list of the ingredients it should include and the dosages you need for optimal effectiveness. Use this list to compare brands nutrient-for-nutrient and see how they stack up.
These vitamins are absolutely essential to your ability to survive and thrive. With each of these nutrients, it’s important to make sure you are getting the form that has been proven in studies to be the safest and most effective.
|Ingredient||What to Look For|
|Vitamin A||5,000 IU as beta-carotene and mixed carotenoids. This is the safest form of supplemental vitamin A.|
|Vitamin C||500 – 1,000 mg as ascorbic acid, which studies have shown to be the most effective form of vitamin C|
|Vitamin D||600 – 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which is the form studies have shown to be up to 87% more potent than the D2 form|
|Vitamin E||200 – 400 IU of natural vitamin E. The natural form of vitamin E will be listed as “d-alpha-tocopheryl,” whereas the inferior synthetic version has just one extra letter: “dl-alpha-tocopheryl.”|
The B-complex vitamins listed below are essential for nerve function, energy production and immune health. Getting the proper balance of dosages is critical.
|Ingredient||What to Look For|
|Thiamine (Vitamin B1)||25 mg|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||25 mg|
|Vitamin B6||50 mg|
|Folate (Folic Acid)||400 mcg|
|Vitamin B12||300 – 500 mcg|
|Pantothenic Acid||50 mg|
The minerals your cells need to function optimally work together in very specific ways, and getting the proper balance is critical. The one mineral that you want to avoid in a multi is iron, as it can accelerate aging in adult males and post-menopausal women. Additionally, some minerals, such as molybdenum, potassium and phosphorus are so abundant in the diet that it’s not necessary to get them from a multivitamin.
|Ingredient||What to Look For|
|Calcium||200 – 800 mg|
|Magnesium||100 – 400 mg. The ratio of calcium to magnesium in your multi should be approximately 2:1.|
|Zinc||10 – 20 mg|
|Chromium||200 mcg of niacin-bound chromium, which will be listed as “chromium polynicotinate”|
|Copper||1-2 mg. The inclusion of copper in a multi that contains zinc is vital, as excess zinc can cause copper depletion in the body.|
These are the key antioxidants to look for in a multivitamin — it doesn’t need to contain them all, but the more of them that it does contain, the better. However, it’s important to make sure that they are included at levels at or above the amounts recommended below to make sure you are getting a truly effective dosage. Also check to make sure that any ingredients that have been extracted from a plant have been standardized for potency.
|Ingredient||What to Look For|
|Lutein||At least 5 mg|
|Zeaxanthin||At least 0.5 mg (5 mcg)|
|Lycopene||At least 2 mg|
|Alpha Lipoic Acid||At least 25 mg|
|Curcumin||At least 10 mg of standardized curcumin|
|Grape Seed Extract||At least 50 mg of a standardized extract|
|Green Tea Extract||At least 50 mg of a standardized extract|
|CoEnzyme Q10||At least 10 mg|
|Ginkgo Biloba||At least 100 mg of standardized ginkgo|
|Resveratrol||At least 500 mg of standardized resveratrol|
|Quercetin||At least 500 mg|
Buyers Beware: Read This Before Purchasing a Multivitamin!
There have been a number of recalls of dietary supplements, mostly diet products, in the U.S. in the past year. Some are due to contamination with drugs or other substances, often by ingredients imported from China or other places outside the U.S. These ingredients come from unqualified suppliers, whose facilities are not being properly monitored. The ingredients are not properly tested for purity or potency before being added to make a nutritional product. Or, if they are tested, they are not tested for unknown contaminants, which slip through the cracks.
For your safety, make sure that the multivitamin you choose is:
- Made in the USA in FDA inspected facilities
- Manufactured to cGMP (certified Good Manufacturing Practices) or USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) standards
- Guaranteed to be free of toxins, contaminants and low grade ingredients
- Contains no iron, if you are over 50, unless you have a diagnosed iron deficiency and supplementation is recommended by your doctor
- People tend to get into trouble with a multivitamin if they decide that more is better. Stick with the dosage on the label.
- Don’t take both a high-potency multivitamin in combination with individual nutrients without medical supervision. You could easily get too much. Easiest to O.D. on: trace minerals (like selenium, zinc, copper, manganese and chromium) and the fat-soluble vitamins, which are vitamins A, D, E and K.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about potential drug-nutrient interactions before you start taking a multivitamin.
Get the Most Out of Your Multi
- Take it with meals. Digestive enzymes secreted during meals help you absorb nutrients better. Taking it on an empty stomach can cause upset.
- Take it in divided dosages throughout the day. That’s because absorption goes down as dosage goes up, at least for some nutrients, like calcium and zinc. Keeping individual doses low can increase absorption by up to 50%.
- Take it separate from fiber supplements and additional calcium. Both can interfere with mineral absorption.
- If you have low stomach acid, consider taking it with a digestive enzyme.
Live Better Today & Longer Tomorrow
Want to live a long, healthy life? There may be no better way to improve your chances than by taking a comprehensive multivitamin in conjunction with a healthy food choices and an active lifestyle.
The fact is that it’s impossible to get enough of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need for optimal health and disease-prevention from food alone. A shocking number of Americans are deficient in essential nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and B12, to name just a few, leaving them needlessly vulnerable to accelerated aging and chronic disease.
Numerous studies have shown that you can boost your health dramatically and essentially delay aging by getting optimum amounts of key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you are not taking a comprehensive, high-potency multivitamin that provides the correct dosages of these nutrients, you are shortchanging your health and could be cheating yourself out of a long, vibrant life.
The choice is simple — try a multivitamin. Let every system in the body reap the benefits so you can enjoy a long and healthy life
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Article updated on: January 23rd, 2011