What to Look For In a Multivitamin

With so many multi vitamins on the market today, how do you know which one is right for you? Some contain only a few minerals, which may mean that you might not get your daily intake of certain supplements, while others may contain more than you need. Some come in tablet form while others are consumed as capsules. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for a multivitamin:

Does it Have Enough of My Daily Value?

The multivitamin should have roughly 100 percent of your complete Daily Value (DV) of essential minerals and vitamins for your body. However, calcium is the one exception because one cannot fit 100 percent of calcium into a small multivitamin tablet or capsule. Also, be aware of how much vitamin A is in the supplement because taking more than the recommended 100 percent of the ingredient can cause birth defects and may put postmenopausal women at an increased risk for bone fractures. Instead of choosing a multivitamin with vitamin A, to be on the safe side, stick with one that has beta-carotene.

Do You Need a Certain Formula?

Most men and women can take a basic multivitamin for their everyday lives. However, some individuals may need extra vitamins or minerals in order to sustain healthy bodily functions. For example, women who are trying to conceive should begin to take a prenatal supplement, even if they are not yet pregnant, because these products contain significant amounts of nutrients that are vital to a developing fetus including calcium, folic acid, zinc and iron. People over the age of 50 can benefit from a formula manufactured specifically for senior citizens that includes extra calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. There are mixed opinions regarding the safest amount of iron, and disagreements abound as to whether or not extra iron causes heart disease. However, if you have been diagnosed with hemochromatosis, also known as a health condition in which you have too much iron in your body, make sure the supplement you choose has no additional iron.

What about the Extras?

It is always best to stick with the basic multivitamin mainly because many years of research have been devoted to these nutrients. On the other hand, ingredients such as amino acids, green algae, enzymes and EGCG, or herbs like gingko, do not have enough research to back up the claims that they are beneficial and safe to take. While herbs can provide health benefits, it is better to simply take the herb by itself than combine it into a multivitamin.

How is the Multivitamin Designed?

Consider the efficacy, or the ability of the supplement to produce a certain effect, when comparing multivitamins. Some vitamins and minerals, when combined in certain ways, can increase their effects sometimes two or three times over. Other substances, regardless of whether they are natural or manmade, can be dangerous when mixed incorrectly. In order to find a safe, quality multivitamin, make sure that the design of the supplement is of professional quality.

What is the Quality of the Ingredients?

Depending on whether the supplement is a generic or brand name, the quality of the multivitamin can be vastly different. The cost of the individual ingredients may play a role in the quality of the supplement, so some multivitamins may cost more depending on what they contain. When choosing the best multivitamin, consider its purity, quality and potency before any other factor because the final multivitamin is only as good as the products that it is made out of. The manufacturer should have a concrete strategy to verify that the ingredients they use to make the supplement are the same as the suppliers claim.

How is the Supplement Manufactured?MP900402390 239x300

Large vitamin manufacturing companies may not spend enough time mixing their ingredients, as some may use a ribbon-type blender that only combines ingredients for roughly 20 minutes. The company may not spend as much time blending the lower dose vitamins, so they may not be mixed as well as they should. Also, it is important to know that the vitamin must be encapsulated or put into tablet form within two hours of mixing to make sure that the final product is of the finest quality. Make sure that the manufacturing company meets all pharmaceutical industry requirements for producing and marketing multivitamins.