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Multivitamin Buying Guide
People barely take the recommended nutrition in today’s modern diet. This poses as a health risk because the body is not compensated well for the processes it executes. Most people are stressed daily and to make things worse, they do not take enough vitamins and minerals. Taking multivitamins is a good way to provide the body with the nutrition that most people fail to consume in their daily diet. If you’re confused on which type of multivitamins to buy, read this guide to help you choose the right multivitamin for your needs.
Vitamins vs Minerals
Multivitamin supplements contain both vitamins and minerals. Special supplements meant for stress management, for example, contain additional compounds such as caffeine and standardized panax ginseng extract. Some vitamins are fat soluble while others are water soluble. Make sure you take them after meals so they can be absorbed faster.
Tablet versus others
Some multivitamins like that designed for kids come in chewable tablets or gummy bears. Take note that the nutrients in chewable tablets are not as potent as those in coated tablets. Moreover, chewable gummy bears and tablets have additional sugar and flavoring in them. They are only ideal for parents who have a hard time giving vitamin and mineral supplements to their children.
Are you Vegan?
Most multivitamin supplements are manufactured using equipment that handled fish oils and other animal-sourced supplements like collagen. If you are a vegetarian, make sure that the bottle indicates that the supplement is safe for vegetarians.
Natural and Synthetic Vitamins
Some vitamins and mineral content of supplements are synthetic. Ascorbic acid, for example, is a synthetic form of vitamin C. Generic multivitamin supplement brands use synthetic vitamins because they are cheaper to acquire compared to extracting vitamins from food sources. Synthetic vitamins are the same as natural vitamins, but they have one big disadvantage: they make the liver and kidney exert more effort to process them. So if you have liver problems, the very best way to get vitamins and minerals is to source them from your food and drinks.
Amount per Tablet
Check the label on the box or on the bottle. Look for a table that lists the amount of each vitamin and mineral per serving. Next, check the percentage of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) beside the amount (in grams, milligrams or millicentigrams). The most common problem with multivitamins is that they contain too little of as many vitamins and mineral. Ideally, the amount of a vitamin or mineral in a tablet should be in milligrams. Few amounts in millicentigrams are quite a negligible amount. Some vitamins like Vitamin A and D3 are measured in International Units (UI). Check how much of the RDI and RENI do the vitamins fulfill.
It is easy to overdose on certain vitamins, like vitamin A. The recommended amount of Vitamin A for daily intake is just 2,500 IU. Make sure that you do not take a tablet more than the suggested dosage.
Number of Tablets
The amount of tablets per bottle or per pack matters. First, multivitamins with more tablets are more expensive. However, they save you from the hassle of having to restock every now and then. Also, those with more tablets have a lower price per tablet. A 60 tablet bottle, for example, may cost around 50 cents per tablet whereas a 100 tablet bottle of the same brand may cost 30 cents per tablet. A bottle containing more tablets is more expensive but you get more value for your money.
Always check the expiration date printed on the bottle. The expiration date is commonly 3 years from the manufacturing date. If the bottle has no expiration date, do not buy the supplement. Some retailers purposely smudge the expiration date. If the bottle contains 250 tablets and the expiration date is just a few months ahead, do not buy it unless you have a way to consume 250 tablets before the expiration date.
Generic versus Branded
Most people are torn between choosing a generic multivitamin brand for the sake of saving money or buying expensive branded multivitamins just to ensure that they get the best quality vitamins and minerals. Most generic brands are just as potent as expensive multivitamin brands. The only problem in some generic brands is the additional colorants and preservatives.
Check Your Condition
Most brands have multivitamins that are dedicated to certain people in different age groups. There are variants for children, for adolescents, for busy, young adults and for senior citizens. There are special formulations for pregnant and lactating women. Their multivitamins are usually fortified with folic acid or folate to prevent neural tube defects to the unborn or breastfed infant. If you take supplements that are meant for pregnant and lactating women, for example, you may be ingesting too high amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. Multivitamin supplements intended to cope with stress usually contains higher amounts of iron. Some even include Panax ginseng. Multivitamin supplements for men have higher amounts of zinc to keep their testosterone level optimal.
Preservatives, Colorants and Additives
Multivitamins cannot last long without preservatives. Some people are deterred by the kind of preservatives that are in most brands of vitamins. Tartrazine or FD&C Yellow#6 is the most common food coloring in tablets, especially in generic brands. Some brands even have parabens in them as preservatives. Magneisum stearate or stearic acid is another preservative used in both expensive and generic multivitamins . It is also used to prevent the capsules from sticking to each other. Recently, a lot of people are discussing the health issues associated with magnesium stearate. A lot of scientific researches prove its effectivity in harming T-helper cells. Almost all supplements in the market use magnesium stearate so it will be hard not to ingest it. Other additives include silica or silicon dioxide to prevent caking. Rice flour is a common additive used as a filler.
There are a lot of online reviews that you can access for free. Just make sure that they are written by people who are not affiliated with any brand of supplement.