Many people wonder, do they need a multivitamin? The answer is a resounding YES! I believe everyone should supplement their health with a high-quality multivitamin, and here’s why:
Dude, your food is dead.
Despite claims that the U.S has the best food supply in the world, most of us don’t obtain sufficient amounts of essential nutrients from that supply for two reasons: most Americans are making bad nutritional choices; and much of our food is nutritionally dead. The effect of bad eating habits combined with soil that’s largely depleted of nutrients makes it difficult to get enough of the necessary nutrients from just food alone. If most of your dinner has been genetically modified, grown in nutrient-depleted soil, sprayed with pesticides, processed, packaged and trucked to your neighborhood, by the time it hits your plate, your meal is almost devoid of nutritional value. The result? Our bodies, though overfed, are left starving. A good multi-vitamin can help pick up the slack.
Have another bowl of spinach, Popeye.
C’mon, tell the truth: Do you eat the five recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables? If not, you’ve got plenty of company. According to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, only an estimated 9 percent of people do! So, if you’re falling short, supplementing with a multi can help fill in some of the nutritional gaps — but remember, it’s by no means a license to eat junk. A high-quality multivitamin won’t completely make up for a bad diet, but it will support and magnify the benefits of a good one.
But Doc, my diet is excellent.
That’s great — and keep up the good work! To get the maximum amount of nutrients possible at every meal, eating fresh, unprocessed, organic foods is essential. But even if you eat an organic diet packed with fruits and vegetables, I still recommend taking a multivitamin to insure you’re getting all the nutrients needed for optimal health and cellular function. We live in an unnaturally polluted and stressful world, which makes our need for nutrients much greater. Granted you’ve got fewer bad dietary habits to compensate for but regardless, extra nutrients from a multivitamin will help protect your body against a less-than-perfect environment and optimize your functioning. Supplements do not make up for a bad diet, but as the name says, supplement a good diet.
Multis make your engine purr.
Like a well-cared-for car, a body well-fueled with vitamins and nutrients will run more efficiently, last longer and need fewer repairs. Run a body on bad fuel and internal mechanisms will clog up, leaching supplies from other areas of the body to compensate for the deficiencies and eventually, functions will grind to a halt. Think of a multi-vitamin as being as necessary for your body as regular oil changes are for your car – multis help make your engine purr.
How and when to take them.
Most vitamins and minerals should be taken with food to enhance absorption. This is particularly true of oil-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A and E, coenzyme Q10, and the carotenes. In addition, protein in the diet helps mineral absorption. This doesn’t mean you need a full meal with your vitamins – just a few bites or a piece of fruit with some nuts will do the trick. The water-soluble vitamins, such as the B vitamins, are generally well-absorbed without food, but I would still recommend taking them with food to maximize the benefits.
How to pick a winner.
Look for multis in easily absorbed, capsule form with an enteric coating versus harder-to-digest tablet versions. And skip the old-school 1-a-days. As appealing as they might seem, there’s just not enough room in one pill to physically pack in enough of the minerals your body needs for optimal health into 1 tablet. To reach that higher level of minerals, you’d most likely have to take more than just one pill, which defeats the whole 1-a-day idea, so save your money. Instead, look for a multi that can be taken twice a day with meals.
How to spot a loser.
What’s in your multivitamin is just as important as what is not in it. Steer clear of multis containing sugar, lactose, artificial colors, flavors or excipients, the non-nutritional substance that holds tablets together and is also a common allergen. Better brands avoid the use of sugar, lactose, artificial colors, and excipients, while cheaper brands will usually use lower quality excipients and sub-par minerals like magnesium oxide, the cheapest form of magnesium. If you find magnesium oxide in your multi, it’s probably not high quality. A good rule of thumb when it comes to multis? Be “pound wise” and willing to pay a bit more to get the good stuff your body needs.
Multi made easy.
To simplify your search for a smarter, healthier and effective multi, I’ve expanded my line of products to include a complete Multi-mineral vitamin. My new multi formula is available in a bottle or as part of the “Daily Dose” kit, the essential supplements you need every day for optimal health, packaged in convenient single-use packets.