Since I read about the study that linked taking vitamins to a significant reduction in cancer rates and general mortality, I've had the intention to start taking one: A Multivitamin. But, when I venture into the health food store and hit the vitamin aisle... let's just say I feel overwhelmed and leave with nothing but a vegan donut.
With a wall of multivitamins before us, which one do we choose? What should we look for? What do we need to know? Well, we're going to answer all these questions now, so that next time, we're all better equipped.
Here Is Your Checklist to Choose the Best Multivitamin
1. Look for the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Stamp. This volunteer-based, not-for-profit organization tests supplements (if requested by the manufacturer) to ensure that they contain the ingredients listed on their labels, in the amounts listed, dissolve effectively, do not contain harmful contaminants and were manufactured using safe and sanitary procedures. This is the only way to know that you're really getting what they say you are!
2. Are you a man? Woman? Child? Senior? Pregnant woman? Then take a multivitamin that has been specially formulated for you. Generally speaking, this is not a marketing ploy.
3. If the product doesn't have an expiration date, don't get it. Even multivitamins need to be fresh and lose their potency as time goes on.
4. No nutrient is an island unto itself, meaning every nutrient requires other nutrients to function properly. Look for a broad range of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and antioxidants.
5. Select supplements that do not contain any fillers or additives (examples include: sugar, starch, gluten, silica (sand!) or any artificial colors or flavors).
6. Look for chelated minerals indicated on the label. Chelation is a process that binds fatty acids or amino acids to a mineral, which aids absorption into the body.
7. Shop carefully if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Many store-brand and mainstream brands include fish oils or gelatin derived from pork or beef. Look specifically for brands labeled as suitable for vegans or vegetarians.
8. And last - though neither least nor surprising - choose a mutlivitamin made with organic ingredients. Afterall, you're taking it to promote your health in the first place. An organic multivitamin will be free from synthetic chemicals, pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics. All good things to avoid.
We would be remiss not to mention that taking a multivitamin and subsisting on donuts alone is not conducive to great health. A multivitamin paired with a healthy diet of whole foods, on the other hand, and things are looking up.