With all the available options, how do you tell what’s best for you?
The primary purpose of a multivitamin-mineral complex is to provide a convenient way to take a variety of supplemental nutrients from a single product.
There are many, many products on the market today. As you look, be careful with companies that make bold statements, saying their product is the only option or that you can get everything in one, yummy pill. Actually, turn the bottle over to look at the ingredients list. If there are numerous words too difficult to pronounce, or with dye numbers, it’s probably a good idea to steer away from that multivitamin.
With regard to a one-a-day versus a high-potency multi, it is best to take high-potency multiples and to spread them out over the day. The one-a-day doesn’t provide significant amounts of nutrients. However, if it’s too difficult to incorporate more than one pill in your daily regimen, take only one of the high-potency multivitamins until you can incorporate more in your routine.
Should everyone take a multi?
Getting optimal nutrients from our food is ideal. However, it’s not a reality for many people—especially if you are under increased stress, taking medications or eating the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).
Prescription medications can deplete key nutrients. For example, cholesterol-lowering medications, like statins, deplete CoQ10; oral contraceptives deplete B vitamins; diabetes medications, like metformin, deplete vitamin B12.
In addition, vegan diets may be lacking B vitamins and vitamin D. This would make the need for a multi even more crucial for vegans or vegetarians.
Daily stress, hormone fluctuations and diseases also increase nutritional demands on the body. Since the body is constantly striving for homeostasis, providing it with the proper nutrients will help it achieve this balance much more efficiently.
In summary, a multi is a great idea to fill in your nutritional gaps and serve as “dietary insurance” or a “safety net” to best support your body.
How do you tell if a multivitamin product is good quality?
READ LABELS! It’s best to pick a multi with the purest and finest ingredients available. You want to have the best absorption and assimilation in order to benefit from a multivitamin.
A lot of inexpensive multivitamins save you money by using nutrient forms that are not absorbable. If you can’t absorb it, it will just pass through you and your “saved money” ends up in the toilet.
Look for a nutraceutical company with in-depth GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices) and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), which is important for quality control. This way, you know each supplement actually contains what is listed on the label, and there is minimal variability from bottle to bottle and pill to pill.
Here are some forms of nutrients that are the most active and best utilized by the body:
What is the best delivery method (capsule, tablet, liquid, chewable or IV)?
Capsules are usually preferred over other forms with regard to a multiple. Tablets often require other ingredients be added in order for the tablet to stay together, be shiny and later break apart in the gut. Plus, some people find capsules easier to swallow.
Unfortunately, multiples do not taste very good. Some of the chewable or liquid options are loaded with sugar and very low in essential nutrients in order to have a good taste.
If taking capsules is difficult, or if your body is under increased nutritional demands, nutrient IVs are an excellent option. Infusions of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants can be administered directly into the bloodstream for maximum effect with immediate availability. The advantage is an infusion can bypass the digestive tract for best absorption, plus you can safely receive higher doses that are generally not tolerated orally.
Should you take a multi with food?
It is best to take a multi with food to avoid any possible side effects (such as an upset stomach). Certain multivitamin-minerals supplements contain high amounts of B vitamins or iron. This can cause some nausea or digestive upset if taken on an empty stomach.
Another thing to consider is what the nutrients are bound to. If the form of nutrients is less absorbable, such as magnesium oxide, it can increase the risk of gastric upset, constipation or diarrhea.
It’s a good idea to avoid fillers, binders or lubricants in order to minimize the chance for side effects or allergic reactions to your supplements.
It is best for fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) to be taken with a healthy fat for best absorption.
Some vitamins and foods can enhance absorption when taken together. For example, citrus or vitamin C can enhance absorption of iron.
Are there some nutrients that should be separate from a multi?
Larger doses of minerals will compete with other minerals. That’s why it’s common for high-dose calcium-magnesium supplements to be separate from a multiple. Another example of this is zinc and copper. High dosages of zinc can cause copper deficiency.
For the general population, it is usually best to take a multi without iron. People should be tested for iron deficiency before routine intake of iron. Because iron requirements go up significantly when pregnant, it is common to have iron added in prenatal multivitamins.
At Integrative Health, we treat many patients who have thyroid disease. For those on thyroid medications, we recommend a multi without iodine. Iodine is one of the nutrients you can get too little or too much of, impacting proper thyroid function.
Integrative Health’s Daily Reset Packs:
To help our patients, we have formulated Daily Reset Packs. These packs provide a convenient way to take a variety of nutrients in their best forms and optimal amounts for your body’s needs.
Daily Reset Packs contain multivitamin-minerals, vitamin D, calcium-magnesium and omega fish oil. We suggest taking one packet twice daily with food. Each Daily Reset Pack contains 60 packets of pills, which will last for one month. The convenience of the packets is you don’t have to carry four bottles around and can easily carry a small packet with you when you are on the go. In addition, we have done the work for you, so you can streamline to the best, physician-grade nutrients on the market.