How to Choose a Multivitamin
Overwhelmed by supplement selections, not understanding what vitamins to take or the appropriate dosage, many people decide that vitamins “don’t work,” or throw money away because they don’t know how to choose a multivitamin.
To encourage confusion, practitioners hold different schools of thought regarding vitamins and supplements. Medical doctors are not required to take nutrition in many medical school programs. Fortunately, most understand the relationship between health and a balanced diet, and some research this topic for their own study, but that may not translate into expertise regarding vitamins as supplements – what to take, how to take them and how they can further support health and prevent disease.
The First Step Is Food, Second Step Vitamins
Food should serve as the primary source of nutrition, so learn what foods contain the highest amounts of each vitamin. The body best absorbs vitamins and minerals from food. Yet I find that our lifestyles and environment interrupt our best efforts to sustain a balanced diet to include enough servings of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, good fats, and lean proteins to keep us healthy and strong enough for the active lives we lead. When this is the case, a high-quality multi-vitamin and/or supplement supports the body to augment a balanced diet, when diet alone can’t sustain health.
(Check out Dr. Weil’s blog on taking vitamins posted 3 weeks later – I can only conclude that he reads my blog.)
Let’s be clear – popping vitamins or supplements to offset your processed food, fast food, or imbalanced diet of any kind, will run your credit card up as your health runs down. Vitamin and mineral supplements never substitute healthy food choices. They can, however, elevate, enhance, or augment areas of underperformance in the body when taken:
- in proper doses
- in absorbable forms
- at appropriate times of day
- as instructed with or without food
Where to Begin Choosing a Multivitamin
Watch my short video on how to choose a basic vitamin!
Begin with a healthy, balanced diet, and if you experience signs of aging or feel less great than you would like, your body may be telling you it needs some support. If you decide to try a multivitamin, by one of quality; I agree many are a waste of money. I like Dr. Weil’s formula and I trust his ratios. I also like products by DaVinci. You have to buy DaVinci through a doctor’s office, but many offices sell them online. You can find Dr. Weil’s vitamins through amazon and vitacost.com.
Antioxidants and Aging
I understand day–to–day healthy diet obstacles. We over-schedule ourselves, eat on–the–go, and sometimes need convenient food. (I fail to see how this justifies a whopper meal as the only resort.) Our bodies require more sleep and rest than we give them, our immune systems fight toxins in the environment from pollution and allergens (both natural and synthetic), and we fight carcinogens daily which requires our antioxidants to work 24/7. Our bodies both slow down and stop antioxidant production at certain ages, depending on the antioxidant. As our bodies age, without additional antioxidant support or very high intake of fruits and vegetables, carcinogens deplete our bodies of antioxidants and disease overtakes our immune systems.
Most people in their 20s can care for themselves less and feel the consequences less. But there are consequences–it’s called your 30s and 40s. And if you’re lucky, it’s called your 50s. Drinking less than 64 ounces of water daily, too little sleep, not eating a balanced diet, and lack of exercise in your 20s will lead to antioxidant depletion, and the first inconvenient aging signs are typically noticed in our 30. Wrinkles, minor aches and pains, stiffness, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, weight gain, less energy, insomnia – recognize the list we justify as “getting old”? But nobody’s aging process is written in stone, and you can delay yours in direct proportion to how well you nourish yourself.
If you suspect your body needs more support than a multivitamin, seek the advice of a trusted resource with supplement knowledge who can help you decide what you should try, how much to take, and in what form. Find a recommended nutritionist or dietician in your area. Dr. Weil has a Vitamin Advisor on his web site, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.