How To Choose a Multivitamin
A multivitamin is a combination of different nutritional elements such as vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. It acts as a dietary supplement providing the recommended nutritional elements to your body.
What Are the Benefits of Multivitamins?
Multivitamins are known to boost the intake of nutrients and to prevent chronic diseases. Other than these primary benefits, others include:
- Improves muscular strength.
- Contains vitamin D, which prevents deficiencies and reduces the risk of breast cancer and other types of cancer.
- If taken by women before getting pregnant, the folic acid protects newborns from neural tube defects.
- Prevents B12 deficiency in vegans.
- Has B vitamins that improve short term memory loss.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Improves your mood and contributes to emotional wellbeing.
How to Analyse a Multivitamin Label
Before you settle for a specific multivitamin, it is important to understand its content.
- Glandular multivitamins: They contain nutrients derived from mammals.
- Whole food based: These multivitamins contain non-synthetic and non-isolated nutritional elements harvested from whole foods, mainly dried foods.
- Standard multivitamins: Contain chemically isolated synthetic elements.
What Should You Look for in a Multivitamin?
Different people have varying nutritional needs, and as such, you should choose a multivitamin that matches your needs. Here are some of the factors that you should look for:
- Vitamin E mainly from mixed tocopherols.
- Check for the daily dietary reference intakes.
- Vitamin D- The most preferred is vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol).
- Check out for the industrial seal.
- Vitamin B-12: Comes in the form of Hydroxocobalamin, Cyanocobalamin, and Methylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin is the most preferred form of B-12.
- If you are allergic to allergens such as gluten, soy, or dairy, go for allergen-free multivitamins.
What Are the Ideal Potency Considerations for Multivitamins?
Here are some of the terms that you should be familiar with:
- Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): These are quantitative estimates of the intake of nutritional elements used for assessing and planning diets for healthy people.
- Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): Average daily nutrient intake levels required to meet the nutritional needs of healthy people of a particular age or gender.
- Adequate Intake (AI): Average daily intake levels that are considered sufficient for healthy people.
- Tolerable Upper Intake levels (UL): It is the highest recommended level of daily nutrients intake that can be consumed without posing any health risks to the general population.
Buying and Storing Multivitamins
Ensure that you buy multivitamin supplements from trusted stores. Also, check for the tamper proof seal. Store your multivitamin supplements in a cool, dry place out of reach of children. Always check for the expiry date.
Side Effects of Multivitamins
Multivitamin supplements rarely cause harmful side effects when consumed as instructed. However, some of the side effects that most people experience are diarrhoea, constipation, stomach upsets, nausea, temporary staining of teeth, unpleasant taste in the mouth, and dark coloured urine and stool. If you experience allergic reactions when exposed to foreign substances, ensure that you get allergen-free multivitamin supplements. These side effects are short-lived and mainly go away on their own. However, if they persist, you should consult a doctor.
Multivitamins have lots of health benefits when consumed as per the recommendations. If you are not sure of the type of multivitamin that suits your needs, feel free to seek advice from medical practitioners.