Multivitamin supplements are available in an overwhelming selection of pills, capsules, enteric-coated pills, powders, liquids, and chewables, with special formulas for men, women, active people, older people, stressed-out people, and pregnant people, among other peoples. How in the world does one decide? Below are a few tips to help narrow down the choices:
1. Consider a formula that's gender and age appropriate, as men and women and younger and older adults require different nutritional needs.
2. The strongest formula isn't always the best choice. Watch out for too much Vitamin A, E, and Iron, especially. For Vitamin A, look for a multi that contains no more than 4,000 IU (Too much reportedly leads to liver abnormalities and central nervous system disorders, among other ills.). For Vitamin E, 100 IU is generally enough, and for Iron, between 10 and 18 mg is generally sufficient, as the recommended level of iron is 8 mg for men, 18 for pre-menopausal women, and 8 mg for menopausal women. Vegetarians generally require a higher dose in their multi, as the iron found in plant foods is often not as easily absorbed as the iron in meat.
3. Other rules of thumb to follow: Women should look for adequate supplies of calcium and Vitamin D to keep their bones strong.
4. Don't rely on pills alone! Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to obtain as many nutrients from food as possible.
Excellent information. I just read an article that said unless your bone density test was bad or you're over 65 you don't need the added calcium. I do take 400 IUs of D-3 in addition to 400 mcg of folic acid which my psychiatrist said would boost my antidepressant. This is in addition to a generic multivitamin. After your article, I'll pay more atttention to my multi!
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