Have it be an experienced athlete or an average Joe, everybody at some point wonders about taking a vitamin supplement. Do we really need them? Which one should I get? When should I take them? These questions come up countless times.
The first piece of vitamin advice is that if you live in today’s modern society you need at least a multi vitamin and mineral supplement each day. The past thought was that if you eat a well balanced diet you would get plenty of vitamins and minerals from the whole foods. That was correct in the past, but with all of the modern methods of food production vitamin and mineral content has increasingly been declining. Some studies suggest that the average vitamin and mineral loss in produce has dropped 22% in just 75 years. It is becoming more difficult to get the minimum RDA’s from food, which simply prevent deficiency. It is almost impossible and unrealistic to get optimal vitamin and mineral levels that promote health with food alone.
The second piece of vitamin advice would be never taking a single nutrient alone. Vitamins and minerals do not naturally exist in isolation. They also do not work in isolation in your body. So simple logic will tell you not to take them in isolation. For example, one study found that homocysteine (protein indicator correlated with many diseases) levels were reduced by 17% when folic acid was taken alone. Those levels dropped 19% on vitamin B12 alone. Those same levels dropped 57% when folic acid and B12 were taken together. There was a 60% drop when folic acid, B12, and B6 were taken together. Can you see the pattern?
The last bit of vitamin advice for now is to split up the doses. The more nutrients taken at once by the body, the smaller percentage will be absorbed. That means that if you need to take two pills to get the full dose, then take one in the morning and one at night. You can also cut the pill in half if the serving is just one pill.
It can be tough when choosing a good multivitamin; especially since there is so much to know about vitamins. When shopping around for a good multivitamin there are 10 tips you should know. Read the following tips to guide you as you make a purchase of multivitamins.
- You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on a multivitamin. For the most part, they all work the same. The basics are all you really need to consume.
- USP labels - look for the USP label on the side of the bottle or box of vitamins. This means that they have been tested and meet the standards of the US pharmacopoeia. They tend to be cheaper than those name brands that do not test against the standards of US pharmacopoeia.
- Levels of vitamin A should not exceed 5000 IU. At least 40% should contain beta carotene which is safer for your bones. Higher doses of vitamin A can result in a higher risk of lung cancer in smokers.
- Multivitamins should contain 100% daily value of the following minerals: magnesium, chromium, selenium, iodine, zinc, and copper.
- The recommended amount of vitamins C and E should be 250 to 500 milligrams a day. Large doses of vitamin E can conflict with the conversion of vitamin C.
- Taking a separate calcium supplement a day than that of the dosage in your multivitamin is highly recommended. Because calcium and not as condensed as other vitamins, it tends to take up more space leaving the multivitamin lacking in a sufficient amount. 1,000 milligrams a day is the recommended amount to be consumed.
- Iron is significant to those suffering from pre-menopausal syndrome. 100% of iron is recommended. Postmenopausal women do not require as much and could even require none.
- Large doses of copper can interfere with zinc. When reading labels be sure to check all the dosages of important vitamins and minerals.
- Always take your multivitamin with food for a better absorption rate.
- Most important vitamins and minerals that should be taken at 100% include vitamin D, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid.
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