Should you be taking a multivitamin? The answer is a resounding yes. Human health is enhanced by a diet that includes adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals. These essential vitamins and minerals function as micronutrients that sustain a wide array of biochemical and physiological processes in the body, making them necessary for normal bodily function and good health. Active individuals place much greater stress on their bodies than their more sedentary counterparts, and vitamins and nutrients cannot always be replenished through diet alone. That’s where a multivitamin comes in for optimal health and performance.
Because the body cannot produce its required vitamins and minerals, they must be obtained from the diet. Unfortunately, the modern diet is typically dense in calories but nutrient deficient, meaning most people today do not consume even the minimal daily requirement for many of these essential vitamins and minerals, causing a nutritional deficiency that increases the risk for several diseases.
Multivitamin and mineral supplements are intended to fill the significant nutritional void in today’s diet, and the enhanced needs of active individuals, promoting better health and performance. However, some multivitamins and mineral products are deficient and fall severely short of this goal. Moreover, recent scientific evidence indicates that many multivitamin and mineral products on the market today may actually impede overall health by supplying an excessive amount of certain chemicals that increase oxidative stress and chronic inflammation contributing to the onset of the aforementioned chronic diseases. If you have shopped for a multivitamin lately, it can be a dizzying experience looking at all the choices available and trying to make an informed decision. In fact, you might leave the vitamin aisle of your drug store and need a sedative when the shopping trip is over. What should you look for in a great multivitamin? UT Southwestern Medical Center recommends you keep the following in mind:
- Appropriate daily values of ingredients.Choose a multivitamin with 100 percent of the daily value of most of its ingredients. Some nutrients, such as calcium, can’t be included in a multivitamin at 100 percent – if it was, the multivitamin would be too large to swallow. Keep in mind, too, that exceeding 100 percent of the daily value of certain nutrients is not helpful. Some nutrients – like vitamins A, D, E, and K – can build up in the body and become toxic.
- The right balance for your age and sex.Nutrient needs vary depending on gender and age. For example, premenopausal women need more iron, while older adults need more calcium, vitamin D, and B6. A dietitian or your family doctor can help you determine how much of specific nutrients you need for your age and gender.
- Essential micronutrients.Your body needs micronutrients to keep your systems humming. Besides well-known nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, a good multivitamin will include:
- Thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin
- B6 and B12
- Folic acid, pantothenic acid, and biotin
- Calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc
- Iodine, borate, and molybdenum
- Vitamins A (including beta carotene), E, and K
- Vitamin D2 or D3
You can skip multivitamins that are made with additional micronutrients for which there are no recommended daily values.
- The nutrients you need.According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015, American diets often lack calcium, fiber, and potassium. Most multivitamins contain limited amounts of these nutrients. Even if you take a multivitamin, it’s important to consume foods rich in these nutrients:
- Calcium. Low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt; calcium-fortified, plant-based milks; orange juice; cereals; tofu (prepared with calcium citrate); and almonds
- Fiber. Beans and legumes; nuts and seeds; oats and whole grains; and fruits and vegetables
- Potassium. Beans and legumes; potatoes; low-fat milk and yogurt; lower-sodium canned tomato products; fruits; and lamb, pork, and fish.
We’re always on the lookout for new and innovate supplements, including multivitamins that might be an upgrade to what we’ve been taking as part of our daily supplementation regimen. We were really intrigued by the Next Level Superfoods Multivitamin from Alpha Wolf Nutrition. It’s designed for athletes, runners, bodybuilders and ultra health conscious people. What caught our eye are the copious amounts of superfoods including pomegranate, sprouted broccoli seed and grape seed extract; this really elevated the multivitamin to a more contemporary option. It was like trading in our father’s old Dodge for a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Alpha Wolf Nutrition also offers a 100% satisfaction, 60-day money back guarantee so there is nothing to lose, and everything to gain – most notably, improved performance and wellness.