Even with the best dietary intentions, we often fall short of meeting all our nutritional needs. One answer is a daily multivitamin, which is safe, effective, and can go a long way toward correcting any nutritional deficiencies.
Of course, the ideal way to get your nutrients is still from food. Food not only supplies vitamins and minerals, but also gives us fiber and a host of other healthy compounds that interact with each other in ways that supplements can’t.
The scientific community used to believe that a varied, healthful diet would provide all the vitamins and minerals we need. But recent surveys show that most American diets fall short of satisfying the minimum daily requirements for several vitamins and minerals. (Still, we rarely see actual deficiencies in the U.S., simply because we eat plenty of food.)
The culprit? Often, it’s life in the fast lane — chowing down on too much fast food and not enough fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Researchers have concluded that a single daily multivitamin/mineral pill may be the answer for achieving optimum health and preventing chronic diseases.
Taking individual vitamin or mineral supplements can be a bad idea; it’s easy to overdose on certain nutrients that can be toxic in large amounts.
To help guide consumers, the government sets safe upper limits for most vitamins and minerals. So always read the label on the package, and keep in mind the food that you eat also contributes vitamins and minerals. How do you go about selecting a safe and needed nutrient supplement for you?
- Avoid supplements that provide more than 100% of the dietary value for any vitamin or mineral.
- Choose a supplement with no more than 3,000-3,500 International Units (IUs) of retinol or Vitamin A.
- Men and postmenopausal women should choose multivitamins with 50% or less of the dietary value for iron.
- Look for the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) symbol, a mark of a quality product.
- Most additives, such as herbs, are unnecessary and just drive up the price of the supplement.
- Supplements designed for certain age groups or sexes tend to be pricier. You can usually find a similar formula in a generic brand.
- And as always remember if you have questions about overall health and vitamin supplementation for you contact your healthcare provider today for an appointment.