What should I look for in a multivitamin?

By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

Not all multivitamins (multi) are created equal. In fact, there seems to be a multi or formulas that are targeted for every age group or every scenario on earth. First, look for a quality-assurance seal which is either the USP or the NSF seal to ensure the multi contains what the label says or go to www.consumerlab.com to check the multi for quality. Don’t count on your multi to keep your cholesterol down or give you energy. If you are a premenopausal woman, you multi should contain 18 milligrams (mg) of iron. If you are a man, your multi should not contain more than 200 mg of calcium. Ignore the claims clinically proven or whole food. There is no standard definition for clinically proven. Whole food means the nutrients are from yeast plus synthetic vitamins and there is very little evidence to suggest these are better absorbed. Chewable, liquid and gummy multis typically have fewer nutrients but you must read the label to ensure all the nutrients you are looking for are included.  

 Image from: www.herbalhealthsupplement.com

Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition, www.DayByDayNutrition.com, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, www.KentuckianaHEALTHWellness.com. Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for www.LiveStrong.com as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 11 grandchildren.    


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