You've decided to start taking a multivitamin. But which kind is best for you? How do you know which one has the highest quality -- and the right amounts -- of nutrients? Are tablets, capsules, liquids, powders or chewables best? With so many options available, choosing can be quite confusing. To sort out which multi best meets your needs, here are some easy-to-follow guidelines.
Go with a name brand you can trust. For instance, choose a multivitamin that has stood the test of time and has GMP certification on the label. GMP stands for “Good Manufacturing Practices” and means that the company that makes the nutritional supplement has been certified by the National Nutritional Foods Association. GMP certification helps to ensure product quality and purity; and, it ensures that what’s in the bottle is consistent with what’s said on the label.
Many multivitamins are created based on a person’s age and stage of life. Vitacost manufactures a great formula called Women’s 50 Plus Multi-Vitamin, for mature women. This product was designed specifically for women in this age group, and it contains nutrients targeted to support brain health, skin health and healthy aging. Along the same lines, there is a formula designed specifically for men, called Men’s 50 Plus Multi-Vitamin, and it contains nutrients and herbs that support men’s unique health needs at this phase of their lives.*
If you’re a younger woman, look for Women’s Total Health with Fruit and Vegetable Blend. This contains a comprehensive, slow-release vitamin formula to meet the nutritional needs of women. For men, there’s a high-potency product called Synergy Men’s Multi Vitamin that contains 22 essential vitamins and minerals. It also provides antioxidants and nutrients that support heart, brain, prostate and overall body health.*
If you’re pregnant, or soon-to-be pregnant, look for prenatal vitamins that contain a complete profile of essential nutrients – and preferably ones that you can easily swallow and digest. Note that too much iron in prenatal vitamins can cause constipation in some women. If you experience this, take iron as a separate nutrient, and try different forms of iron to see which works best for you. New Chapter Prenatal is a whole-food multivitamin that’s usually well-tolerated, even on an empty stomach.
There are numerous multi vitamins available for children and teens. Choose one that’s easy to take, tastes good and doesn’t upset the stomach. (Most multivitamins are best tolerated when taken with food.)
To find the best form of multivitamin for your needs, you may need to experiment with tablets, capsules, liquids, powders or chewables. Tablets are often the hardest form to digest –since your stomach has to break down the coating on the hard pills – but many people prefer tablets to capsules because tablets typically hold a lot more ingredients in them. This can make a noticeable difference; you won’t have to take as many supplements to ingest optimal levels of the nutrients.
Liquids and powders usually have high concentrations of nutrients, but their taste is sometimes a deal breaker. If they’re palatable, they can be an excellent and very easy way to ingest large amounts of nutrients. Here’s a helpful hint: try mixing them into your smoothies or juices.
Chewable vitamins can be great, but with chewables you may be ingesting a lot more sugar than you bargained for – or consuming synthetic sweeteners. Keep in mind that many chewable vitamins are now sweetened with xylitol, or another type of sugar alcohol. These sweeteners don’t cause any problems for some people, but for others they can create a lot of gastrointestinal distress, including gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Check out your many multivitamin options, and choose the one that’s the highest quality, best suits your stage in life and is convenient to take. Hats off to a new, healthy you in the New Year!