What Should I Look for in a Multivitamin?

It is sensible to take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, especially if you are not sure you are getting an adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals through diet alone (which most of us aren't).

Read the label to make sure your brand contains the complete list of vitamins and minerals, with the exception of vitamin K, which is not often included in multivitamin formulas. Be especially vigilant that all the B-complex vitamins are in there. Note, some minerals may be in a chelated form and may not be in their full RDA amounts or the pill would be too big.

While it is convenient to take one pill a day, know that this may not be the optimum way to get your daily dose vitamins and minerals. Some brands sacrifice content for size, making them easy to swallow but not necessarily adequate in every substance.

Many multivitamins are especially low in calcium, potassium, magnesium and selenium. Also, the water-soluble vitamins are best taken in several smaller doses throughout the day rather than a once-a-day dose, where some of them are simply excreted from the body. Some vitamins are best taken with a meal and some after a meal - with a multi-formula, it's one-size-fits-all.

That being said, if you are not the type of person to invest in multiple bottle of various vitamins, minerals, herbs and other dietary supplements, if you find it too confusing to learn how much to take at what time and in what combination, or if you find it challenging to remember what to take at what time several times throughout the day, a good multivitamin is better than nothing at all.

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