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What you should look for in a multivitamin, part 2

Posted by Dr. Donna Restivo on May 29, 2019 8:05:00 AM

In Health Tips, vitamins

In our previous post, we scratched the surface of the better ingredients to search for in your multivitamin. There are a few more essential components that help make up a perfect cocktail of ingredients for your multivitamin.

Funny playful young woman in checkered shirt holding halves of citrus fruits against her eyes and making duck face over yellow background

Folic acid. Also known as Folate, you’ve likely heard about the importance of pregnant women taking this nutrient. Its value goes beyond fetus development and works to fight inflammation, combat depression, and provide nail health. We can find folate in foods such as avocados, dark leafy greens, beans, and citrus, however; it doesn’t hurt to look for it in your multivitamin, as you aim to get around 400 mg per day. Be aware that it may be listed as “methyl folate” on the label, which is actually just a more effective form of the ingredient. If you really want to maximize the benefits of folate,  take it on an empty stomach since your body will absorb 100% of it, versus the 85% if you take it with food.

Zinc. For those who are under a lot of stress or in the later years of their life, zinc levels may be a tad lower than normal. And let’s be honest, aren’t we all under some form of stress? This powerhouse nutrient works closely with the immune system, assisting our body’s use of carbohydrates, fat for energy, and protein. If you have an injury, zinc is extra beneficial as it helps with healing wounds. While there are several food options that contain zinc, the body cannot store it, which is another reason why you need to supplement it by looking for a multivitamin that contains 5-10 mg of the nutrient. The recommended amount is 8-11 mg daily, so you’ll have to do some math to calculate how much you are getting from food sources such as sardines, oysters, spinach, grass-fed beef, tahini, wheat germ, organ meats, and pumpkin seeds.

Calcium. Considering calcium is responsible for strong bones and teeth, it’s surprising that over 40% of the population does not get enough of the nutrient. It is particularly important for women to get enough calcium early on since they lose bone density much sooner than men. The best way to defend your body from bone loss is to supplement with a multivitamin to reach the recommended 1,000 mg per day. One way to up your calcium by way of food is to eat salty fish, broccoli, kale, nuts, and nut butters.

Iron. This mineral is known for providing healthy red blood cells, increased energy, and better brain function. While not everyone needs the same amount, depending on their diet, there are certain situations that may require more attention in the iron department. Pregnancy, menstruation, and puberty are all periods in life that call for more iron, simply because of the major growth and development going on in the body. The lack of meat in a vegetarian or vegan’s diet is another reason for taking a multivitamin with preferably around 18 mg of iron. It also comes in the form of ferrous gluconate, ferric citrate, ferrous sulfate, or ferric sulfate. If you go beyond the 18 mg, there is a chance you may feel nauseous, which is your body’s way of telling you, you’ve had too much.

 


 

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