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Multiple Choices


For once, the health experts agree. Medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, and scientists are all dispensing the same advice: "Take a daily multiple vitamin and mineral to fill in the nutritional gaps in your diet.

For once, the health experts agree. Medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, and scientists are all dispensing the same advice: "Take a daily multiple vitamin and mineral to fill in the nutritional gaps in your diet."

Fortunately, you have multiple choices. They're available in tablets, chewable tablets, hard and soft gelatin capsules, vegetarian capsules and tablets, daily packs (sealed packets with multiple tablets or capsules), powders, and liquids. Even tasty whole-food bars provide daily supplementation of multiple vitamins and minerals.

Age, gender, lifestyle, general health status, and allergies are a few of the considerations in choosing the dosage form and potency of your daily multi. Here's a basic A to Z list to help
familiarize you with the most common ingredients in the multis available at your natural health store.

Multiple Vitamin Ingredients

A is provided from a fat- or water-soluble source. Some multis contain a combination of both forms. Halibut and cod liver oil, beta carotene, and palmitate are the most common sources of vitamin A supplementation. Choose a multi made with natural, not synthetic, sources of beta carotene. The inclusion of mixed natural carotenoids is ideal. Most multis contain a range of 2,500 to 25,000 IU of vitamin A.

B vitamins are a family of water-soluble micronutrients that comprise a large percentage of every multi's formulation. Taking the entire B complex will best ensure you get optimal benefits. Vitamin B complex includes B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin or niacinamide), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cobalamin), biotin, and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA). Co-nutrients of the B family include the lipotropic factors choline and inositol. The general potency range of most B vitamins is 25 to 50 mg. B12 levels range from 25 mcg to 1 mg, while folic acid potencies vary from 400 mcg to 1 mg.

C sources are primarily from ascorbic acid and calcium ascorbate, but mineral ascorbates and sago palm sources are also available. Natural foods containing vitamin C, such as fresh citrus fruit, also contain bioflavonoids. Ideally, so will the multi you choose. The recommended range of vitamin C in a multi is 100 to 250 mg.

D is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes to us naturally in the form of sunshine, but cloudy weather and sunscreens often limit our absorption. In supplement form, D3 (cholicalciferol) from animal sources and D2 (ergocalciferol) from plant sources are most frequently used in potencies of 200 to 400 IU.

E is technically a fat-soluble vitamin, but it acts more as a water-soluble nutrient in the body. Only choose multis formulated with natural-source E from alpha and mixed tocopherols. Vitamin E potencies generally vary from 200 to 1,000 IU.

Multiple Mineral Ingredients

Calcium sources are often combined together to boost potency and absorption. The most frequently used are citrate, chelate, and carbonate. A daily multi in single tablet form will only have room to provide about 60 mg, but a daily pack of vitamins can provide 1,000 mg or more.

Chromium from citrate and chelate sources is available in potencies from 25 to 200 mcg.

Copper is not always included in multis, as some people already have too much copper in their system. When included, copper dosages are usually kept under 3 mg.

Iodine from gluconate or potassium iodide is found in most multis with a dosage of 0.1 to 0.3 mg.

Iron is only recommended for people who have been diagnosed with low iron levels; therefore, many formulas no longer routinely include iron. When required, the better absorbed sources of iron are ferrous citrate, gluconate, fumarate, and chelate.

Magnesium from citrate or chelate sources is generally preferred for best absorption. Many premium-quality formulations provide half as much or an equal amount of magnesium as
calcium. This commonly ranges from 30 mg in single tablets to 500 mg in daily packs of vitamins.

Manganese potencies vary from 1 to 15 mg. Citrate, gluconate, and chelate forms are common.

Potassium citrate or chelate is the most common supplemental sources in multis. The potency can range from 25 to 100 mg.

Selenium should always be included in a multi unless taken as a separate
supplement. Potencies range from 25 to 100 mcg.

Silicon from horsetail extract or silicon dioxide in potencies of 2 to 5 mg is included in some formulations.

Sulphur from MSM (methylsulphonylmethane) has recently been added to multi formulations in minor dosages of 5 to 10 mg.

Vanadium citrate or chelate is available in some multis. This trace mineral is included in dosage ranges from 10 to 75 mcg.

Molybdenum citrate or chelate is
generally included in potencies of 25 to 75 mcg.

Zinc citrate and chelate provide the preferred sources of this mineral which is most commonly available in 5 to 15 mg potencies.

Many formulations also include a broad spectrum of additional ingredients including enzymes,
essential fatty acids, phytonutrients, herbs, and flavonoids.

Whichever form of multiple vitamin and mineral supplementation you choose, be sure to take it every day, ideally with your first balanced meal of the day. It may take a few months to reap noticeable benefits, including more energy, better concentration, and fewer colds, but in the meantime you'll feel great knowing an investment in your health is money well spent.



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