Food should always come first before deciding what supplement is right for you to have in your diet. You don’t always get optimal amounts of all the vitamins and minerals from food and pills do not contain everything that food has to offer. Remember that supplements do not compensate for bad eating habits, you need to eat right. Taking a multivitamin is a good safety net for days when you eat well, but know that you are not eating well enough. Some tips on choosing the right multivitamin include:
- Select a broad range multivitamin and mineral supplement. Choose one that has vitamins A, D, E and K as well as all of the B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin, and folic acid). Your multivitamin should also have the trace minerals (chromium, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc).
- Ignore multivitamins that include chloride, pantothenic acid, biotin, potassium, choline, and phosphorus since the diet either already supplies optimal levels or the supplements contain too little to be useful
- Look for a multivitamin that provides approximately 100% but no more than 300% of the Daily Value for all the nutrients provided.
- All of the one-pill-a-day multivitamins are short on calcium and magnesium, so you might want to consider taking a calcium-magnesium supplement if you consume less than 3 glasses of milk and several servings of soybeans, wheat germ, or dark leafy vegetables each day.
For more information: Eat Your Ways To Happiness by Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD