Walking into any health food store in search of a multivitamin can leave your head swimming. Faced with dozens of different formulas, what should you choose? Check the label for these essential nutrients:
Must Have Nutrients
- Vitamin A is critical to healthy vision, hair and skin, and a well-functioning immune system. Look for the retinyl palmitate form. It is readily converted in the body to beneficial retinoic acid.
- Vitamin C does more than support your immune system. It is required for collagen synthesis, the process that builds ligaments and tendons. Hectic, busy schedules can lead to a deficiency, too. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vitamin C is secreted by the adrenal glands during times of stress.
Many things can rob your body of B vitamins: genetic conditions, poor liver metabolism, Crohn’s disease, chronic heartburn, common prescriptions or even simple aging. Look for a multi that contains a comprehensive B complex that includes:
- B1 (Thiamin) as benfotiamine is one of the most rarely- used forms of thiamin, but one of the best. Because of its structure, it is five times more bioavailable than standard water-soluble thiamin. B1 helps you think clearly, stay energized, and keeps your blood sugar levels on an even keel.
- Vitamin B6 is available in many forms, but only one is truly bioavailable—Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate, or “P-5-P.” Since P-5-P doesn’t need to be converted in the liver, it is absorbed and utilized faster and more effectively. Vitamin B6 protects nerve endings, relieves muscle pain, and reduces levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is associated with damage to blood vessel walls, increased cholesterol oxidation (making LDL-cholesterol “stickier” and more likely to clog arteries), increased risk of stroke and inflammation throughout the cardiovascular system.
- Vitamin B12 is essential for proper carbohydrate digestion and healthy blood pressure. But, according to the Annual Review of Nutrition, up to 15 percent of individuals over 60 are BI2 deficient. Make sure you are getting enough by opting for a multi that contains methylcobalamin, a form of BI2 that doesn’t need to be converted in the liver.
- Methylfolate is the bioactive form of folate and may be especially beneficial for those who have trouble metabolizing supplemental folic acid. It’s especially critical for women who are pregnant or nursing. It’s been well established that B6, BI2, and folate can lower homocysteine levels, which in turn, could affect inflammatory markers and other risks to heart and artery health. In fact, a recent Tunisian clinical study found that patients with the highest levels of BI2 and folate also had the least amount of arterial damage. Another study conducted in Taiwan found that B-vitamins and folic acid lowered levels of homocysteine and inflammatory C-reactive protein.
Maximize Your Minerals
Minerals—including calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc— play a critical role in good health.
Unfortunately, many people are mineral deficient thanks to modern farming and food processing practices. Even those who take supplemental minerals may be at risk since many multivitamins include cheaper forms of minerals that are less absorbable.
However, minerals that are properly “chelated” (bound) to the amino acid glycine are better absorbed during digestion. Taken in the right form, these minerals can help you build strong bones, enhance immunity and keep your metabolism running smoothly.
Vitamin D3: The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D helps build healthy bones, fortifies immunity, lessens joint damage and enhances the brain. In a study of 225 older individuals diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, those with the strongest scores for cognition were also those with higher blood levels of vitamin D3.
Yet, deficiencies are common—especially in northern climates where exposure to natural sunlight during the winter months is low.
Vitamin E’s Extended Family
Vitamin E protects our skin, reduces cholesterol build-up and boosts our immune system. Look for the entire vitamin E family of natural tocopherols—alpha, beta, delta and gamma. Natural forms of vitamin E will be listed as “d-alpha, d-beta,” etc. on labels. Synthetic forms are listed with a “dl” prefix.
Natural forms absorb better and are used more effectively by the body. In a study reported in the American journal of Clinical Nutrition, natural vitamin E doubled blood levels of the nutrient compared to the synthetic form.
Boost Your Botanicals
Many supplements add small amounts of botanical extracts to their formulas, but often in amounts too small to be useful. Search out a multi that contains relevant amounts of botanicals that are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. A good example is ginger. Ginger root extract supports digestion, and promotes bile flow and gastric secretions that help the body absorb nutrients.
Tips & Tricks
The Right Multivitamin Ingredients Improve Life in Many Ways:
- Boosts your daily energy and vigor
- Eases digestion and enhances nutrient absorption
- Improves metabolism
- Strengthens the heart and protects arteries
- Stops destructive free radicals
- Supports blood sugar levels
- Reduces inflammation
Disclaimer: All content on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this website and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always consult with your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.