Multi-vitamins are perhaps the most important supplement you can take. Even if you have a well-balanced diet, you could be missing certain nutrients your body needs for optimal health. And it's a definite necessity for those who lack proper nourishment. In selecting a multi-vitamin, it's important to take into account things such as your level of physical activity, the amount of nutrients you're consuming with food, gender, life stage, and any medical conditions. For example - pregnant women, children, and the elderly require special dosages. Multi-vitamin formulations are created with specific groups in mind. To find out the most recent recommended values, try out our Nutrient Calculator.
Two of the best multi-vitamins on the market are Vitamin Code by Garden of Life and Realfood Organics Ultimate Daily Nutrition by Country Life. The ingredients for these multis are derived from organic foods rather than being manufactured in a lab. This guarantees a broader spectrum of each nutrient as found in nature vs. the more common synthetic forms which are an isolated portion of the same nutrient. And while issues are rare with food-based vitamins, there are many arguments for and against the benefits of their synthetic counterparts.
Most vitamins and minerals are measured in mg (milligrams) or mcg (micrograms). These are water soluble nutrients. Those that are measured in IU (International Units) are fat soluble. It is recommended to take multi-vitamins with a meal containing some fat for this reason. Furthermore, taking a multi without a meal can cause upset stomach.
A word of caution – be weary of exotic ingredients in multi-vitamins. Some of them include herbal ingredients that may cause undesirable reactions in some. Also look closely at the filler ingredients on the bottle.