The ABC’s of Multivitamins and Minerals
Written by Michal Yaron
Most Americans do not get the vitamins and minerals they need on a daily basis by diet alone. Vitamins are essential or “vital” nutrients the body cannot produce so must be ingested through diet for health and development.
The benefits of multivitamins may go beyond the mere prevention of nutrients deficiencies. A growing field of research links vitamin and mineral supplementation to appetite regulation and weight loss. In a new study of obese women in China, those who took a multivitamin (like a “one-a-day”), while continuing to eat their normal diets, lost an average of about 3.5 pounds over six months; those who took a placebo lost nothing. In a 2007 Canadian study, female supplement-takers reported feeling less hungry, compared to the placebo-takers. This suggests that by preventing micronutrients imbalances, multivitamins may help you better manage cravings and food intake.
How do you decide which multivitamin and mineral is best for you? Eating a balanced diet most of the time means you’d do fine with a multivitamin with 100% or less of the daily value (DV) for a wide array of nutrients. Stay clear of “mega” vitamins, as very high doses of certain micronutrients can lead to health problems. When it comes to vitamins, the too-much-of-a-good-thing rule can apply.
Be aware that many multivitamins don’t contain exactly what the label says. Lab studies have found that less than half of the multivitamins sold in the United States actually contained what the labels said they did. Some vitamins even contained a little something extra – lead! Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration do not regulate dietary supplements, including multivitamins, for quality or safety. For safety and assurance, consider seeking Pharmaceutical Grade products, such as what is offered at GreenLite Medicine, where the dietary supplement contains the ingredients listed on the label, in the declared potency and amounts, does not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants, will break down and release into the body within a specified amount of time, has been made according to FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices using sanitary and well-controlled procedures. Alternatively, look for the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) verified symbol or check for a seal of approval from the NSF International or ConsumerLab.com.
Does it matter what time of day you take a multivitamin? Not really. However, some people find it helpful to take it at the same time every day. If it becomes part of your routine, you’re less likely to forget. Also, taking a multivitamin with food is less likely to upset your stomach.
Keep in mind that a multivitamin is no replacement for a good, well-balanced diet. Multivitamins lack a number of beneficial compounds for wellness and weight management, including phytonutrients and fiber. Multivitamins also typically fall short of the recommend daily amount of calcium and other important vitamins and minerals. Clearly, eating a variety of fish, lean meats and poultry, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and low-fat dairy products is the best way to get your daily dose of nutrients to keep your body functioning properly and to keep hunger at bay. But taking a high-quality multivitamin daily is a good backup plan, and an easy way to fill in any gaps in your diet.