While you should be getting most of the vitamins and minerals through your diet, adding a daily multivitamin into the mix can support the baseline of essential nutrients you need for good health. But how do you choose the best multivitamin product for you?
We explore the different types of ingredients to look for when choosing a multivitamin.
Why take a multivitamin?
Despite your best efforts, it may not be possible to eat the optimum healthy diet, all of the time. And your lifestyle or individual health needs may also mean that a little extra nutritional help could be beneficial.
Understanding the RDA
When choosing a multivitamin, it’s important to check the percentage of the recommended daily allowance – or RDA – for each of the ingredients listed. The RDA is the minimum guidelines for a specific vitamin or mineral a healthy individual needs each day. A multivitamin is not intended to replace a healthy diet when it comes to providing essential nutrients, but to support your daily nutritional intake, and fill any potential gaps or additional needs.
Ingredients to look for
Your age, activity level, gender, and specific concerns such as fatigue, pregnancy or the menopause can all dictate the exact ingredients you may need in multivitamin tablets. But even a general multivitamin can bring benefits and be an extra reassurance that your body is getting all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs.
Here are the key ingredients to look out for:
- Vitamin A – supports a healthy immune system
- B vitamins – for sustaining energy and a healthy nervous system
- Vitamin C – supports iron absorption and proper immune system function
- Vitamin D – for immune system and muscle function
- Vitamin E – supports skin, eye, and heart health
- Iron – for healthy red blood cells and immune support
- Magnesium – for muscle/bone health and energy production
- Zinc – for immune system support
- Calcium – for strong teeth and bones
Ingredients to avoid
When looking down the ingredient list on a multivitamin, there are certain things you should avoid, such as:
- Synthetic versions of certain ingredients, which can reduce how active the ingredient is
- Oxide forms of some minerals, such as zinc, which cannot be absorbed as well by the body
- Look for folate instead of folic acid, which is inefficient when it comes to absorption
- Additives and fillers – look for a multivitamin that doesn’t contain any artificial colours, filler, or ingredients
How to choose the right multivitamin
While a general multivitamin is a good choice, reading the ingredient label can help you identify the multivitamin which is tailored to your specific needs and health goals, such as more energy, or to boost your immune system.
Tailored multivitamins are also available for different life stages, catering for the specific health and nutrient requirements as you age. A multivitamin can also be used to supplement your vitamin and mineral intake if you lead a particularly active, sporty lifestyle.
And the nutritional needs for men and women can also be different, which is where a tailored multivitamin can have its benefits, especially if taken as part of a healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet.