Choosing the best multivitamin
by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
Choosing the right multivitamin can be confusing. There are conflicting claims about
nutrients and dosages, as well as contradictions about recent research on multivitamins
reported in the media. We do know that science in this area is rapidly evolving.
But the number of choices at the vitamin and grocery store is overwhelming. How
do you find the best multivitamin for women?
Understand the essential nutrients your body needs
Every day we need certain raw materials to support the vast biological mechanisms
that fuel our physical and mental activity, support our immune defenses, and regenerate
skin, muscle, blood, tissue, and bone. This fuel comes in the form of macronutrients
— protein, carbohydrates, and fat — and micronutrients — vitamins and minerals.
We also require essential fatty acids, which are often overlooked. Our bodies need
a ready supply of all these nutrients on hand to function properly.
Vitamins and minerals work together
Every essential nutrient has a vital task in our bodies and each one usually works
in concert with one or several others. For example, vitamin E works more efficiently
in the presence of vitamin C. Calcium has a much higher absorption rate when taken
with magnesium. And zinc may assist a variety of other nutrients to bolster the
immune system. It’s impossible to isolate the effect of each vitamin — just as it’s
impossible to isolate a single vitamin deficiency as the cause of any given symptom.
For example, vitamin B deficiency can result in symptoms resembling vitamin D deficiency,
and so on. That’s why the best multivitamins are well-rounded — to ensure that we
benefit from the synergistic effect of all the nutrients working together.
The best multivitamin serves women by supporting:
- Detoxification with antioxidants
- The immune system to fight infection
- Blood clotting
- Wound healing
- Bone growth and strength
- Hormone production
- The conversion of food into energy
- Healthy cell regeneration
It’s also important to remember that adequate levels of essential fatty acids (like
a high-quality fish oil supplement) can help prevent inflammation and contribute
to stable cholesterol levels which benefit hormonal balance.
Our Essential Nutrients are formulated
especially for women and offer all the benefits you need in a multivitamin, while
our Omega-3’s are made of the highest quality
fish oil to support heart, eye, and skin health.
How much is enough? The controversy over Recommended Daily Allowances
Diseases like rickets and scurvy led to the development during WWII of the Required
Daily Allowances (RDA’s) for vitamins and minerals, but these RDA’s were meant to
be bare minimums, not optimal dosages. Unfortunately the RDA’s are not a good guide
for modern consumers who want to use nutritional supplements to support optimal
health and prevent disease. And while nutritional science has made stunning progress
in the last 60 years, there is no consensus yet about optimal dosages for multivitamins
What we do know today is that significantly higher doses of vitamins and minerals
are needed for optimal health than are recommended in the RDA’s. A study in the
Journal of the American Medical Association, for example, established therapeutic
dosages many times higher than the RDA’s. What’s needed is long-term study of the
effects of different dosages, plus a better understanding of how nutritional supplements
might be personalized to each individual’s needs. In the meantime, we recommend
a conservative but therapeutic dose based on the latest nutritional science.
6 characteristics women should look for when
choosing the best multivitamin:
1. Complete. Based on the latest nutritional science,
women need at least 30 vitamins and minerals, plus a rich essential fatty acid formula
(i.e., EPA and DHA).
2. Bioavailable. Scientists use the term bioavailability
to measure what’s absorbed by the body versus what passes through it. To get nutrients
past the digestive tract and into the blood stream, high-quality vitamins are chelated
(tied to another molecule) to be escorted to the blood. The way multivitamins are
processed can also destroy nutritional value or make nutrients unrecognizable by
the body. So look for brands that use minimal processing.
3. Natural. Look for multivitamins that avoid artificial
preservatives, dyes, sweeteners or other contaminants. The fatty acid formula (derived
from marine lipids) should be tested for mercury and lead. Each production batch
of our Omega-3’s is tested and molecularly distilled for purity.
4. Reliable. Multivitamin manufacturers should
follow the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s) and be held accountable for
these GMP’s by a third party. The manufacturing partners we use to make our Essential
Nutrients are validated by NSF International to meet or exceed all of the FDA’s
5. Laboratory tested. As is true for pharmaceutical
drugs, every production batch of a nutritional supplement should be tested in a
laboratory (i.e., “standardized”) to ensure that it contains exactly what is on
6. Makes a difference. You are the final test.
If the nutritional supplement doesn’t make you feel better within the first 30 days,
try another formula. It may not resolve all your symptoms in that time, but you
should feel a real improvement after a month.
Nearly half of the Americans who take multivitamins aren’t noticeably healthier
than the half that doesn’t. This is because they are taking ordinary vitamins that
lack the range of nutrients their bodies need. Or they take low-price or discount
vitamins that are less effective due to processing methods and limited bioavailability
of their nutrients.
Our Essential Nutrients is an exceptionally good foundation for all women, with
all the qualities outlined above. There are only a few companies in America capable
of producing a nutritional supplement of this quality. You may find another multivitamin
that suits you as well or better. Just be sure it has the qualities listed above.
Many of our patients and Members like Essential Nutrients because it makes them
feel fit, energized, and well. We want you to live well and enjoy every minute in
the best of health. We know this can be possible with the help high-quality multivitamins
like ours that meet pharmaceutical production standards.
Our Personal Program is a great place to start
The Personal Program promotes natural hormonal balance with nutritional supplements,
our exclusive endocrine support formula, dietary and lifestyle guidance, and optional
phone consultations with our Nurse–Educators. It is a convenient, at-home
version of what we recommend to all our patients at the clinic.
If you have questions, don't hesitate to call us toll-free at
1-800-798-7902. We're here to listen and help.
Last Modified Date: 11/08/2012
Principal Author: Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP