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You’ve probably taken a trip down aisles of your favorite supermarket and seen the horde of nutritional supplements fighting tooth and nail for your attention. Some come in fun shapes and some are tasty and gummy (and probably spiked with sugar). Some promise all the nutrients you need in one tablet and others might include probiotics or natural herbs. They’re all different in some ways and the same in others. But one thing is certain—not all supplements are created equal.
So how do you find the right multivitamin for you? In this sea of endless options, there are ways to find those that rise above the rest. It might take a decent amount of research on your part, but your health is worth it. You’ll want to know:
- What nutrients the supplement claims to provide and what form they are in.
- How the supplement was manufactured.
- What others say about the supplement.
But before you consider these topics, you’ll want to consult with your physician about what supplements are right for you. Your current diet and health status help determine what nutrients you should focus on adding to your regimen.
Zooming in on the Ingredients
Every bottle of multivitamins should have a lengthy label detailing exactly what nutrients and ingredients you get per serving. These labels can be downright confusing to read and understand, but the more you read them, the more informed you will be. Do your research to find supplements you can trust.
Learn more here about how to read supplement labels.
You’ll first want to look at the amounts of key nutrients the supplement provides. Often, it’s good to go with one that provides higher levels of many of these nutrients— with some even higher than the daily recommended value. You see, nutritional authorities established the daily recommended nutrient levels based on what it takes to avoid deficiency. But these amounts aren’t at levels more recent research shows can help make a difference in your long-term health. Sometimes you need a supplement that provides higher levels.
That’s not all. Another consideration when you compare supplements is the ratio of nutrients used together. It can be tempting to pick and choose your nutrients. But those nutrients might be affected by others. For instance, calcium and vitamin D work better together. You need enough of one for the other to be used correctly in the body. The relationships between nutrients can be complex. A well-designed multivitamin and mineral supplement is made with these complexities in mind. It provides you with the right balance of nutrients.
As you can see, finding a supplement with the perfect blend of nutrients is not simple. But with time and a bit of reading, you will be able to see through the fog and take charge of your health. And there are some excellent resources out there to help you further your search—like the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Center and NIH Dietary Supplements.
How the Supplement Is Made
When finding the right supplement for you, it’s important to take a close look at what the supplement is made of. But it’s just as important to learn how the supplement was made.
When you’ve found a supplement that looks promising, search online and find out who manufactures it. Some supplement vendors don’t make the supplements they sell themselves, but contract an outside manufacturer to do the job. Once you’ve found out the manufacturer, research their website and see what information they provide on their manufacturing process.
You’ll also want to make sure the manufacturer relies on an in-house laboratory and scientific team to thoroughly test the raw materials they use. This ensures the ingredients contained in their supplements are potent, pure, and free of any harmful contaminants.
If you have trouble finding this kind of information about a supplement manufacturer or vendor on their official online resources, then it might be wise to rule them out. A manufacturer that isn’t transparent with this information is often a bad sign. So look for companies that proudly display how they manufacture their supplements.
Your Health Is Worth the Journey
A supplement provider can go on all day about how good their product is, but they could just be telling you what you want to hear. To find the right supplement for you, you’ll need to research what others have to say.
Reading through customer reviews on a blog or website can give you a good idea of what everyday people like yourself really think about the supplement. You also might want to check out ConsumerLab.com—a website that independently tests and reviews hundreds of multivitamins and nutritional supplements.
Finding the right supplement for you may take time, but it’s more than worth the work. Taking high-quality supplements with a varied diet can help you build a foundation to support vibrant long-term health. In fact, research shows that doing so can increase circulating blood levels of many nutrients known to be beneficial for health.
If you want to learn more about the health benefits of taking nutritional supplements, then Ask the Scientists.
Health is the greatest gift we’ve been given. That is why you deserve to find the right multivitamin or nutritional supplement for you.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.