Who's fooling who? The manufacturers of these so called healthy helpers, claiming that taking a simple One a Day Vitamin can keep us in top shape or our own inner ego, looking for an easy, but most likely, useless way to do the same.
We would probably all agree on one thing – most of us will benefit by supplementing our daily diet with some form of vitamin or mineral combination. This is due in part to diets high in processed foods and lack of nutrients in our soil. This combination presents food lacking in essential nutrients. Think about it – unless you eat local foods, the produce you buy at your grocery store has most likely sat for weeks before arriving on the shelf. Any nutrients that were there originally are long gone. On top of this, let's add stress to the equation – work, school, phones, traffic – our bodies are constantly looking to replace the nutrition that these forces use up . Then we can throw in the chemicals in our environment – drinking water, air, and chemicals in everything we use on a daily basis such as shampoo, household cleaners and on and on. Alert! We do need extra help to optimize our well-being.
But grabbing just any, old vitamin off a shelf, and preferably a one a day isn't necessarily the cure all. Most have artificial ingredients and fillers that our already taxed bodies just don't need to process. What pregnant woman in her right mind would choose a prenatal One a Day off the shelf that has FD&C Red #40, talc and corn starch as part of the ingredients? This is where brand reputation and doing some simple homework will be the driving force to making right decisions when choosing a vitamin right for you.
Also, keep in mind that not everything we swallow is absorbed by our bodies. It has to survive the chemicals and turmoil of the digestive system, be absorbed through the intestinal wall and get past the liver to reach the bloodstream. This process is called 'bioavailability'. Unfortunately, labels don't state how much of a certain vitamin is bioavailable. In a pharmaceutical grade multiple, many of the nutrients are chelated, or tied to another molecule which acts as an escort until it reaches the bloodstream. This form is more expensive to produce, which will reflect in a higher cost in general.
Taking ordinary vitamins that lack the range of nutrients, or low-price or discount vitamins that are less effective due to their processing methods and limited bioavaiability of their nutrients are simply a waste of hard earned money.
We're not saying that you can't find a One a Day that will work. We just want you to be aware of the yeas and nays before spending your hard earned money.
Reputable brand (not generic)
B Vitamins need to be at least 50 mg, unless from a food source.
Probiotics helps absorption
Whole Foods sources
Look for the USP (United State Pharmacopeia) seal. Dietary supplements, including multis, are not pre-approved for quality before market. This is a voluntary standard of quality. This mark ensures that the product contains the ingredients and amounts stated on the label, disintegrates properly and is free of contaminants.
Check the expiration date – the new trend is putting the manufactured date on the label rather than the expiration date. Vitamins should be good for at least one year if not exposed to excess light or heat.
No artificial ingredients such as talc, food coloring, povidone, shellac, starch or crospovidone.
It should go without saying that you also don't need any hydrogenated oils in your multi.
Also, titanium dioxide is bad (yes, some manufacturers still use this ingredient).
Cheaper isn't always better.
Keeping all of the above in mind, please know that they simply cannot put it all in one magical pill. Even if they tried, the pill would be a little too large to swallow. Most One a Days are missing other nutrients in substantial amounts that are essential to ensuring optimal health – to name a few:
There is an old saying “Never purchase parachutes, contact lenses or pacemakers solely on the bargain basement price." Remember this when purchasing your vitamins
as well - you get what you pay for!