Let’s talk about Multivitamins!
Multivitamins are not standardized, but most contain approximately 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of many vitamins and minerals. No multivitamin contains 100% RDA of calcium, magnesium, potassium, or phosphorus as those are bulky ingredients.
There are many reference ranges that refer to appropriate daily intake (RDA is but one of these). What is optimal for one person varies from another based on size, age, gender, race and diet. Therefore it is probably best to look at actual quantity and not percentages.
While I often recommend a multivitamin for “insurance,” I do think we should rely on our food to provide sufficient vitamins and minerals.
Cook your own food & give yourself time to eat
When you smell and see the food that you are preparing, you prime your stomach and digestive system, which allows you to absorb the nutrients much more readily. Take time to relax before and as you eat your meals. Chew your food thoroughly. Stress will decrease your ability to digest your food.
Eat as little processed food as possible
Processing removes many nutrients from food and adds many compounds that are foreign for the body.
Minimize animal protein
When you do chose to eat animal products, eat organic, grass-fed animals.
Eat complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates
Unprocessed complex carbohydrates have fiber and minerals. They take a long time for the body to digest, leveling out blood sugar levels. This lightens the load on the pancreas, diminishing the physiological progression towards insulin sensitivity and diabetes. Simple sugars, on the other hand, are broken down quickly, thus increasing the work load on the pancreas, and increasing the incidence of blood sugar spikes.
Use healthy fats
Healthy fats are important for maintaining healthy, fluid cellular membranes and regulating the inflammatory cascade. The majority of fat consumption (less than 20% of the diet) should be in the form of unsaturated fats. Good fats include butter, coconut oil, olive, sesame and peanut oils.
Eat a cruciferous vegetable every day
This includes members of the Brassica family: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnip, bok choy, arugula, horseradish, radish, wasabi, watercress and maca.
Eat a rainbow of foods
Flavonoids are found in the skins of fruits and vegetables and are important for cellular protection. An increase in the risk of cancer has been correlated with a decrease in flavonoid intake.
are they worth it?
All vitamins and minerals used in supplements are derived from synthetic USP nutrients. The manufacturers that claim their products are food-grown, food-derived, or whole-food supplements are simply taking these synthetic USP nutrients and adding them to yeast, soy and/or probiotics and “growing” them. While there are possibly exceptions to this statement, I have not confirmed them.
What else might be in the
Often manufacturers will add herbs to their multivitamins. In general, I feel that there is unlikely to be enough of any herb to have a desired positive effect. If you are interested in taking an herbal formula then take something separate that is in a more appropriate dose.
Sometimes manufacturers won’t list their exact ingredients, instead listing a proprietary formula. I ALWAYS like to know what I am taking, so I avoid any proprietary formula that doesn’t list individual ingredients.