Amy McGorry: Multivitamins are supposed to do your body good, in one little capsule they can contain every nutrient your body needs to function at its best, but choosing a multivitamin can be time-consuming and aggravating. You can stand in the supplement aisle for hours. Here are a few answers to the most frequently asked questions about shopping for multivitamin.
The best multivitamin has 100% of the daily value of most of the essential vitamins and minerals, but don't expect it to have 100% of the DV of calcium, as that amount is too large to fit into one multi. Also, be sure to note the amount of vitamin A. Look for a multi that has part or all of its vitamin A as a safer beta-carotene, as taking more than 100% of the DV of vitamin A may cause bone fractures in postmenopausal women.
A basic multi is all you need, unless you fall into a group with special vitamin or mineral requirements. Women who are or trying to become pregnant should choose a prenatal supplement because of its higher than normal amounts of folic acid, iron, zinc and calcium. Adults over age 50 can benefit from a formula with extra vitamin D, vitamin B12, and calcium.
Swallow your multi with a meal. Your body absorbs vitamins better when you take them with food. This will minimize the potential for stomach upset too and make you more likely to remember your multi everyday. Remember, multivitamins shouldn't be used to replace a healthy diet, but they can help compensate for what you are missing, can help prevent against disease, and will keep your body feeling at its best at any age.