Focus On: Multivitamins

WHAT IT IS:

Vitamins are organic compounds that our bodies need to function normally. Many Americans don’t get all the requisite vitamins and minerals from our diet—multivitamins are in­tended to correct that. Because our bodies can’t make vitamins, we must get them from an outside source. The best multis are food based, not synthetic.

BENEFITS

Our bodies need a very complex nutritional profile. We can make great strides to meet those needs by eating a diet rich in whole foods, but a quality multi is a sensible step to ensure optimal function. Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin, and it is important for vision. Vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function, vitamin B12 is important for metabolism, vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, and so on. The benefits to correct­ing nutritional deficiencies are many.

[ Recommended Dosages ]

Look for a multivitamin that contains the following:

Vitamin A – 15,000 IUs (primarily from beta-carotene)

Vitamin C – 1,000 mg (more is OK)

Vitamin D – 1,000 mg (more is OK)

Vitamin E – 300 – 400 IU

Vitamin B12 – 150 mcg

Thiamin – 50 mg

[ Warnings ]

Multivitamin use is quite safe. The caveat here is to be aware of getting too much vitamin A—you don’t want to greatly exceed the upper limit of preformed vitamin A (the retinol form), which is 10,000 IUs. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble and will accumulate in the body, whereas vitamin C and the B vitamins are water soluble and thus excesses are excreted.

[ Picks ]

Twinlab Daily Two Caps, $33, 90 capsules, twinlab.com // Life Extension Two- Per-Day Tablets, $20, 120 vegetarian tablets, lef.org // Solgar Multi II Vegetable Capsules, $21, 90 vegetable capsules, solgar.com // MegaFood One Daily Tablets, $60, 90 tablets, megafood.com // Garden of Life Vitamin Code Family, $41, 120 vegetarian capsules, gardenoflife.com // Enzymedica Enzyme Nutrition Two Daily, $30, 60 vegetarian capsules, enzymedica.com