Recently, there’s been a good bit of crack-down on super stores, drug stores, and health food stores carrying vitamins and minerals that have found to be inefficient and a waste of people’s hard-earned money. Many are even made with toxic chemicals, fillers, and some don’t even contain the amounts of vitamins that they claim to. Stores like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and GMC have all been made to remove these products, along with many other stores as well. It’s left consumers not only questioning the entire supplement industry, but if vitamins are actually just a waste of money to begin with?
Why Multivitamins are Important and How to Choose the Best
First, let’s take a look at three reasons we actually do benefit from quality vitamins and minerals, and why it’s not smart to skip them.
1. Our soil is not as healthy as it once was, therefore the food we eat is likely not as high in vitamins and minerals as much as we need in order to get the recommended daily amounts of nutrients. While eating organic is a great start, it’s not a full-on solution.
2. Planning out meals to get enough of the RDA of each vitamin and mineral is not only timely, but can also be exasperating having to measure out foods and get enough of each of them, while also maintaining a work schedule, family, and let’s be honest … food cravings and prep time! Taking a multivitamin and eating a healthy diet is just a no-brainer for most of us and a simple way to ensure we get what we need. While just taking a multi doesn’t make up for a poor diet (nothing will), it does help those eating a healthy diet be their healthiest selves without much hassle otherwise.
3. Shortages in certain vitamins and minerals should never be minimized. They can lead to digestive, energy, heart, mood, weight, and blood problems in a very short amount of time. While some nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E are very easy to obtain in the diet, some others aren’t. Minerals like magnesium and calcium are quickly depleted by the body. If iron isn’t consumed with enough vitamin C, you could suffer an absorption problem, and vitamin B12 and vitamin D can not be obtained in our food naturally in sufficient amounts. (Vitamin B12 comes from bacteria in the soil and vitamin D from the sun.) Fortified foods may help, but they’re also not a guarantee anymore than most highly processed, synthetic vitamins. In fact, they may be more harmful due to sugars, refined oils, and other processed ingredients they contain.
So, if we need a multivitamin (and a vitamin B12 and vitamin D3 supplement), how do we know if we’re getting a good one and not some phony that’s stealing our money?
Here are three simple things to keep in mind next time you purchase vitamins, minerals, and supplements of any kind. If you follow these, you can easily be sure your money is well-spent and health is in better hands than just winging it or buying cheap products.
1. Look for a Food-Based, Organic Multivitamin
These may sound pricey, but there are many, many affordable brands that are multivitamins and supplements made from real, organic foods. Most are vegan, but you’ll want to check labels. This gives us a synthetic-free form of getting in our multivitamin that’s free of chemicals and is closer to a natural state. Most of these are also much more effective and most are allergen-free and non-GMO, though you’ll want to check labels to be sure.
2. Be Vitamin D and B12 Savvy
B12 is one of the most important vitamins for brain, nerve, digestive, blood, and overall heart health — you have to be sure to take this for good health. But you don’t have to opt for a chemical-based or hard-to-absorb form. Go for a vegan option so you know it’s free of animal ingredients and choose a sublingual form which dissolves under the tongue and immediately enters your bloodstream (don’t worry, they don’t taste bad!). Or, you can use a liquid form which will also go immediately into the bloodstream like sublingual supplements do. Multivitamins typically contain less than what you need, or they don’t contain an easy to absorb form.
Vitamin D should be consumed in the form of vegan vitamin D3 by a supplement, not D2 (synthetic-based) which is what most fortified foods are made from, sadly. Research based on the benefits and importance of vitamin D comes from D3, so be sure you spend your money on the right type. Vitamin D does come from the sun, however, most of us don’t get enough or may suffer absorption issues that are hard for us to measure how much we’re actually getting. Look for a vegan vitamin D3 supplement with 400- 5000 I.U. depending on how much you need (women in menopause, those who suffer bone health problems, depression or low energy, or those at a risk for colon cancer may need more).
3. Look for GMP Certified
GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practice. It’s the certification that top quality supplements receive and ensures they have been thoroughly tested. If you’re purchasing your vitamins from a natural health store, are buying food-based and organic, you are likely already purchasing GMP certified. But check the label just to be sure—it never hurts.
You needn’t spend a ton of money on supplements; there are many terrific, vegan brands out there that come with a price range for everyone, so pick the ones that work best for you. Don’t be afraid to supplement a healthy diet; in today’s world with all the health problems and struggles we face, it’s a smart choice so long as you’re smart about doing it.
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