September 18, 2012

How To Choose a Multi-Vitamin

Why Take a Multi-Vitamin?

  • The American diet does not include all the nutrition we need to live a optimally healthy life.  Processing, refining, eating out, depletion of our soil, our own eating choices, all contribute to nutritional deficiencies that affect our health.
  • Modern multivitamins, especially the complete and whole-foods based multis, have added ingredients that target specific health and lifestyle needs such as energy, mens and women's issues, stress, etc.
  • We are quality bigots.  Most, if not all, name brand, big store multivitamins contain fillers and lowest-cost (read low quality) ingredients.  They spend their money on advertising.  In the natural health food industry, there is an inverse relationship between quality and advertising.  The health food store brands, like Bluebonnet, Pure Essence, and others spend their money on ingredients and let us do their marketing.  If you are going to take one dietary supplement, take a high quality multivitamin.

Choosing A Multi-Vitamin

Choosing a multi-vitamin can be daunting task.  We have over 60 different multivitamin products all chosen for their quality and to answer specific needs of our customers.  In our effort you help you navigate the natural health maze, here's a summary of the questions you need to answer when choosing a multi-vitamin.

  1. I only want to take one pill.  Some people just don't like taking pills.  If you don't take them, they don't do you any good!  While One-A-Day vitamins do not have all the extra ingredients that the complete vitamins, there are do include the basic vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.
  2. I have trouble swallowing pills.  Another special case that can be answered with a chewable or liquid multi-vitamin.  Actually, the liquid vitamins also have the added benefit of better absorption.  
  3. I only want one bottle with everything in it.  This is where the "complete" multi-vitamins go to work.  In addition to the basic vitamins and minerals, complete multis include a variety of antioxidants, super greens, co-factors, enzymes, and herbs all focused on optimum health.  These are the vitamins that most people will report improved energy and a greater sense health and well-being.  But all of this nutrition comes with a price: having to take 2-3 big tablets a day.  Still, they are great products.
  4. I want the best!.  That's Whole Foods, isn't it?  All of our vitamins come from great companies that only use the best ingredients but there are differences between brands.  For example, Bluebonnet uses all natural ingredients, tested and retested, but they make their multis from isolates.  Isolates are when the vitamin or mineral is isolated and extracted from a food/plant and then reformulated into the final product.  Whole Foods based vitamins formulate their products from food-based ingredients.  The theory is that (and there is some research to support this) individual nutrients are more absorbable and readily used by the body when they are surrounded by co-factors that naturally occur around them.  Examples include vitamin A works better when surrounded by a mix of carotenoids and vitamin C works better when surrounded by bio-flavonoids.
  5. I want more energy / less stress!  This is probably the #1 complaint of customers when they come in to our store.  Many of our customers have reported that the complete multi-vitamins do help with energy - better nutrition will help the body run smoother and faster.  But there are also multi-vitamins that include nutritients and herbs that boost energy and/or reduce stress.  These are some of our best sellers.
  6. I'm a man/woman and want a multi-vitamin specific to me.  A recent trend in the vitamin business has been multi-vitamins specifically formulated for men and women.  They typically include herbs which support aging gender-specific issues.  If you are over 40, you might get benefit from one of these vitamins.  They typically only cost a few dollars more a month than generic multis.
  7. I'm pregnant!  Then you will want to take a pre-natal which is specially formulated for pregnancy.  In addition, we've chosen our products to minimize nausea.
  8. I'm a kid!  (or, more likey, you have kids!).  As busy a parents are and with the low quality of school lunchroom meals (more so this year as federally mandated changes have reduced the nutritional quality of the meals along with reduced portions), a multi-vitamin can supplement a child's of teen's nutritional needs, and hopefully keep them healthier throughout the year. (You may also want to peruse the Children's and Teen's pages under Popular Categories for ideas on how to keep your kids well.)
  9. I want a multi-vitamin to help with ....   There are variety of multi-vitamins that are formulated for special health issues such as hair loss, healthy blood sugar levels, healthy heart, etc.  It can be convenient to combine the multi-vitamin with extra, specialized ingredients that support your particular health needs.
  10. Iron vs. Iron-Free.  Finally, many vitamins come as "with Iron" and "Iron-Free".  Unless you are a woman of child-rearing age or you know that you are anemic, "Iron-Free" is the best choice.  Both the Bluebonnet Super Earth and Multi-One come in both flavors.

Now you are ready to shop!  Click Here to see our favorite multi-vitamins.