Multivitamins: Growing up, your parents forced you to take them, (Flintstones Chews anyone?) but we never really knew what they did besides keep us “healthy”. So, let's explore what makes up a multivitamin, who really needs them, and how they can be useful in our daily lives.*
ARE MULTIVITAMINS NECESSARY?
In the supplement world multivitamins are often seen as the very foundation of our health. It doesn't matter if your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, or just maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you decide that taking a multivitamin is right for you, it's important to choose a high quality one with the appropriate vitamin and mineral composition. Multivitamins contain various essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs to reproduce, grow and simply to function properly. So, how do you figure out which ones are considered the highest quality with both the right ingredients and the right dosages specifically for you?
First, check the label for a stamp that reads "GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) Certified." What that means is that all the ingredients are true to label.
How many of us actually eat all the colors of the rainbow (well, besides the occasional bag of skittles of course) and get enough diversity in our meals to benefit from all the nutrients they offer? For many of us, it's a struggle to get enough nutrients in our daily lives due to a multitude of things ranging from restrictive diets (Paleo, Keto, Vegetarian, Vegan, lactose intolerant, etc.), hectic schedules, disliking certain food groups, or simply a lack of knowledge depth on which foods benefit us in which ways.
One of the most commonly reported factors is inconvenience. We are all trying to fit as much into our busy schedules as possible including healthy food. That is where multivitamins come into play. When our schedules are busy or we simply don't feel like consuming a multitude of fruits and veggies every day, multivitamins help us make up for all those nutrients we are missing out on.
With this being said, a multivitamin is a supplement, meaning it is simply a tool used to fill the gaps; the best source for all your vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in general will always be real, whole foods. But, if you are anything like me, a well-intended haul of fresh produce from the grocery store often goes to waste if you forget about it sitting in the fridge. So you end up wasting not only wasting food and money but also missing out on their key nutrients. A a daily multivitamin is a great way to have a backup source just in case things don't go according to plan.
MEN VS WOMEN
Something that people often don’t think about the fact that men and women need
different vitamins and in different amounts.
Men should consider:
Vitamin D to support testosterone levels, heart health, and bone health. This is especially important for older men who are more susceptible to falling. Vitamin D can be found in certain fish such as salmon and tuna, spinach, and egg yolks.
Magnesium is again great for testosterone support and muscular health.
Boron is known for it's role in prostate health. Find it in avocados, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
Omega-3 & 6's aid with cardiovascular, brain, and joint health. It is particularly important to find a high quality omega as their effectiveness is correlated with how well they are preserved. Of course the most famous Omega-rich food source is fish, but don't forget about chia and flax seeds as a vegan option.
Saw Palmetto Extract has long been used to better balance hormones to protect the prostate.
Finding a high-quality men's multivitamin should include all of these and more. Recommended dosages of each vitamin and mineral can vary based age, activity level, genetics, and lifestyle. For example, someone who is overweight or does not get much exposure to natural sunlight will need more Vitamin D.
Okay now ladies:
Women benefit greatly from vitamins and minerals like Folic acid, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, and Iron. These help the female body balance hormone levels, make blood cells, strengthen bones, reduce inflammation, improving cognitive function, and boost the immune system.
Folic Acid helps your body make new cells. It is particularly important for pregnant women to help prevent premature births, low birth weights, and birth defects. Folic acid can be found in leafy greens, lean meats, grains, and beans.
Vitamin B-12 has a very wide range of benefits from improving symptoms of depression to improved memory performance, red blood cell formation and better bone health. It can be found in eggs, milk, cheese, beef and chicken. It can be particularly difficult for vegans and vegetarians to get enough Vitamin B-12.
Calcium is primarily known for its ability build strong bones, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. Yogurt, milk, and cheese are great sources for calcium.
Iron builds healthy blood cells and hormones. Women specifically tend to be more iron-deficient because they lose it during their monthly periods and also require more during pregnancy.
Finding a high-quality women’s multivitamin will help avoid these deficiencies. Recommended dosages of each vitamin and mineral can also vary for women based age, activity level, genetics, and lifestyle. Again, it is key to pay attention to the dosages of each ingredient since an expecting mother is going to need higher levels of folic acid than a seventy-year-old woman who mostly likely postmenopausal.
*No matter why you want to take multivitamins, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor before purchasing one to ensure that they will not interfere with any medications you are on and to check if you currently have any deficiencies.