Supplements, like so many other aspects of health information, are confusing! One extreme says we do not need any supplements if we are eating a healthy, whole food diet; the other side promotes using supplements to combat every possible health issue. I grew up with a father who believed in being pro-active with his health, so he took – no kidding – 25 different supplements every single day! He even took all the separate bottles with him while traveling! So, needless to say, I have had to do my homework to find a healthy balance between extremes. Supplements ARE necessary in addition to a whole food diet because much of our food today is nutritionally bankrupt and depleted of many vitamins and, most importantly, trace minerals that are vital for the body to function optimally. This is in part due to the fact that the quality of the soil used for growing food has become degraded and certain fertilizers binds minerals so they are less available for the plants and to us. This is true of organically grown foods as well.
Dr Gladys Block, formerly with the national Cancer Institute, conducted a large study comparing people who regularly took multi-vitamins and anti-oxidants with those who took none or only a low dose RDA multi-vitamin. The study showed that the regular takers had 73% less diabetes risk than non –supplement takers; 52% less risk of heart disease and were 74% more likely to rate their own health as “good” or “excellent”.
How to Identify High Quality Multivitamin Supplements
I do believe that dietary supplements — including vitamins and minerals — can help compensate for some of the damage your body incurs through living in a contemporary culture. However, it’s not wise to use supplements to justify a poor diet. In my experience no amount of supplements will ever be able to substitute for healthy food choices. That being said, the case for taking a daily, high quality multivitamin, mineral and antioxidant supplement is strong, especially as we get older. Several nutrients are less well absorbed later in life and because the body systems become less efficient and need more support to function optimally. You need to look for;
- A very high quality line. If the vitamins and minerals are not in the right form and quantities our body will not absorb it properly and it is a waste of money! I recommend femMed highly due to its commitment to nutritional excellence.
- Ideally split into two daily doses. Our body can only absorb so many nutrients at once and approximately 12 hours apart allows for optimal absorption.
- No binders, fillers, dairy, egg, yeast, gluten, artificial anything.
Multivitamin for Women
Balanced vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (specific for women – our needs are different!) to enhance energy, stamina and performance. Look for one that also has folate, magnesium, and zinc to support a woman’s cycle; calcium and iron are also important for women as is selenium which can help with thyroid function. If you only take one supplement, choose a high-quality multivitamin that has these components.
Helps us stay healthy and younger by providing a strong defense against free-radicals and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Antioxidants: pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry, grape seed and lycopene can help combat free radical damage. Free radical damage is linked to many chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, cognitive disorders, cataracts, macular degeneration and accelerated aging of the skin, organs and blood vessels.
So, be your own health advocate, become informed and choose only proven, high quality supplements to support your body to be the best it can be!