I am very careful to eat a healthy diet. Do I still need to take a multivitamin?
Yes. Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to obtain the necessary level of nutrients from food alone. The mineral content in our soils has diminished over the years due to changes in agriculture. Pollution and pesticides, use of prescription medication, stress and certain forms of cooking can deplete vitamins and minerals. A quality multivitamin will provide all of the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants required for optimal health and it can fill in the gaps where your diet falls short. Multivitamins do not replace healthy eating, but rather they complement an already healthy diet.
I’ve heard that capsules are better than tablets. Is this true?
There are many advantages in taking capsules over tablets. Most tablets take a long time to dissolve resulting in key nutrients often not being absorbed, whereas capsules dissolve quickly, so the body is able to absorb virtually every nutrient. You should also consider vegetable-based capsules. Many manufacturers have switched to vegetarian capsules or vegetarian caplets/tablets. Vegetable-based capsules are preferred by many for dietary, religious and health reasons. They are also easier to swallow than larger tablets!
I’ve heard a lot about antioxidants. What are they and why are they so important?
Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules generated by normal bodily functions such as breathing and eating, and they are also produced in response to stress, sun, pollution, and chemical exposure. These unstable molecules are seen as dangerous because they seek out and attach to molecules from healthy cells, causing damage – a process known as oxidation. Numerous age-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis and cataracts have been associated with an excess of free radicals or a deficiency of antioxidants. For example, the oxidation of cholesterol in our blood vessels leads to inflammation and atherosclerosis. Sun or chemical exposure can lead to free radical damage of the cornea of the eye and development of cataracts and it can also take a toll on our skin, causing premature aging and wrinkling. Antioxidants act as “free radical scavengers,” neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals. Antioxidants are abundant in fruits and vegetables, as well as in other foods including nuts, grains and some meats, poultry and fish. Examples of some good antioxidants include pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry, grape seed extract and lycopene.
I currently take a multi once a day but I heard this might not be enough?
Our bodies are not designed to utilize nutrients in one large single dose. Research has proven that eating smaller, more frequent meals allows for better utilization of the nutritional value of our food. The same principle applies to vitamins and minerals. Divided doses ensure that we have a constant supply of nutrients throughout the day for improved absorption. A one-size-fits-all multivitamin formula, taken once a day, cannot possibly satisfy our varied nutritional needs.