Multivitamins: what are they, what do they do and how do you choose the best one for you. First of all, there is no set standard for multivitamins and not all of them contain exactly the same nutrients. Also, multivitamins can be different for women and men because of each gender”s differences in body composition. When purchasing multivitamin supplements, be sure to check the label to see if it”s for men or women. If there is no distinction listed, you can safely assume it”s for both genders. Then check the label for the DV of each of the multivitamin components.
What should a good multivitamin contain? Most importantly, for both men and women, a single serving should contain 100% of the DV of all the essential vitamins, from A through K, including the various configurations of the B vitamins — 1,2,6 and 12. Essential minerals contained in a good multivitamin include varying amounts of calcium, iodine, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium, copper, molybdenum and chromium. Other components might include folic acid, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid. Still other components for which DVs have not been established may include amino acids, silica, boron, lutein, lycopene, vanadium and various compounds and extracts of natural herbs.
Most multis do not contain iron. You may have to take iron supplements individually and, if you do, follow directions carefully. Iron is something you should only take in small dosages, preferably in consultation with your doctor. You should check with your doctor as well before deciding to take any multivitamin. Also, never take multivitamins on an empty stomach; they need to be consumed with meals.
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