Thursday, March 31, 2011

What to look for in a vitamin

In an ideal world, none of us would eat any processed food and we would get everything needed for survival from our whole, nutritious eating habits.  Before the invention of processed food, our ancestors survived sans supplements.
But, the typical American diet is far from ideal so multivitamins tend to be of great benefit for people lacking in nutrients.  The problem is that big companies have all decided they want in on the profit, meaning that cheap, easy, and synthetic processing comes into play.  The other problem is that people often use vitamins as a substitute for whole nutritional food.  Getting nutrition through a vitamin can't begin to compare to the real deal.  Taking a vitamin is fine but be fully aware that a healthy diet is the only way to gain the full nutritional benefits.

In order to make sure that you are getting a good multiV, check into the following:

Is your vitamin natural or synthetic?  Don't make the mistake of shopping for the discount or chain brand.  They primarily use cheap and synthetic supplements to keep the cost down.  You think a vitamin is a vitamin so it doesn't matter?  It does.  Synthetic isolates, which are alternatives to whole foods, are only partially absorbed into your system, if at all, and may produce side effects. 

Is your vitamin ISO and NSF Certified?  Why does this matter?  And what do those crazy letters mean?  ISO stands for the "Internal Organization for Standardization" and NSF is the "National Sanitation Foundation".  You want to make sure that your multivitamin meets the highest industry standards and that it is living up to it's health claims and not wasting your money.  You also want to be sure that no pesticides, chemicals, dirty equipment, or untrained workers have slipped through the cracks.  When you think about it, there is a lot that can go wrong.   

If your multivitamin is living up to both of these standards, it will be easy to spot.  Meeting the listed requirements is not cheap or easy so they are sure to boast about it on their labeling. 

And I'm going to repeat myself because it's important- the best nutrients come from whole foods so be sure you are getting enough of those as well!   

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