A good multivitamin provides you with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other health benefits. Take advantage of this powerful tool to help you stay healthy.

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What to Consider When Choosing the Best Vitamins

The best vitamins for your needs depend on a variety of factors. Your age, gender, lifestyle, and medical history are all important. Some people also have dietary preferences or food sensitivities that affect what theyll and wont eat.

Vitamins can be separated into two groups based on whether they are water- or fat-soluble. Fatsoluble vitamins tend to be stored in body fat cells, while water-soluble vitamins can more easily pass through the digestive system. However, some fat-soluble vitamins can be absorbed directly from the digestive tract without passing through the bloodstream.

Water-Soluble vs. Fat-Soluble

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and can therefore be readily accessed by mouthwash or ingestion. Examples include vitamin C, which appears in supplement form as ascorbic acid (vitamin CAs) or in pill form as d-ascorbic acid (vitamin EAs). These tablets may then be dissolved in water or juice before consumption.

Water-soluble vitamins often appear in multivitamin and mineral supplements because they are considered less likely to be lost than fat-soluble vitamins. However, if youre taking a high-quality multivitamin with plenty of water-soluble B-complex vitamins, it isnt necessary to take them separately.

Fat-soluble vitamins are more difficult to access because the body cannot readily absorb them through the digestive tract. Instead, the body must store these vitamins in body fat cells, where they can remain for an extended time. The most well-known fat-soluble vitamin is vitamin A, which appears in supplement form as retinol (vitamin AAs) or in pill form as beta-carotene (vitamin EAs). Retinol is usually more slowly released from the body so it can provide a more stable supply.

Some fat-soluble vitamins are further broken down to their individual components during digestion. For example, the active form of vitamin D (which can be produced in the skin when sunlight hits it) is called 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. This dissolves in water and is then absorbed directly through the digestive tract.

Dietary Preference/Sensitivity

For some people, certain foods can cause symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, or headaches. This is especially true for those who have specific dietary requirements or sensitivities. The following sections contain some of the most common dietary restrictions and recommendations.

  • Vegetarians: Vegetarians may need to take extra vitamin B12 because animal products are the primary source of this nutrient for many people.
  • Osteopenia: People with osteopenia may benefit from additional calcium and vitamin D.
  • Anemia: Anemic women may want to consider taking iron along with folic acid and vitamin B12.
  • Nightshades: Those who avoid nightshades, including members of the potato family, may want to consider taking additional vitamin C to help prevent scurvy.
  • Fructose: Consuming too much fructose can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches, and mood changes. To avoid these negative effects, some people restrict their intake of this sugar.
  • Glycemic Load: The glycemic load of a food refers to the amount of glucose it releases when it is digested. Low-glycemic-load foods are better for managing blood sugar levels than high-glycemic-load foods.
  • Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread pain and fatigue that does not respond to traditional treatment. One theory about its cause is that a deficiency in essential fatty acids may play a role. Taking a fish oil supplement can help alleviate some of the symptoms.

Other Special Needs

There are several other areas that require attention beyond just what you need to eat and drink. These areas include physical activity, stress management, and your personal safety.

  • Physical activity: If youre like many people, you may not realize how important regular exercise is until you start feeling its effects. It can increase bone density, improve posture, and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Stress management: When the body is under stress, it can release hormones that trigger the so-called fight-or-flight response. This response can make you feel anxious or nervous, but it can also crank up your metabolism and make you stronger.
  • Personal safety: Its important to stay safe both at home and away from home. A multi-purpose tool such as a retractable cordless hammer or a stun gun can help ensure that you are protected in case of emergencies or threatening situations.