Multivitamins: A Convenient Option
Multivitamins are a convenient option because they are formulated to fill those small nutritional gaps that even the healthiest diets can leave. The best multivitamins contain the right balance of vitamins and minerals to prevent mega-dosing.
Although most people get all the vitamins they need from the foods they eat, millions of people worldwide take supplemental vitamins as part of their health regimen - because they help you feel better, stronger and help supplement areas of your diet where - for whatever reason - you just don't eat the proper foods.
Why Buy Vitamins?
There are many good reasons to consider taking vitamin supplements, such as over-the-counter multivitamins. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), a doctor may recommend that you take them:
- for certain health problems
- if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet
- if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
Your body uses vitamins for a variety of biological processes, including growth, digestion, and nerve function. There are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs: vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). AAFP cites two categories of vitamins.
Water Soluble Vitamins
Water soluble vitamins are easily absorbed by the body, which doesn't store large amounts. The kidneys remove those vitamins that are not needed.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Fat soluble vitamins are absorbed into the body with the use of bile acids, which are fluids used to absorb fat. The body stores these for use as needed.
Special Nutrient Needs
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, many people consume more calories than they need without taking in recommended amounts of a number of nutrients. The Guidelines warn that there are numerous nutrients - including vitamins - for which low dietary intake may be a cause of concern. These nutrients are:
- calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A (as carotenoids), C, and E (for adults)
- calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E (for children and adolescents)
- vitamin B-12, iron, folic acid, and vitamins E and D (for specific population groups).
Kirkland Signature Daily Multi Vitamins & Minerals Tablets. Provides the essential nutrients necessary for a balanced diet and to give you that energized feeling. USP verified dietary supplement. (The USP - Verified Dietary Supplement Program conducts testing on dietary supplements to ensure the integrity, purity, dissolution, and safe manufacturing of products on the market.)
What About Pre-Biotics?
It's the next big thing in bugs - well, sort of. If certain gut bacteria promote good health, it makes sense to eat a diet rich in the nutrients that make those microbes happy. that's the concept behind prebiotic fiber supplements, which include several kinds of soluble plant fiber that are abundant in foods like onions, garlic, and leeks. Prebiotics appear to promote the growth of good bugs that fight gut invaders like salmonella, and supplements are event showing up on store shelves. Should you take them? Maybe - personal choice, actually. Some researchers don't think the studies on prebiotics are persuasive enough - not yet anyway. While studies continue, stick with the probiotics.
How Vitamins are Regulated
Vitamin products are regulated by FDA as "Dietary Supplements." The law defines dietary supplements, in part, as products taken by mouth that contain a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet.
Listed in the "dietary ingredient" category are not only vitamins, but minerals, botanicals products, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, microbial probiotics, and metabolites. Dietary supplements can also be extracts or concentrates, and may be found in many forms.
The FDA has established dietary supplement "current Good Manufacturing Practice" (cGMP) regulations requiring that manufacturers evaluate their products through testing identity, purity, strength, and composition.
Vitamins are not dangerous unless you get too much of them. More is not necessarily better with supplements, especially if you take fat soluble vitamins. If you take blood thinners, talk to your doctor before taking vitamin E or vitamin K pills. Taking too much of a vitamin can also cause problems with some medical tests or interfere with how some drugs work.
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