Kara Ghiringhelli, Department of Public Health
Kara is a Nutrition Education Specialist at DPH.
Although I eat really well, I do take a daily multivitamin. Multivitamins don’t perform miracles—I don’t take one to replace eating my vegetables. I take them to ‘supplement’ my diet—to ensure I am getting everything I need.
Recently, I went for a stroll down the vitamin aisle at my local drugstore. It was the first time I really paid attention to just how many multivitamins filled the shelves! There seems to be something for everyone—men, women, seniors, kids, liquid, chewable, tablets, gummies—oh my! How does one choose from this variety? For me, it is a process of elimination.
First thing I do when on the hunt for a multivitamin is to look to see if any have the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) and/or the NSF International (NSF) seal. This way I know that what is listed for vitamin and mineral amounts on the product label is true. If I can’t find these seals, then I choose a popular brand that I am familiar with.
The next thing I noticed was a slew of ‘specialty formulas’—multivitamins that have added ingredients making promises to boost energy, even promising to improve memory! Who wouldn’t want some of that? But there isn’t much scientific evidence to support these claims just yet—so I say save your dollars and stick with a multivitamin that fits your age and gender.
Finally, in this economy, it is hard to consider spending a lot on multivitamins. I always look at price. Price does not equal quality. However, I must confess, I do love the gummy vitamins; they taste good and are fun to eat! The only thing is you may have to purchase multiple types of gummies because manufactures can’t fit all vitamins and minerals into one tiny gummy. So you end up spending more. If you do go for the gummies, make sure to read the label, sometimes you get to eat two gummies to meet your needs. YUM!
I know many of you out there take a multi-vitamin or other type of vitamin/mineral supplement. How do you choose from the medley of choices? We’d love to hear from you!