A Multi A Day!

Lynn Laboranti, M.S., R.D.

Multivitamins are an easy, convenient way to help your body get the nutritional support it needs every day. But how to choose? With so many choices out there, we asked our Wellness Expert, Lynn Laboranti, M.S., R.D., to help us sort through the differences and make the right choice about which multivitamin you should be taking.


Q: What is a multivitamin? What does it contain?
LL: Multivitamins are evolving as we learn more about the individual needs of people based on their age, sex and preferences. Multivitamins contain a variety of vitamins and minerals to meet these needs. For example, a multivitamin gummie for a 10 year old child will contain different amounts of nutrients compared to a multivitamin tablet for a 60 year old female. Typically, a multivitamin will contain the basic vitamins, including vitamins A, C, D, E and some of the B vitamins. The minerals may also vary based on the size of the molecules and the form of the multivitamin product. A traditional tablet may accommodate larger molecules, whereas a softgel multivitamin or a gummie multivitamin may not. In addition to the size and form of the multi, nutrients may vary based on the manufacturer of the product.


Q: How do I choose a multivitamin?
LL: When choosing a multivitamin, one should first look for a high-quality multivitamin supplement. There are four important things you should look for when choosing a multivitamin. They include:


A Quality Statement: Quality statements represent a manufacturer's promise to offer high-quality, standardized products, and can come in the form of quality statements on the bottle or quality seals. Consumers should look for a name they recognize on these emblems or a seal from a health group that endorses the brand. Nature Made®, for example, carries a company-wide guarantee for potency standards on all of its products. The company also participates in the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) Dietary Supplement Verification Program (DSVP). Nature Made's vitamin E was the first dietary supplement to participate in USP's DSVP and many of the Nature Made products carry the DSVP mark. The DSVP mark appears on the front label of approved supplements and verifies the product's quality, purity and composition. USP is a not-for-profit organization that has set drug quality standards since 1820 and supplement quality standards about 15 years ago.


Check the Date: Expiration dates are put on vitamin bottles to let consumers know how long the contents will be effective. After the expiration date, the vitamins will have aged to a point that they may no longer contain the Daily Values indicated on the bottle. Identifiable Information: The lot number is a series of letters and/or numbers important for tracking the supplement's history in case there are any specific questions concerning the product purchased.


Contact Information: There should be a hotline and a web site for help. Dietary supplements that promote a toll-free number and a web site are indicators that a manufacturer is interested in sharing information with the public and is available to answer consumer questions. Nature Made’s Consumer Affairs department can be reached by calling 1-800-276-2878 between the hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time. Consumers can also visit www.naturemade.com to locate answers to many questions about vitamins and minerals or ask a specific question to the nutritionists via e-mail.


Warning: Warnings help to alert consumers about protective safety seals on the product, which should remain intact at time of purchase, and help caution them of the potential adverse effects of taking a supplement. People on prescription medication, pregnant or lactating mothers, or people with allergies should look for warnings on package labels. Quality manufacturers will alert consumers about taking a supplement under such conditions and suggest they contact a health care provider before taking a product.


Q: How do I choose which multivitamin formula is right for me?

LL: Nature Made offers various multivitamin formulas in different forms to please individual’s preferences—choose from tablets, softgels and gummies. Each is based on the nutritional needs of the individual’s gender and stage of life. Nutritional requirements change with age, especially for women, as they experience various changes in their lifecycle--such as menstruation, pregnancy/lactation, and menopause. Nature Made multivitamin formulas can `supplement` a healthy diet to meet individual nutritional needs.


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