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How to Choose a Multivitamin

Weed out the junk from the good stuff when picking a multivitamin.


  • : Speak to a physician before starting to take a vitamin of any kind.
  • Step 1: Select form Narrow down your choices based on how you would like to ingest your vitamin: in powder form, capsule, tablet, or liquid.
  • Step 2: Choose dosage Further narrow down your selection by deciding how often you would like to take a vitamin: a single daily dose or spread out throughout the day.
  • Step 3: Check essential vitamins Make sure it provides at least 100 percent of the eight essential vitamins: thiamine or B-1, riboflavin or B-2, niacin or B-3, B-6, B-12, D, E, and folic acid.
  • Step 4: Confirm vitamin A & C Check that it contains some vitamin A and vitamin C.
  • TIP: Too much vitamin A has been found to increase hip fracture when over 4300 incremental units are taken daily; and too much vitamin C may cause an upset stomach and/or diarrhea.
  • Step 5: Check mineral level Check mineral levels. It should provides at least 50% of your daily chromium, copper, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
  • TIP: Magnesium can be obtained from whole-grains and may not require supplementation.
  • Step 6: Separate calcium Don't worry about getting calcium in your multivitamin -- it's better taken separately, as the daily recommended levels are too large to be contained a single pill.
  • Step 7: Avoid too much phosphorus Avoid multivitamins with too much phosphorus, which we get plenty of in our diets.
  • Step 8: Consider iron If you're a woman, vegetarian, or have been diagnosed as anemic, select a multivitamin that contains iron in ferrous form, which is most readily absorbed.
  • TIP: If your multivitamin contains iron, take it with a piece of fruit. Not only can it cause intestinal discomfort on an empty stomach, but the fruit's vitamin C will help it absorb.
  • Step 9: Compare prices Compare prices and remember that you're shopping for a daily multivitamin, which can add up.
  • TIP: Cheaper multivitamins may contain fillers such as starches and silica, while expensive multivitamins tend to be more pure.
  • Step 10: Confirm quality Only purchase quality-guaranteed or laboratory-tested multivitamins.
  • Step 11: Take regularly Now that you've chosen your multivitamin, make sure you take it regularly.
  • FACT: In 1747, Scottish naval surgeon James Lind discovered that a nutrient in citrus foods -- now known as vitamin C -- prevented scurvy.

You Will Need

  • Multivitamins
  • Patience

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