Did You “Remember” to Take Your Multi-Vitamin?

While many people are skeptical about supplements, most wouldn’t bat an eye at the idea of taking a Multi-Vitamin. It just sounds like “a good thing to do,” especially if they are smart enough to know that they don’t always eat as well as they should. But, it turns out that there may be more to multi-vitamins than just extra support for a poor diet.

Much research has been done to study how various vitamins and supplements affect the body. A variety of eight to twelve week studies have been conducted using both men and  women, as well as children between 8-14 years of age as subjects. The studies suggest that everyone benefits from taking a multi-vitamin–but they found different brain and memory-related primary results for each gender, and age group. Based on the results, here’s what we know:

  • Men can expect to see an improvement on cognitive tasks,
  • Women will improve their accuracy and speed on multitasking efforts, and
  • Children perform better on attention-based tasks.

In the spring of 2012, multi-vitamins were the subject of yet another study for university researchers. At that time, they reviewed at about 10 different clinical trials to see if daily use of a multi-vitamin could improve memory. Various studies have shown a range of results including improved memory for older women to increased alertness and general feelings of well-being for older men. So, while the  don’t show that the use of multi-vitamins can actually recover lost mental abilities, they do prove that multi-vitamins can boost brain functions in all participants, after only a few weeks of supplementation.

What if you don’t have memory issues? Should you still consider a multi-vitamin? The short answer is, YES. Our foods today just don’t contain the same level of nutrients that they did in previous decades (Some studies suggest that a person would have to consume about 3,00 calories of very specific fruit and veggie combinations on a daily basis in order to give the body all the nutrients needed for optimum function! “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”). Deficiencies of any vitamin or mineral can lead to a variety of diseases, and having the required nutrients promotes optimal performance in every day life.

So, how do we choose the best one from all the options that are out there? A supplement is only as good as what actually gets absorbed and utilized by the body. That’s why I personally only use and recommend top quality, bio-available isotonic supplements. Unlike tablets and capsules, the isotonic format ensures that the vital nutrients are fully ready to be absorbed by the body without nutritive loss from the digestion process. Click here to learn more.

But, what if you already take a multi-vitamin, and “like” it? Read on to see how yours measures up:

  • Most multivitamins will contain approximately 100 percent of the RDA recommendations for 20-25 individual nutrients—in general, the most important of these are the B-complex vitamins, Vitamin D and Vitamin E, and these can certainly be present in higher amounts.
  • Biotin is critical for B-complex absorption, but is often included in minimal amounts for reasons of cost—a quality multivitamin will contain 100 percent of the RDA.
  • Zinc is regarded as increasingly important in recent studies, and obtaining the entire RDA from food can be challenging; a quality multivitamin should contain approximately 50 percent of the RDA to make up the difference.
  • Iodine helps to ensure proper thyroid function, which is foundational to proper metabolism—a sound multivitamin formula will contain 100 percent of the RDA.
  • Despite debate about iron supplementation, it is almost certainly advisable for pre-menopausal women; their RDA is set at 18mg, while men require 8mg.
  • Selenium has demonstrated particular potential for men’s health, specifically prostate function, but intake must be moderate, regardless of gender—a balanced formulation will contain 75 to 100 percent of the RDA.

As the last two points suggest, varied vitamin and mineral needs have been shown in certain populations, such as higher amounts of B-complex for athletes, and other categories based on individual genetics and lifestyle habits. So, supplementation in addition to a basic multi-vitamin is frequently needed. Figuring out which supplements are specifically recommended for you, and taking the next step towards custom nutrition is always better than just trial and error. Let me know if you need help!

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Tom Gibson