The vitamin and dietary supplement market have a never-ending supply of choices. There is an endless number of herbs, minerals, oils, and other alternatives to choose from. If you take a daily supplement you are among half of the U.S. population that does.
The supplement industry brings in over $30 billion a year. With all of these available products, how will you know how to choose a supplement that is healthy for you versus one that has no discerniible benefits? Each individual has different dietary needs, so speaking with a health professional before beginning a new supplement can help you decide.
In the meantime, the following can help you pick the best supplement, and explains which ingredients a proper supplement should have.
Look for Extra Ingredients
Daily vitamins and supplements have a nutrition label on the bottle or box called “Supplement Facts.” Many of these supplements have numerous ingredients that are required to be disclosed on the label. These supplemental facts are different from nutritional facts in that:
- Dietary ingredients without daily reference values or reference daily intakes must be listed on the supplements facts label.
- The dietary ingredient source may be listed on the supplement facts panel.
- The dietary ingredient source does not have to be listed on the ingredient statement if it is on the supplement facts panel.
- The supplement fact panel must have the part of the plant the dietary ingredient came from, and it cannot be listed in nutrition facts.
- Zero nutrient amount cannot be listed on the supplement fact panel but must be on the nutrition fact panel.
These requirements come into play because many of the ingredients aren’t as common as known minerals like calcium. You could also be receiving a product full of meaningless ingredients with no benefits.
Purpose of Your Daily Supplement
Supplements are often used to get the daily allowance of vitamins and minerals that are recommended for your body to remain healthy. The recommended daily allowance is the minimum daily amount of vitamins and minerals an average person needs. Women and men have different dietary needs for supplements. But, ideally, you should get all of your dietary needs from a well-balanced diet.
In healthy people, a daily supplement other than fish oil, probiotics, and vitamin D are not usually needed. But some people may need the help, especially if they do not eat enough of certain food groups. Other reasons you may choose to take a supplement are because of certain prescription medications you take, your age, or lack of access to fresh foods.
So, why is iron or folate included in a multivitamin? What is the reason that a certain enzyme, mineral, or vitamin is part of the supplement? Studies have found that many chronic diseases are often linked to vitamin deficiencies, even if you believe your diet is overall healthy. A daily vitamin can lay a good foundation for your health. And a quality dietary supplement should be able to answer questions regarding its necessity for your diet and other useful information.
Your Concerns Should Be Addressed
A recent article by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine lists the following reasons why adults choose to take a daily supplement, the most frequent reasons being:
- Overall health improvement – 45%
- Health maintenance – 33%
- Bone strength – 25%
Whether you are looking to increase your energy or rid yourself of a certain health condition, your daily supplement needs to be purposed for that regard. For example, if you are pregnant, you may not get enough iron from food alone, and you may need a folate(not folic acid ever) supplement. If you are over 50, you may need a vitamin B12 or D supplement due to the body’s decrease in absorption ability.
Medical experts agree there is no harm in daily multivitamins.
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