Laurel Sterling, MA, RD, CDN
There has been much debate over the years as to whether we need a multivitamin or not. Many Americans eat what has been unfortunately coined as the Standard American Diet (SAD) which is loaded with refined, processed, pesticide-laden “foods.” Many turn to these convenience foods and fast foods due to fast-paced lives, where eating on the run has become the norm.
Daily life demands and not eating a balanced diet can make it difficult to reach the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). And the nutrient content of our food is often reduced or lost through processing, storing, and even cooking. Some soil is also found to be stripped and depleted of many crucial minerals. It sure isn’t the days of our grandparents, or even our parents, where eating out was rare. They ate most meals together at the dinner table and even harvested from their own gardens.
Although there is a subtle movement back to these “old world” ways of living and eating (think self-sustainability with gardens, canning, juicing, and eating raw), many more have chosen not to adopt this lifestyle and instead choose fast, cheap, and easy. Whether you see that as good or bad, the reality is we’re living in a much faster paced society.
Vitamins and minerals are required for healthy, normal metabolism, growth, and well-being. But because of the many reasons listed above, not all of us receive these important nutrients. That’s why many of us can benefit from a multivitamin.
Vegans and vegetarian are typically lower in B-12, zinc, iron, and calcium. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may benefit from more omega-3s, calcium, and folic acid. They also typically need more vitamin D3, B-12, magnesium, and iron. Peri-menopausal women may need more iron as well, a higher level of vitamin D3, and calcium. People ages 60 and over may need additional vitamin D3, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins. Many studies support the benefits of incorporating a multivitamin into our daily supplement regime.
When shopping for a multivitamin, look for one that’s good quality and highly absorbable. It should be taken with a meal (preferably breakfast or lunch). Certain nutrients like B vitamins may energize a person and keep them from getting good quality sleep, which is why it may not be ideal to take them at dinnertime.
There are specific formulations for children, teens, women, men, pregnancy, seniors, vegetarians, and vegans, so be sure to find one that addresses your needs specifically. A high-quality, multivitamin will fill in our nutrient gaps.
The Daily Dose blog features health and wellness articles from Senior Nutritionist & Educator Jolie Root, LPN,LNC; Nutritionist & Educator Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN; and Featured Guest Blogger Karen Roth, MSNC. Other guest bloggers will also join us.