(NaturalNews) A multivitamin is one of the most commonly recommended supplements today for both men and women, as well as children. This has many of us stopping regularly at our local drug store and picking up whatever may be on sale. However as the supplement industry continues to increase its sales and variety of formulations, we need to consciously consider what we are investing in. It is important to ask ourselves whether we really do need that multivitamin, and if so, what kind.
Clean up your lifestyle before you invest
The first thing to put into action before relying on an external solution is to clean up the internal environment. One of the first places to start is by enhancing one's diet. The best vitamins and minerals come from real, natural, whole food. The most nutrient dense foods are plant foods, especially organic fruits and vegetables in their raw form.
It is equally important to also consider what we are putting into our system that may be depleting our vitamin and mineral stores unnaturally. Many pharmaceutical medications cause vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies. For example, birth control pills have been directly linked to depleting the body of vitamins B6, B12 and folate, as well as magnesium. Common substances like coffee, alcohol and cigarettes are also known to cause vitamin and mineral depletion in the body.
Meeting with a natural holistic practitioner like a naturopath, is a good place to start to determine whether a multivitamin is a smart addition, or whether some specific vitamin or mineral, or combination would be better suited for your individual needs. Your personal health status, age, lifestyle needs, and dietary choices need to be properly considered to determine the best choice of supplements. A multivitamin may be part of your solution, but if so, not just any multivitamin will do.
Choose quality, over quantity
Most of today's multivitamins come from synthetic sources, with numerous artificial additives like colors, flavors, sugars, chemicals and fillers. As any health conscious individual can deduce, it does seem like a rather backwards approach to be using something that takes away from our health, to improve our health.
Many people are also under the impression that a vitamin is a vitamin, meaning they are all equivalent in efficacy from our body's perspective. This has shown to be false, as our body deals best with vitamins and minerals that come from, and in their whole food form. Many synthetic vitamins and minerals are not digested or absorbed properly by the body, resulting in more stress to the body and waste of your financial resources. It is also when we use synthetic supplements that we run the risk of building up a toxic state internally, or some biochemical imbalance.
This is why multivitamins should not be taken indiscriminately, but researched before they are chosen to enhance our health. And when it comes to choosing the best multivitamin, optimal quality is key. Below are a few, simple guidelines to help you make the best choice.
First, to be most bioavailable, the multivitamin should come from whole food sources, preferably organic.
Secondly, it should be all natural and contain no artificial or synthetic ingredients.
Thirdly, it should have appropriate biodynamic quantities, minimizing any unfavorable vitamin-mineral interactions.
Finally, it would be beneficial for it to contain valuable herbs and/or phytochemical compounds that aid the synergistic action of all the ingredients, which also aids optimal absorption.
In the end, we all want our money to be put to best use, rather than go down the toilet (literally), and have our health be the best it can be!
About the author: Evita Ochel, B.Sc., B.Ed., CHN - is a consciousness expansion teacher, a natural health educator, holistic nutritionist, speaker and author of Healing & Prevention Through Nutrition. She regularly writes on her online publication Evolving Wellness whose focus is natural, wholesome, plant-based, organic nutrition and green living to achieve optimal health and longevity. She is also the founder of Healthytarian - a lifestyle based on Fresh Thinking, Smart Eating and Mindful Living. To learn more about her work, please visit EvitaOchel.com