By Mark Becker
As I have repeatedly mentioned in my writings, I am a supplement hound. I take numerous supplements ranging from probiotics to CoQ10 to bone support formulas to protein powders to fish oil to plant extracts, the list goes on and on.
What if I told you the most important supplement is not on this list? Can you guess which one I am talking about? Well, it is the tried and true multivitamin.
As the mainstream media and health professionals have been espousing for years, many consumers do not get the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamins and minerals necessary from their diets, even when consuming the suggested daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Due to current farming practices, mass food production, processing and cooking, certain foods may be less nutrient dense than in previous years.
Vitamins and minerals help maintain cellular efficiency. They activate enzyme systems that are essential to cellular function. Phytonutrients, which are found in various forms of plant life, are so important that nutritionists recommend at least five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Sadly, less than one in five Americans get even half of these amounts. For this very reason, taking vitamin and mineral supplements has become a way of life for many Americans. Unfortunately, most people taking a multivitamin are still not getting what they really need because they are being misled into thinking that a “one a day" type multiple is meeting all their needs for optimum nutrition.
That said, it has become increasingly important to take a daily multivitamin with phytonutrients. They provide profound benefits as follows: Incorporated with other lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise, will help prevent certain health conditions; Provide the RDA of nutrients; Provide the necessary nutrients lacking in many foods; Ensure consistent nutrient intake; Maintain cellular efficiency; and Support the activation of enzymes essential to cellular function.
So Many to Choose From!
There are literally hundreds of different multivitamins on the market, all containing different amounts of certain vitamins and minerals and all claiming to be the very best. There are formulas specifically for men, for women, for pregnant women, and for people over the age of 50 years. There are also multivitamin formulas for people who live an active lifestyle, exercise, want more energy or desire specific health benefits such as heart health or prostate health.
So, how does someone develop a multivitamin that is truly going to help consumers accomplish their health objectives?
Consider the following:
The formula: What types of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc. are in the formula? The key functions of vitamins and minerals in the human body revolve around each serving their role as essential components in enzymes and coenzymes. Enzymes are molecules involved in speeding up chemical reactions necessary for human bodily function. Coenzymes are molecules that help the enzymes in their chemical reactions. Enzymes and coenzymes work to either join molecules together or split them apart by making or breaking the chemical bonds that join molecules together. One of the key concepts in nutritional medicine is to supply the necessary support or nutrients to allow the enzymes of a particular tissue to work at its optimum levels.
Most enzymes are composed of a protein along with an essential mineral, and possibly a vitamin. If an enzyme is lacking the essential mineral or vitamin, it cannot function properly. By providing the necessary mineral through diet or a nutritional formula, the enzyme is then able to perform its vital function. For example, zinc is necessary for the enzyme that activates vitamin A in the visual process. Without zinc in the enzyme, the vitamin A cannot be converted to the active form. This deficiency can result in what is known as night-blindness. By supplying the enzyme with zinc, the enzyme can perform its vital function.
The type of vitamins and minerals: It’s important to determine where the ingredients come from. Synthetic ingredients are manufactured in laboratories. Vitamins work together synergistically in their natural state but not when they are synthetically isolated. This is an important distinction because it directly impacts their ability to be absorbed and used in the body.
Quality: Does the multivitamin meet all label claims? Only independent lab testing can tell you that. Certain brands have failed to meet label claims which only makes consumers of these products more skeptical. Our industry has been plagued by companies trying to take shortcuts to make money. People are already notoriously skeptical about the efficacy of vitamins. These transgressions only permeate those attitudes.
There are many good reasons to take a multivitamin. In today’s processed food world, even the best eating habits can fall short of meeting all of the 40-plus nutrients needed each day. As previously mentioned, most Americans fail to meet dietary recommendations for many reasons. Taking a multivitamin is an easy way to bridge nutritional gaps.
Mark Becker is an account manager for Vivion, a raw materials distributor, based in Vernon, California. He has worked as a natural products sales and marketing executive for 20 years. Mark has written more than 300 articles and has hosted or been a guest on more than 500 radio shows. He obtained a bachelor's in journalism from Long Beach State University and did his Master’s work in communications at Cal State Fullerton. For more than 30 years he has participated in numerous endurance events, including more than 150 triathlons of Olympic distance or longer, 103 marathons and numerous other events including ultramarathons and rough water swims from Alcatraz to the mainland. He has relied on a comprehensive dietary supplement and homeopathic regimen to support his athletic, professional and personal endeavors. Follow Mark Becker on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, access www.vivioninc.com or www.EnergyatLast.com.
This article is published by the Natural Products Insider and the article may be viewed here.