At least half of U.S. adults take dietary supplements. 1 Not all multivitamins are equal, though — many have relatively non-absorptive forms of vitamins and minerals, or unbalanced proportions of nutrients. The best contain high-quality ingredients, few or no additives, and balanced nutrient doses based on age, gender, and activity level. Personally, I take Vitamin Code Raw Women’s multivitamin (EDIT: I now take a specially formulated multivitamin prescribed by my doctor), which states on the label that it uses raw, organic food-based ingredients. There are several other good brands as well. How to identify them? Check the label and avoid additives like gelatin (often from beef), soy, and titanium dioxide. 2 Look for easily absorbed forms of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium asporotate (EDIT: or magnesium citrate) instead of oxide, for example, and calcium forms other than carbonate. 3 No multivitamin is ideal, but some are much better than others.
Another key supplement is probiotics. 4 The key here is to get a brand that requires refrigeration. That means it should have been refrigerated on the store shelf, and it should be refrigerated as soon as you get it home. It may contain multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, possibly with fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Personally, I take Primadophilus reuteri (a blend of a few strains) and Primadophilus Optima (a blend of many strains). (EDIT: I now take Garden of Life Women’s RAW Probiotics, as well as Primadophilus reuteri.)
Beyond these basics, supplementation is primarily a matter of choice. Some people have had excellent results with supplements like dried barley greens, Cellect powder, Immunocal, or chaga mushroom. A magic bullet for one person may not work for another — so you’ll need to experiment to find what works best for your own body chemistry. Rest assured that there are great supplements for you — so, if I were you, I would find at least one with the help of a qualified health-care professional and then take it consistently.
- Multivitamin-multimineral supplements: Who uses them?, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007 ↩
- Titanium Dioxide Classified as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety. ↩
- Calcium, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health ↩
- Probiotic, Wikipedia ↩