I’m not a big supplement guy, but for most clients, I usually recommend multivitamins as part of their nutritional practice. A whole food diet always wins, but thanks to the craziness that most of us have to deal with each day, multivitamin supplements can help fill in the missing holes in a diet. After all, I have all of my clients add in specific fruits and vegetables to each meal they eat, but I understand that life likes to chuck a curveball at us here and there – and those veggies aren’t always going to be an arm’s length away. If that sounds like you, then a multivitamin may be for you.
If you train regularly, then the traditional dietary recommendations do not apply to you. Strength training, intense conditioning, and endurance activities all create a greater need in your body for energy, vitamins, and minerals. A multi-vitamin can help make sure that your body is not suffering any deficiencies (once again, because of the inability to get enough whole foods in for that particular day). Thanks to our wonderful supply of processed foods, more and more nutritional deficiencies are occurring so a multi-vitamin can help prevent any shortcomings to your well-being.
But what’s the best multivitamin? A good one should contain the fat soluble vitamins A,D, and E as well as the water soluble vitamins B1,B2,B3,B5,B6,B12, folic acid, and Vitamin C (1). Many multi-vitamins will include the marco-minerals (like calcium) as well. Make sure to buy a supplement that is from whole foods; that means do not buy your vitamins from the same store that has a bargain bin of DVDs by the front door. The ingredients list should state the sources, and most whole food vitamins are in tablet form. A whole food multi-vitamin will be very potent, so make sure you take it with food. Just save the multivitamin for those crazy days and stick with whole food the rest of the time.