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What's in a Multivitamin?
It's easy to pop a vitamin every day. It's one of the less labor intensive steps in taking care of your health. But do you know what's going on inside that pill? All vitamins are definitely not created equal. This means that there's a decent chance that the $4 bottle I bought from Trader Joe's might not stand up to a $30 bottle from a health food store, but it may also mean that the more expensive brand is all hype and no substance.
Dr. Weil breaks down a few of the vitamins that every multi should have (visit his Self Healing Newsletter for more on essential vitamins):
Vitamin A. Avoid preformed vitamin A (retinol). Taking 5,000 IU of retinol - often listed as vitamin A palmitate or acetate - a day has been shown to increase the risk of losing bone density and breaking a hip. It may be difficult to find a multi without preformed A, so at least try to limit your intake: If the label reads "vitamin A as beta-carotene," that's okay. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which the body converts to vitamin A, won't harm your bones.
B vitamins. Your multi should have 50 mg each of most B vitamins, except for folic acid (at least 400 mcg) and B-12 (at least 50 mcg). If you're taking a multi with only the "Daily Value" for most B vitamins, an additional B-50 B-complex supplement is necessary.
Vitamin D. Check for at least 400 IU of vitamin D, or 100 percent of the Daily Value. Weil also encourages everyone to supplement with at least 1,000 IU of D a day, the amount shown in recent studies to greatly reduce the risk of breast, colon, and ovarian cancers. If your multi provides only 400 IU, you should take an additional vitamin D supplement to make up the difference. Look for products with the D3 (cholecalciferol) form of vitamin D, which is more readily utilized than D2 (ergocalciferol).
[via Dr. Weil's Self Healing Newsletter]