On first thought, what could be so complicated about taking a multivitamin? Over the years I have heard tens of variations of the same question asked. How to take a multivitamin might seem simple. But doing it properly can be rather complex. On closer examination, there are many issues concerning the use of multivitamins that need to be considered and addressed.
Before proceeding I should clarify that the focus of this article will be on the use of a conventional multivitamin—the standard, one-a-day formula that many people take in order to make up for the nutrients they know are lacking from their diet; the magic pill that they hope will give them more energy, make them feel better, or reduce their risk of developing a chronic illness like heart disease or cancer. The common multivitamin is almost always a random conglomeration of any number of isolated vitamins and minerals that have been combined and included based on some percentage of the government's RDA (recommended daily allowance).
Now let's focus on answering some of the specific questions that people have asked on the topic of how to take a multivitamin. I am sure a number of these have probably even crossed your mind...
When should you take a multivitamin?..
Should you take it with food? Should you avoid taking it with certain types of foods? Is it okay to take it before breakfast? What about after? Is taking it with dinner okay or is that too late in the day? Will it keep me up at night? Do some vitamins have to be taken at different times than others? Should I split up the dosing? Should I take it with water? How about with tea or coffee?
Or what about some of these?
What strength of multivitamin do I need to take? How do I know if I need to take a multivitamin at all? Do I need to be concerned about overdosing? Are there any possible side effects? Do I need to take it all the time to get benefits? What should I do if I miss a dose?
How should a multivitamin be stored? Should I keep it in the refrigerator or at room temperature? Will multivitamins interact with other nutritional supplements or medications? Should I take a multivitamin if I am pregnant or planning to become pregnant? What about my kids? What is the best dose for them? Should I tell my doctor that I'm taking a multivitamin?
You can see how answering the simple question of how to take a multivitamin could easily turn into a 30-page instruction manual! But fortunately, I won’t have to answer these questions and you won't need to continue thinking about them because the larger solution to the problem of how to take a conventional mutivitamin is clear: Don't take one at all.
That's right! You should avoid the use of ANY synthetic multivitamin, opting for one made from 100% whole food concentrates instead.
You see, the reason we need to be concerned about all these issues with multivitamins is that almost all of them are made from chemicals; from vitamin and mineral look-alikes that are synthesized artificially in a lab. These snythetic supplements aren't created from food or plant sources. And they are difficult, if not impossible, for the human body to even use. In fact, many of them contain ingredients derived from crushed rocks or petrochemicals. And almost all of them contain a synthetic form of vitamin C imported from China. If you look at a conventional multivitamin label, you’ll see ingredient names like ascorbic acid, thiamine HCL, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, or dimagnesium malate. A two-part name means that it's an artifical nutrient. And the body’s ability to absorb and utilize these synthetic nutrients is not very good. Because they are not easily digested, fractions of these fake nutrients can remain in the digestive tract where they can interact with or reduce the efficacy of other nutrients and medications.
At times, the use of an isolated nutrient can be appropriate (such as an iron supplement for anemia), when symptoms of a particular nutrient deficiency are obvious (low zinc can cause white lines to appear on your fingernails), or when they have a specific, short-term application (like using a high dose of vitamin C to combat a nasty virus). However, the regular use of a powdered, whole food concentrate is a much safer and much more effective choice.
On the label of a 100% food-based multivitamin, you won’t see the names of chemical compounds, but those of fruits and vegetables—carrots, blueberries, oranges and broccoli. Because of this, your body will be getting not only the essential vitamins and minerals you already know it needs, but the vital known and unknown phytochemicals that are naturally found in whole foods; cofactors that will serve to enhance the body’s own ability to absorb and utilize all those vital and necessary nutrients. Because the human body naturally recognizes whole food supplements for what they are (real food not fake nutrients), the question of how to take a multivitamin no longer needs to be asked. Food-based multivitamins should be treated like food. They can be taken at any time and should be kept fresh in your refrigerator. They are easily absorbed, pose no risk of overdose, and cannot interact with any other nutrients or medications.
Where can you find a 100% food-based multivitamin?
At Core4 Nutrition. Visit our website and learn more about the four, core nutrients your body needs for optimum health, energy, and performance—including our powdered, whole-food multivitamin made exclusively from raw, organic fruit and vegetable concentrates.