Due to popular demand, I decided to post a quick guide that can help make the task of choosing a good vitamin less daunting. This guide contains suggestions on the kinds of vitamins you can take daily, the recommended daily allowances, the best vitamin brands to purchase, and where you can find these brands.
Before we get started, please remember these are my personal recommendations, and you should first consult your physician before beginning a new vitamin or supplemental regimen. If you are currently taking any prescription medications, please do your proper due diligience to make sure your vitamins and supplements do not adversely interact with your prescription drugs.
I.) BEST DAILY VITAMINS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DAILY DIET
A.) MULTIVITAMINS: The easiest way to get a comprehensive amount of all the daily supplements you need to keep your body in internal balance is a multivitamin. Many of us lack the patience and the time to sit down and pop back 20-30 different vitamin supplements individually or juice a large variety of fruits and veggies.
Multivitamins are perfect for delivering great nutrition in just one pop. Look for a one-a-day type of multivitamin that contains usually 100% or more of the daily requirements of Vitamin A, Vitamin B complexes, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Vitamin K (K1 & K2), etc. In addition, you want it to contain a good amount of Calcium, Magnesium, Iron (for women only), Folate, Chromium, etc. To make sure you’re getting what’s best for you body, women and men should avoid buying the unisex vitamins and aim for either the women’s formula or men’s formula respectively.
B.) ADDITIONAL VITAMINS: There are optional vitamins you can take in addition to your multivitamin that further aids the body in achieving balance and boosting immunity. The two most popular ones are Vitamin C (1000-2000 mg/day) and Vitamin D3 (1000-4000 IU/day). Research has now proven that these two vitamins are dietary necessities due to their multifunctional properties and incredible abilities in fighting cancers and other adult diseases. Both can be taken in mega doses without any report of adverse side effects. To determine the right amount you should add to your regimen, talk to your physician or nutritionist.
II.) ALL VITAMINS ARE NOT MADE EQUAL
A.) SYNTHETIC vs. WHOLE FOOD INGREDIENTS: It’s no question that the vitamins we buy in the store are synthetically produced. However, not all vitamins are made of the same ingredients. Now, this may seem a tad puzzling because you would assume that if the label says “Vitamin C” then the ingredient is indeed just Vitamin C. But you have to account for how they MAKE the vitamin itself. What holds the Vitamin C in that particular vitamin? What makes a vitamin look like a vitamin pill or capsule?
Well my friends, the answer to those questions are other ingredients and additives of course. Hence, why you need to develop good label reading skills to determine which additives are good and which are excessive and unnecessary. Read the ingredients list on the vitamin bottle and avoid buying vitamins that contain artificial dyes and colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, and other fillers that you cannot pronounce or don’t know what they are. Usually vitamins that are vegetarian or vegan formulated are less processed with filler ingredients. Double click on the labels below to see a comparison of a synthetic ingredient vitamin versus a whole foods one.
You also want to look for the certification on the bottle that confirms the vitamin has a high absorption rate once it is consumed.
III.) BEST BRANDS & WHERE TO BUY
My top three recommended brands are the following:
1.) New Chapter: They specialize in producing an organic whole foods type of vitamins that are mild on the stomach and easily absorbed into the body. Look at their ingredients lists on the vitamins and see the powerhouse of herbs and minerals. Where to Buy: GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods, etc.
2.) Garden of Life: They are the makers of RAW One for Women & RAW One for Men multivitamins. The Raw ONE for Women is my personal favorite multivitamin to take. Again, these type of vitamins show to have a higher absorption rate due to the formula and its use of whole foods ingredients in the vitamins. They offer other great vitamin as well. Where to Buy: Whole Foods, TheVitamin Shoppe, etc.
3.) Nature’s Way: This company manufactures another great whole foods vitamin called Alive! They have formulas for men, women, seniors, etc. They also have additional vitamin complexes you can take in conjunction with the multivitamin that are great for improving heart health, colon health, immunity, and more. Where to Buy: Walmart, Rite Aid, Walgreen’s, Publix, Whole Foods, CVS Pharmacy, Meijer, etc.
**All of the manufacturer’s websites have either a “Store Locator” or “Where to Buy” link that can further aid you in finding these brands of vitamins.
FINAL NOTE: Vitamins are a great way to get added supplementation, but they do not replace the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Please make sure you continue to get at least 5-6 servings of fruits and veggies each day. Eating vitamin rich foods is ultimately the best way to obtain and absorb the proper amounts of vitamins and nutrients.
The best time to take your vitamins is with a meal. Vitamins containing the B-complex or C should be taken earlier in the day at breakfast or lunch since they have a tendency to rev up your energy level and affect sleep. However, there are certain exceptions such as calcium, which is taken at night for better absorption.