As Fitness enthusiast, in order for us to perform at our maximum potential, we have to make sure our bodies are supplied with the right forms of nutrients. If we become deficient in ANY of these nutrients our metabolism's can not function efficiently and our performance suffers. Here is where the use of a multi-vitamin can come in handy.
Multi-vitamins are used to supplement our diets with vital minerals, vitamins and other nutritional elements that we're not adequately consuming or that aren't even present in our regular diets. A 2002 Harvard study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that taking a multi-vitamin a day can prevent cancer, heart disease and many other ailments.
What To Look For:
When shopping for an effective multi-vitamin, always make sure to see at least 100 percent daily value in important vitamins such as Vitamin B6 & 12, C, D, E and Folic Acid. These are the vitamins that can protect & prevent the diseases mentioned above. However, the 100 percent rule does not hold true when it comes to minerals. What you need to make sure of is that your multi carries specific minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. Magnesium contributes to the production of energy. Calcium keeps our bones and teeth strong and also makes sure our muscles and nerves function properly. Moat daily multivitamins will not carry 100 percent of these minerals and that's fine.
There are some nutrients that we do have to be careful with. Vitamin A and Iron are perfect examples. Vitamin A comes in two forms, retinol (which we get from animal foods like eggs and liver) and beta-carotene (which comes from fruits and vegetables and is converted to vitamin A). According to the same 2002 Harvard study listed above, retinol was associated with weaker bones in women. In a multivitamin, Vitamin A can come from retinol, beta carotene or a combination of the two. The problem is that some multivitamins may not list how much of one or the other it may contain. No more than 4000 IU's of retinol (even less since you get it from food) and less than 15000 IU's of beta-carotene should be consumed . Too much beta-carotene may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers, so bottom line. . . . look for a multi with a small amount of Vitamin A. When it comes to Iron, only pre-menopausal women should consider it in their multivitamins. For anyone else, there could be adverse affects.
Remember though, that a multivitamin should not be used as a substitute for a properly well-balanced diet. If your diet is varied AND healthy, your body WILL be provided with enough to keep it running smoothly.
In Fitness and In Health,