Let’s be honest, there’s only so much of the good stuff you can eat in one day no matter how good your intentions are. But like the perfect pair of shoes, finding your perfect fit when it comes to your multivitamin of choice can prove to be that extra boost when it comes to feeling your best from the inside out.
We asked Jenny Hall, nutritionist at Viridian Nutrition to share her knowledge when it comes to making the most of your multivitamin. From the benefits of taking a tailored approached to widely made mistakes, these are the nutrition tips to bear in mind for making informed and knowledgeable choices when it comes to finding the best multivitamin for you.
Why take a multivitamin?
“A multivitamin and mineral complex is designed to support a nutrition plan and provide a spectrum of nutrients to ensure the recommended daily allowance is met,” explains Jenny. “It is broadly publicised how modern produce has diminished in nutrient quality compared to those grown pre-industrialisation. It is suggested that the Mid-Victorian population ate 8-10 servings of fruit and vegetables daily, potentially much more than that of the Western population. Given the current trends in eating, it is plausible to suggest the population may be ‘dysnourished’ (multiple micro and phytonutrient depletion) and as such, extra supplementation may help individuals to reach their nutritional targets.”
More than just a healthy eating ‘top-up,’ the key to finding your perfect match lies in personalising it to suit your specific needs. “Currently a multivitamin is seen as an ‘insurance’ that optimal nutrition has been met however, we believe a multivitamin should be personalised to the consumer’s health goals,” says Jenny - in other words, a blanket approach won’t release a multivitamin’s full potential. “A one-size-fits-all approach would work if every human was exactly the same however, it is suggested that genetically we are 0.1% different. Yet our lifestyles, exposures, environment and diet have a huge impact that makes us all very different. It is such differences that are the basis of differing nutritional requirements. For example, an individual may want to protect from disease, or support certain body systems.”
How about adapting our choices as we get older? “Over time a consumer may get the feeling that their supplementation plan is not working in the same manner - maybe a little less effectively,” says Jenny. If in doubt, seek expert opinion; it’ll save you a whole heap of money and time in the long-run. “This is the time to discuss potential changes to their nutritional strategy with their independent Viridian Nutrition retailer,” says Jenny. “As we age, our health changes. Viridian Nutrition offers multivitamin and mineral complexes specific to age. For example, it is suggested that gastric secretions reduce and potentially digestion becomes less efficient, so consequently Viridian Nutrition 65+ Multi , £17.90, containing Betaine HCl and digestive enzymes to promote the digestive environment, in addition to a greater number of oxidation protective compounds would be best.”
What should you look for in a multivitamin?
If you’re shopping for a new multivitamin, these are the factors Jenny recommends bearing in mind when choosing the right brand and product for your needs:
- Substance: “More is not necessarily better and so the manufacturer should refer the user to peer-reviewed research that supports the levels they provide as being beneficial to wellbeing. Given the tight regulations regarding health claims, a company must use the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) accredited claims on their product labels (these can be found on the EFSA website ).”
- Transparency: “i.e. a company who will openly discuss their manufacturing processes.”
- Variety: “A good cross section of nutrients at levels that are supported by research is beneficial.”
- Clean products: “It is deemed that compounds such as magnesium stearate or titanium dioxide at the levels supplied in food supplements are not detrimental to health however, those amounts are tested in isolation. Subsequently, when additional toxic factors are found in daily life for example, additives and preservatives in processed foods, pollution, pesticides, powerful cleaning agents and exhaust fumes, then the toxic load may be seen as much greater than the tested amounts and that questions safety."
What are the most common mistakes people make when choosing a multivitamin?
“Consumers may choose a product that may not be contributory to their goals, alternatively it is easy to believe that more is better and purchase the products with the highest quantities of nutrients,” says Jenny. “However it should be noted, each individual will have a personalised requirement for each nutrient that they are able to absorb,” she cautions. “Subsequently, it is unknown whether the surplus will be excreted or stored in the body, and whether there would be any health issues derived from the hyper-dosing. Viridian Nutrition offers products free from excipients that may contribute to decreasing an individual’s toxic load.”
When can you realistically expect to start seeing and feeling a difference?
They say change doesn’t happen overnight and the effects of your multivitamins are no exception. “The length of time to noticeable results will vary between consumers and this is dependent on their micro and phytonutrient levels prior to commencing supplementation. As a general rule of thumb, improvements would be desired within 6-8 weeks,” says Jenny.
So, while taking the right multivitamin to fit your particular needs in conjunction to eating well can provide an effective helping hand in improving energy levels, reducing fatigue and improving all-round health, it’s important not to anticipate a miracle and keep expectations realistic. You can supplement a healthy diet, but you can’t substitute one entirely.
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