Millions of Americans take a multivitamin to make sure they are not deficient in vital nutrients.
But the sad fact is that many supplements lack crucial micronutrients that can improve health. Multivitamins may lack these micronutrients entirely, have them in doses that are too small, or contain a form of them that is less potent, experts say.
“Most of us choose to take a multivitamin as a kind of health insurance policy to fill a nutrient gap in our diet,” Dr. Jayson Calton, a Harvard- and Yale-trained nutritionist, tells Newsmax Health.
“But many multivitamins lack important vitamins or minerals, or they provide them at less than beneficial quantities.”
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These key elements are often missing from multivitamins:
1. Vitamin E in d-tocopherol form
Many multivitamins only contain synthetic vitamin E (dl-tocopherol). According to research, the natural form of vitamin E (d-tocopherol) is retained at double the rate and more biologically active in the body.
Look for a multivitamin that says on the label that it delivers a “full spectrum” of d-tocopherols and d-tocotrienols of vitamin E.
2. Folic acid in the 5-MTHF form
Folic acid is especially important for women trying to get pregnant or for those already pregnant, but everybody needs it.
About 60 percent of the U.S. population has a genetic defect that makes it difficult for them to convert folic acid, the synthetic form of folate used in many multivitamins today, into its active form. Choose a multivitamin that contains 5-MTHF, which is the most absorbable form of folic acid.
Check the label of your multivitamin and see if it contains 600 mg of calcium. Most of them don’t, says Dr. Calton, author of Naked Calories.
“We suggest 600 mg because that is the maximum amount of calcium that can be absorbed by the body at one time,” he says.
Look for a supplement that contains calcium in the form of calcium citrate if you are taking a pill, tablet, or capsule.
Getting the right amount of calcium not only helps to build strong bones, but also reduces cravings for salty and sweet foods, says Dr. Calton.
The correct, beneficial amount of the mineral magnesium, like calcium, is seldom supplied in most multivitamins. The recommended amount of this micronutrient is 400 mg. Look for magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate.
“The sad fact is most multivitamins supply only small amounts of magnesium, an essential micronutrient responsible for over 300 essential metabolic reactions in the body,” says Dr. Calton.
5. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is often omitted from many multivitamin formulations, but it is essential for bone strength and heart health. Look for a multivitamin that contains both K1 and K2 forms of the vitamin.
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