Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Solgar Multivitamins: Understanding The Label On Your Multivitamin

It is confusing, I know. Often I watch customers staring at a bottle of supplements, attempting to make sense of the information, which by law, manufacturers have to provide. And if only the print wasn't so minute! Where do you start? Being able to understand the label on your multivitamin is an important part of selecting the right multivitamin to complement you and your lifestyle. This guide should help you know what to look for.

One thing I should say is that 'size' can matter! Multivitamins small in size, such as purchased in most supermarkets and chemists tend to be weak in ingredients and therefore don't have much of the active nutrients. They often tend to be packed with what's called 'fillers' to bulk it up.  Unfortunately, the more you pack a multivitamin with active ingredients the larger the tablet's going to be.

Lets look at the label on the back of one of Solgar's most popular multivitamins - Omnium Multivitamin Tablets

Directions for use:
Most multivitamins tell you to take one, two or three-a-day. While it is preferable to obtain nutrients at intervals throughout the day, you should select an intake level that is convenient, fits with your lifestyle and ensures you obtain all of the necessary nutrients. Obviously, a one-a-day is convenient but if you are in a vulnerable category there may be times taking a supplement more than once a day is going to be beneficial.

Antioxidants
Most multivitamins will contain some antioxidants. Excess free radicals can be damaging to body cells. Antioxidant nutrients may help protect your body against free-radical damage by helping make these free radicals harmless. Vitamins A, C and E, as well as the mineral selenium are among the best known antioxidants and to lesser or greater degree will be found in most multivitamins.  Other important antioxidants, which more comprehensive multivitamins will contain,  include coenzyme Q-10, alpha lipoic acid, carotenoids, bioflavonoids, and the amino acid Cysteine. So expect to find some of these in your bottle.

Natural Source Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol)
Your multivitamin should include natural source vitamin E – which is identified by the “d”prefix – your body will utilise this form of the nutrient better than the synthetic form (dl-) which is poorly utilised by the body. Recent research has demonstrated the benefits of vitamin E, such as supporting the health of the cardiovascular system.

Organically Chelated Minerals
A multivitamin will contain minerals in their “organic” form such as amino acid chelates, citrates and picolinates because they provide superior absorption and utilisation over their inorganic counterparts (such as carbonates and oxides). Menopausal women, the elderly, those with gastrointestinal problems and those looking for the best possible mineral forms should look for multivitamins that include organically bound mineral forms.

Phytonutrients
Only the more 'comprehensive' multivitamins, such as Omnium, contain phytonutrients. They are important plant food factors that may have a wide range of health benefits and many possess potent antioxidant properties. You may wish to select a multivitamin that includes cutting edge plant nutrients – such as d-limonene, genistein, sulforaphane and grape seed extract.

Carotenoids (Vitamin A/Beta-carotene)
There is a range of nutritionally important carotenoids. Carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly in yellow/orange fruits and vegetables and dark green leafy vegetables. Carotenoids are thought to exert many health benefits, mainly due to their antioxidant properties. Look for formulas offering several different varieties – not just beta-carotene alone. Natural sources of betacarotene are superior to the synthetic version and many nutritionists suggest avoiding synthetic beta-carotene altogether. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body and acts as a resource for vitamin A activity when the need for the vitamin increases. Vitamin A is an antioxidant nutrient that is necessary for night vision, growth and repair.

Nutrient Sources
To determine whether an ingredient meets your specific needs you should know its form. With Solgar multivitamins this information appears in parentheses after the nutrient’s name.

B Vitamins
These are so important that often people will take them as a 'complex' (that is, a pill containing all the B's), or separately (that is, individual B's) according to need. The B's are imporant for nearly every function in the body: growth, digestion, skin, hair, nails, heart, stress and so much more. The B Vitamins include thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12), biotin, pantothenic acid (B5) and folic acid – and they work together synergistically – meaning it is important to choose a multivitamin that contains the entire B-Complex.

Formula Characteristics
Read your label carefully and take note of the detail. You may want to avoid formulas that contain components that may hinder absorption, induce allergic reaction, upset the digestive system or cause nutrients to be unavailable to the body. Always stick to a well-known, tried and tested brand. Cheap usually means just that - generally of little nutritional benefit.

To see our range of Solgar multivitamins, click on the following link  Solgar Health Store or you can visit us at Elixirhealth.co.uk, where you can see our full range of multivitamins, including Solgar's. If you wish to speak to a customer advisor, you an telephone us on 01208 814500 for further information.

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