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Vitamins–which one is best?

taking prescription pill with milk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Pharmacist Deidra VanGilder talked at our recent STRIVE 2 Survive lecture. She always does a great job addressing the hot topic of vitamins and minerals. Thus I thought we’d share some of her information on the blog for those of you interested in this topic! If you have any individual questions, please email us at strive2survive@brownclinic.org.

There are many different kinds of multivitamins and it’s hard to know which one is best for you. We always prefer you to get the vitamins and minerals from real food over supplements, so striving for a well balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and lean proteins is the first step. If you are cutting calories to lose weight, you have a health condition that needs additional vitamins or minerals, or you just want to stay healthy and aid in disease prevention, a MVI may be for you. There are two types of vitamins: fat soluble and water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K and can be stored in our bodies. Water soluble vitamins such as the B vitamins and vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, which means we can only store so much and when excess is consumed, they are excreted out. This concept is very important to understand as often times, you may be wasting your money on a supplement if you are already getting adequate amounts through your diet.

Below is Deidra’s take on the various kinds of supplements:

  • Basic: contains essential vitamins from vitamin A to Zinc
  • Women’s- more Calcium and Vitamin D to help support breast and bone health
  • Men’s- more Lycopene for prostate health
  • Silver (50+)- Supports eye health, bone health, and B vitamins for energy…Deidra recommends the Centrum Silver as an excellent one for this population.
  • Prenatal- More folic acid, iron, and DHA (omega-3) to help support child growth
  • Performance/Energy/Metabolism- Contain some herbals thought to help increase energy as well as extra B vitamins…be sure to ask your health care team about these before taking them as they may interact with your meds or contain extra caffeine.
  • Cholesterol/Cardio- Contain phytosterols to help lower cholesterol

** Vitamins vary in the levels of vitamins/minerals they contain
** Look at the amount of calcium and vitamin D in each vitamin
** Some multivitamins don’t contain iron
** Grocery store generic vitamins are ok to buy

As you can see there are many different types of vitamins. Overall, we recommend just a basic multivitamin such as One a Day or Centrum Silver to help fill the gaps that your diet is not fulfilling (a multivitamin should NEVER replace real food included in a well balanced diet!). If you have a specific health need such as a woman being pregnant or you are over the age of 50, then you can take that specific vitamin to fit your needs. The supplement industry is not regulated by the FDA like prescription drugs are…thus it is essential to consult your health care provider before taking supplements to ensure it is appropriate for you.

-Kelsey

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