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Don't Be Fooled By Cheap Multivitamins

Bottle of Supplements

Jayson Kroner

The next time you need a good laugh, take any NOW multiple vitamin/mineral formula into one of those mega-conglomerate discount stores and compare the labels. Side by side, I'm reminded of that TV commercial for Total Cereal where the person needs to eat 48 bowls of some other brand to match the nutrition in just one bowl of Total. Interesting.

This isn't to imply that every brand of vitamins offered at the retail level is of drastically low potency. Still, it's impossible to ignore the fact that there's a pattern here. Many of these brands are mass marketed, and fueled by multi-million dollar advertising campaigns and celebrity endorsements. And while their quality should be of foremost concern, the carefree feelings of invincibility that they subtly promote are truly the most concerning.

"Nutrition? Don't worry! Just go to the Super Low Mart, and grab the cheapest multiple on the shelf and you'll have everything you need to be healthy!" Is this really the message we want our children hearing as they make their way into young adulthood, and begin making "educated" decisions? What does this say about us if we permit them to believe that they can scarf down whatever they want because the good people at The Cheapco Vitamin Company can balance their nutritional equation for under five dollars a month?

What so many people tend to forget, is that dietary supplements are just that - supplemental to our diet. They were never intended to take the place of leading a healthy lifestyle. And yes, there are a lot of multi-formulas out there to choose from. Being well aware of this, we at NOW Foods take the quality of our multiples very seriously.

Before choosing a multiple, it is important to first evaluate the integrity of your diet. Be honest, and don't kid yourself. Making the best decision will ultimately depend on your ability to assess what you need, and what you don't need.

If your diet consists primarily of fast and processed foods (this is very dangerous, by the way), there's a very good chance that you're being deprived of many nutrients essential to basic function including proper blood cell development, muscle maintenance and skin regeneration.

Vegetarians, or anyone who's concerned about their intake of B-12, calcium, zinc, iron, and iodine should select a multi that's capable of delivering these (and other) nutrients most commonly found in meat. Deficiencies can naturally vary based on the austerity of each vegetarian lifestyle. For example, a vegan (plant sources only) would have greater nutritional needs than a lacto-ovo (includes dairy and eggs).

Active and aging men stand to benefit the most from high potency formulas that contain extracts such as Saw Palmetto, Ginseng, and Ginkgo Biloba. Women, on the other hand, may want to look for formulas that contain Cranberry, Soy Isoflavones, Dong Quai and other female supporting compounds.

Of course, these are just guidelines. Each one of us is completely unique. And in light of that, so are our nutritional needs. Selecting a multi-vitamin based exclusively on its price tag is almost as ridiculous as selecting one based on how alluring the label is. Choose wisely. Read supplement fact panels like a hawk. Choose a formula that offers generous potencies of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants such as those offered by NOW Foods. With over 15 different scientifically formulated formulas to choose from, you're sure to find one that you can count on to keep you running at your best!

Health Disclaimer. Content provided by NOW Foods. Copyright ©2006-2022. Published with permission. First published November 2006, last revised in August 2022. Jayson Kroner is a health and fitness journalist, a certified sports nutritionist, and co-author of the book "7-Syndrome Healing."