Let’s face it, when it comes to picking the right supplements for ourselves, it is downright confusing. With expert marketing and the vast variety of supplement choices out on the market today we find ourselves swimming in the paradox of choice: pre-workout fuel, post-workout shakes, multi-vitamins, green powders, probiotics, fat burners, fish oils, and more. To make matters more confusing, there are some experts that advocate for daily multi-vitamins and supplements and others that refute their efficacy. Today, I want to simplify matters. If you could only spend your money on one thing, what would that be? The answer is not sexy, but the truth is we need a good multi-vitamin that provides us with the right balance of vitamins and minerals.
DON’T THROW OUT YOUR MULTI-VITAMIN JUST YET
If you’re hard charging athlete or working full time and raising a child like myself, there’s a good chance you’re putting your body under tremendous amounts of stress. It’s absolutely critical that we eat a healthy diet and receive all the proper nutrients necessary to help mitigate some of those daily stressors. However, even if you’re eating a healthy diet, studies have shown that is nearly impossible to get all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from food (see recent study for more info).
WHY VITAMINS & MINERALS MATTER
Dr. Ames, Senior Scientist at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, describes the importance of micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals in what he calls his triage theory. Similar to Robin Hood, “when the body requires nutrients for short-term health and reproduction, it robs them from organs that are nutrient rich and of lesser importance in order to sustain major organs that are nutrient poor.” For example, the body uses Vitamin K for clotting, which is essential to health and future survival of the species. However, other proteins in the body also use Vitamin K as a co-factor for other physiological processes such as preventing calcification of the arteries. If the body does not receive adequate levels of Vitamin K, it’s smart enough to choose the most important of the two, which is to prevent clotting and maintain survival. However, over the years, you might experience calcification of the arteries, but it won’t show up for 20 years. Dr. Ames adds, “If you want maximum life span, your micronutrient needs must be met throughout life” (see article for more).
WHY WE CAN’T GET ENOUGH NUTRIENTS FROM FOOD ALONE
- Modern farming practices are destroying the soil and stripping away precious minerals that are body craves
- Pesticides are stripping away powerful anti-oxidants
- Always eating organic is expensive and not always available
HOW TO PICK THE PERFECT MULTI-VITAMIN
- Capsules vs Tablets: Tablets are packed and compressed with unnecessary binders and fillers, which makes it more difficult to break down. Capsules dissolve easily in your digestive tract.
- Magnesium Stearate: Magnesium Stearate is used as a flowing agent so that is used to help manufactures move the powders through the equipment faster. Magnesium stearate is not harmful, but can reduce absorption rate of some nutrients.
- B Vitamins: Vitamin B6 commonly comes in the form of Pyridoxine HCL, it’s cheaper, but it’s not the most active form of Vitamin B6. Look for a supplement with Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal 5’Phosphate). Vitamin B12 commonly comes in the form Cyanocobalamin. Look for a form of B12 that has Methylcobalamin. Vitamin B2 comes in the form of Riboflavin5’HCL, look for Riboflavin5’Phosphate. All the forms of B Vitamins I just mentioned are much better absorbed by the body compared to their alternatives. Interestingly, when I did a genetic test, it showed that the cheaper forms of B Vitamins weren’t suitable for my body, and I actually needed to get the more absorbable forms. This is quite common for the majority of the population as well.
- Folate Not Folic Acid: Most multi-vitamins are using folic acid because it is cheaper, but a large portion of the population cannot convert folic acid to folate. Look for a supplement that has called l-5-methyltetrahydrofolate to ensure folate is absorbed.
- Mineral Absorption: Look for minerals in the chelated form, as they are more absorbable.
Given all the supplements you could possibly choose from, do yourself a favor and invest in a high quality multi-vitamin first. This will help prevent long term DNA damage, increase longevity, and promote an overall state of health and balance.
Join the newsletter!
Subscribe to get our latest content by email. Once a week I will send you my latest personal growth strategies, life lessons, and biohacks.