Consumer Tips on Selecting the Right Vitamins
In a landmark article published June 19, 2002, The Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA) the medical community’s most prestigious research journal, announced that all adults should take vitamin supplements to help prevent chronic diseases.
“Suboptimal folic acid levels, along with suboptimal levels of vitamins B6 and B12, are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, neural tube defects, and colon and breast cancer; low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteopenia and fractures; and low levels of the antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A,E, and C) may increase risk for several chronic diseases. Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone… it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements,” states the article by Robert H. Fletcher, MD, MSc and Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD, DrPH, both affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
How should adults who haven’t been taking vitamins choose the right ones for them?
The Dietary Supplement Information Bureau (DSIB), a non-profit information resource created specifically to provide consumers with scientifically accurate, up-to-date information, offers some practical advice. According to Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg, a member of the DSIB Scientific Advisory Board and a nutrition scientist who is an authority on disease prevention through vitamin supplementation, here are some guidelines for choosing vitamins:
- The JAMA study recommends multivitamins for all adults. Choose one that contains minerals as well as vitamins.
- Read the ingredients panel carefully. Your goal is to come as close as possible to the RDA, which is the minimum daily requirement of each vitamin and mineral your body needs.
- Remember to take your vitamins every day, preferably with meals. Taking them only occasionally, or seasonally, will not be as effective.
- You also may need other supplements to achieve the minimum daily requirement of certain vitamins and minerals (calcium, for example) beyond the amount contained in any multivitamin. Read directions carefully.
- Check the expiration date on the bottle. Reliable companies all list them.
- Consider formulations made specifically for your age group and life stage. There are multivitamins designed for children, for adults, for seniors, and for pregnant women.
- Select a brand name you trust. Your health care professional can provide advice on brands.
Much more detailed information can be found on The Dietary Supplement Information Bureau’s Web site, which provides medically and scientifically accurate, up-to-date information to consumers and does not sell any product. The Web site can be found at: www.supplementinfo.org.
The Dietary Supplement Information BureauTM (DSIBTM) is a national non-profit organization created to provide accurate information to consumers and to the professional healthcare community about vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements for the purpose of improving quality of life through better health.
The DSIBTM Scientific Advisory Board oversees the development and dissemination of all information with IMAGINutrition, Inc. (www.imaginutrition.com), a nutrition technology innovation and research think tank based in Laguna Niguel, CA. IMAGINutrition collaborates with academic research centers on clinical trials using dietary supplements and regularly collects, analyzes, and disseminates the latest research on dietary supplements.
For more information about the DSIBTM or dietary supplements, visit the DSIBÔ Web site at www.supplementinfo.org.