|Don't Be Fooled By Cheap Multiples
Don't Be Fooled By Cheap Multiples
By Jayson Kroner
Sometimes, just for the sake of sheer personal amusement, I'll pace the nutrition section of popular mega-conglomerate discount stores. I don't know how this habit started, but I can't help but get a kick out of the labels, especially on the multi-vitamin/mineral formulas. It amazes me that many of these brands (brands that few of us have ever heard of, mind you) have the gall to use words like high-potency when the formulas they offer seem to be lacking in just about every foundational category.
It reminds me of that TV commercial for Total™ Cereal where the person needs to eat 64 bowls of some other brand to match the nutrition in just one bowl of Total™.
Of course, this isn't to imply that every brand offered at the retail level is suffering. 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 keep them fully nourished 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. 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 terribly dangerous, by the way), there's a very good chance that you're depriving yourself of the basic 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.
As for bodybuilders, you have among the greatest needs of all. Those hours in the gym take a ruinous toll on just about every aspect of your nutritional reserve. The constant tearing-down and building-up that you subject your system to demands that you be well-armed with a generous arsenal of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, electrolytes, and amino acids to help support the growth transition. Look for a high-powered multiple that doesn't skimp out in any category.
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. Look for a formula that offers generous potencies of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, supporting herbs, enzymes and greens. And don't be afraid to ask questions. After all, this is your life we're talking about here.
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