In Search of the Right Multivitamin

You probably know that taking a multivitamin can be good for your health, but do you know which one is right for you? According to Dr. Ann G. Kulze, author of Dr. Ann's 10-Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss and Lifelong Vitality, "there is perhaps no area of wellness that evokes more confusion and questions amongst consumers than what supplements they should or should not take."  We looked to Dr. Ann to help us decode the multivitamin mystery so that you can find the ideal supplement for your needs.  

"I recommend a few basic supplements as a safety net or as an insurance formula so-to-speak to safeguard against nutrient deficiencies that can adversely affect your health," says Kulze.  Below is her list of basic nutrients that every adult needs:

  • 2 mg Vitamin B
  • 6400 mcg folic acid, a B Vitamin
  • 6 mcg Vitamin B12
  • 15 mg of Zinc
  • 400-800 IUs of Vitamin D
  • No more than 2,500 IUs of native Vitamin A in the form of retinol or palmitate.

For Men and Older Women

Choose an iron-free supplement if you are a male or a menopausal woman, unless your doctor recommends it to combat an iron deficiency. Kulze says that getting extra iron can increase the risk of some chronic diseases in males and older women.

Pregnant Women

Make sure your multivitamins contain folic acid to protect your baby from birth defects such as Spina bifida and under development of the brain. 27 mg of iron helps to prevent low birth weight and premature delivery according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Also, make sure your supplement has less than 2,500 IUs of Vitamin A. Consuming too much Vitamin A can lead to birth defects in pregnant women.

Over 45

Once you are over 45 you will need to find a multivitamin that has extra doses of vitamins.

"I recommend that all adults over the age of 45 take additional vitamin D beyond the 400 IUs found in your daily multivitamin for a total supplement dose of 800 IUs a day," says Kulze. The elderly should take extra B Vitamins if they suffer from chronic stress.

Kulze reminds shoppers that if they are taking any prescription drugs, have a chronic medical condition, or are pregnant or nursing, check with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.