A while back I decided to go without a multi. I figured that I eat a good diet, better than most, and wouldn’t need one.

Wrong. Upon testing my nutrient levels I discovered that several trace minerals were low.

Since then I’ve encouraged everyone to use a multi as a very simple and inexpensive form of insurance. Remember, the best parts of nutrition are the things that never happen.

Here’s what to look for in choosing a multi:

  • No artificial colors or flavors. It doesn’t make sense to add toxins to something that you are taking daily for your health. You don’t need food coloring such as Blue Lake 1 and Red 5. Who needs a pretty color? Or artificial flavors like sucralose or aspartame.  Kids vitamins are the worst offendors.
  • Look for 100% DV (Daily Value) of biotin. Biotin is very important for healthy hair, skin and nails, but it’s expensive to produce, so many manufacturers skimp. If they cut corners with biotin they are likely to do so with other nutrients as well. The (DV) for biotin is 300 mcg and there should be at least that much in your multi.
  • The folate form of folic acid- which is more bioavailable than folic acid. Roughly 45% US population cannot convert folic acid into the important active folate form.
  • Look for the “d-tocopherol” form of Vita E. The “dl-tocopherol” form is synthetic and hard for the body to utilize. Mixed tocopherols are even better, so the very best type of Vita E would be labelled d-mixed tocopherols or d-gamma tocopherols.
  • Make sure you get 100% DV for trace minerals chromium, zinc and boron, which are important for blood sugar regulation, immunity, and bone building.
  • Do not take a multi with iron if you are no longer menstruating or are male. The exception is if you have been tested and have low iron.

Look for the NSP, USP, or GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) labels which certify that the supplement company has voluntarily subjected itself to oversight of raw materials, processing and the finished product.

Take your vitamins after a meal, especially if you feel nauseous after taking them. This is especially true if your vitamins contain minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. They are difficult to digest and can cause nausea when not taken with enough food.

Some of the B vitamins will turn your urine bright yellow. This is normal. In fact, it’s a good gauge of whether you’re getting enough B vitamins to sustain you through the day. Your urine should have a light yellow tint even when you’re well hydrated.

A multi is a valuable tool for maintaining trace minerals. These are often hard to get in food, especially if you’re not eating enoug