How to Choose a “Good” Vitamin

You’ve seen the pharmacy shelves full of vitamins. There are thousands of options! How are you supposed to know which one to choose? Obviously, you can ask us! Your local pharmacist is a wealth of information when it comes to vitamins and supplements.

 

Here are some things we look for.

 

Dosage form: Most high quality vitamins and supplements are in capsule form and there’s a reason for that! Capsules are oftentimes more “pure” than tablets, as they do not require binders, fillers, and coatings.  Capsules also are easier to swallow and most capsules can be pulled apart and mixed into a beverage (check with your pharmacist first). Compared to tablets, capsules break down more quickly to be used by the body.

 

Doses per day: We also recommend vitamins that need to be taken MORE than one time per day. When it comes to food, do you get all your daily nutrition from just one meal? Your body needs the nutrition throughout the day! The same goes for vitamins. Your body will be able to get better nutrient absorption when you take a vitamin at least two times per day.

 

Salt/Mineral formulation: Some companies use the cheapest or lightest-weight form of vitamins available to make the cheapest and smallest tablets to appeal to mainstream customers. But sometimes, certain forms of vitamins are better absorbed and used by your body! Take magnesium for example. Magnesium oxide is a very concentrated form of magnesium, and used in most low-cost vitamins available over the counter. But magnesium oxide is poorly absorbed by your body, and exhibits more laxative effects than higher-quality forms of magnesium. Another example is iron, the more poorly absorbed it is, the more likely it is to cause constipation and bloating.

 

Chemistry: We look for “active” forms of vitamins. Some synthetic (man-made) vitamins are in forms that our bodies must convert and metabolize to use. For example, folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a vitamin found in many green vegetables. Our bodies use the enzyme MTHFR to process folic acid and make it into a usable form for our bodies. One in four people don’t have the proper enzyme to do this and folic acid does not convert to folate and therefore not get used by your body. High quality vitamins often have “active” forms of vitamins like 5-methyltetrahydrofolate which is more easily usable by your body.

 

Have more questions or need help choosing the right vitamins for you? Ask our pharmacists! We are happy to help you!

 

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