My teenage son doesn’t eat a very balanced diet. I would like him to take a multivitamin.
Q. Dear Terry, “My teenage son doesn’t eat a very balanced diet. I would like him to take a multivitamin. What would be some good ingredients to look for in a multivitamin?” — April J., Scottsdale, AZ
A. Dear April, Multivitamin and mineral supplements are crucial in bridging the gap between the amount of nutrients provided by food intake and that which may be lacking.
However, choosing the right daily multivitamin and mineral formula can be a real challenge. I personally feel that the majority of multivitamin and mineral formulas don’t provide the nutrients we need at meaningful levels. Please don’t be fooled by “one-a-day” multivitamin and mineral formulas, because our body wasn’t designed to only absorb these nutrients once per day. I prefer a multivitamin and mineral formula that is taken two to three times per day, which more closely mimics our normal eating patterns.
I recommend choosing a multivitamin that features B6, B12, and folic acid in their active forms – P-5-P, methylcobalamin, and L-methylfolate, respectively. These forms don’t require conversion by the liver, so they can go to work immediately to increase energy levels, boost mood, and optimize metabolism.
Believe it or not, mineral deficiencies are more common than vitamin deficiencies. So you may also want to look for a multivitamin that features chelated trace minerals. A “chelate” is a bond between a mineral and a molecule that helps the body absorb the mineral during digestion. Amino acids are excellent molecules to help shepherd minerals through the intestinal wall. Because they are so small, they can be transported directly into the cells of the body, where they can get to work right away.
Other important nutrients in a multivitamin and mineral formula include vitamin D3 and the full family of vitamin E as d-alpha mixed tocopherols.
Lastly, to help prevent stomach upset, I recommend taking a multivitamin and mineral formula that contains ginger to help soothe and settle the stomach. Ginger can be very effective at reducing the smell and aftertaste common to many multiples.
Terry . . . Naturally