Busy schedules often top the list of excuses for not preparing and eating nutritious, health-supporting meals. Fortunately, many people take multi-vitamins to fill in gaps when it’s impossible to eat right. But did you know that, in addition to providing a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, many multi-vitamin supplements contain “extras” that might be missing from your diet?
Here are three types of nutrients you might consider looking for in a multi:
To promote intestinal and gut health. Some multivitamins are enhanced with probiotics, or beneficial bacteria that normally reside in your digestive tract. Research has demonstrated that probiotics help promote gastrointestinal comfort, healthy bowel function and a healthy immune system. Taking probiotics helps replenish the supply of good bacteria in your intestines, which may become depleted due to poor diet, medication, health concerns and aging.
To promote cellular energy. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like nutrient found in every cell of your body. It plays a part in the production of energy (at a cellular level) while also functioning as an antioxidant. Research also suggests that CoQ10 supports healthy heart function and can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels already within normal range.
Over time, your body produces less of this important compound, with the decline beginning around age 30. Levels may also become depleted when taking certain medications, such as cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Look for a multivitamin with added CoQ10, such as Vitacost Synergy Women’s Multi-Vitamin, which supplies 200 mg per serving.
To obtain plant nutrition. Many scientific studies confirm that a daily diet rich in fruits and vegetables promotes good health. However, many people simply don’t eat enough of these natural, nutrient-rich foods. If you fall into this group, try a supplement such as Vitacost Whole Food Women’s Daily Multi-Vitamin, which delivers nutrients from raw, organic whole foods and herbs.
Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine and co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.