If you’re new to taking vitamins, you probably have a lot of questions about them. Here are some of the most common ones I hear:
- Which vitamins should I be taking?
- How should I be taking supplements?
- What’s the best time for me to be taking supplements?
- Are supplements safe?
- How can I be sure I’m buying the best quality product?
- What are the benefits of supplements and do I really need to be taking vitamins?
- What drug-supplement interactions are there?
I’m happy to answer all of those questions, because I believe taking vitamins and supplements are an essential part of maintaining our health as we age. Let’s start by talking about what supplements to take.
Choosing a Vitamin Regimen
The foundation of any wellness program that includes taking supplements is a high-quality multivitamin. It’s one of the smartest things you can do to enhance your energy, maintain a healthy heart and immune system and improve your overall quality of life.
Everyone, regardless of health status, should take a daily multivitamin.
However, not just any multi will do the trick. The multivitamin you choose should be a high-potency product that contains a full spectrum of essential nutrients in the amounts and forms your body needs to function at optimal levels.
Many of the patients I see are taking an inexpensive, one-pill-a-day multivitamin and finding they just don’t feel any better. That’s because you simply can’t put all of the daily nutrients you need into a single pill. It would be the size of a golf ball!
A high-quality multivitamin will always include multiple capsules or tablets. These pills may also be packaged with some accessory nutrients.
After the Multi, Then What?
Once you have your multivitamin, it’s time to look at what I call “accessory nutrients.” These are vitamins and supplements taken along with your multi.
Some accessory nutrients I recommend to everyone, like omega-3 fatty acids. But most will depend on your specific health concerns as well as your age. (There are some nutrients that I specifically recommend for people older than 50.) Prescription medications are another factor, as there are many drugs that deplete the body of nutrients.
Just be careful not to begin taking multiple supplements that contain the same nutrients—especially minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. So read labels closely and know the upper limits for supplement safety before taking vitamins.
More Dr. Whitaker Advice on Taking Vitamins