Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Somer shares if women need to take a multivitamin.
Registered Dietitian Elizabeth Somer:
I think people feel women, you know, specifically, but people in general feel sort of overwhelmed when they are faced with that wall of pills, powders and potions, and tablets and capsules and, “What do I do?” And it’s actually not that difficult.
The basic program should include a multiple, a multivitamin and mineral. I often hear people say, “I take my vitamins.” Well, you need the minerals too, and it’s a general multiple that supplies a broad range of nutrients.
It doesn’t just have zinc and iron; it has molybdenum and manganese and selenium and chromium too, so it has a lot of vitamins and minerals in it, that if you flipped it over and read the label on the back, supplies about 100% of the daily value for all the nutrients. You want to supply those nutrients in a ratio to each other. They work as teams. So you don’t want a supplement that has 20% of one nutrient, but 600% of another. You want one that supplies a ratio and the best ratio we know is the daily value. So 100% all the way down.
That’s the first thing. Avoid the gimmicks, the colloidal minerals and the chelated minerals and the bioflavonoids and the lutein and all that. Just get a good solid multiple. Then if you don’t drink three glasses of soymilk or calcium-fortified soymilk or a lot of calcium-rich foods, if you don’t eat a lot of magnesium-rich foods, which three out of four Americans don’t, and magnesium-rich foods would be nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and you need a lot of them, then you probably need to supplement your supplement with a calcium-magnesium pill, one that supplies a ratio of 2:1, two parts calcium to one part magnesium. That would be 500 milligrams of calcium, 250 milligrams of magnesium. That will help to fill in the gaps. Hopefully, you are getting some calcium and magnesium in your diet and the combination should be enough.
You might want to think about an antioxidant like a vitamin C or vitamin E, but the research is kind of iffy there right now. Definitely, if you are not eating enough fish, you know, two to three servings a week of fatty fish–salmon, mackerel, herrings, sardines, those kinds of things--then take a fish oil capsule or omega-3 fat DHA, either a 1 grams of a fish oil capsule that has a combination of EPA and DHA, or a DHA of at least 200 milligrams.
About Elizabeth Somer:
Elizabeth Somer, M.A., is a registered dietitian who has carved a unique professional niche as one of the few, if not only, dietitians who is well-versed in nutrition research. For 25 years, she has kept abreast of the current research, packaging that information into easy-to-read books, magazine articles, lectures, continuing education seminars, and practical news for the media.