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Multiple Reasons To Take Multiple Vitamins.

Mar 29, 2002 (Updated Oct 26, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Many think that multivitamins can protect us and prevent us from disease.

Cons:Take as directed. Talk with your doctor if you have medical issues.

The Bottom Line: In my opinion, a multivitamin is a staple, just as water is. Finding the right one can be tricky. I hope this helps a bit!

As a Certified Personal Trainer I am very cautious about giving out my opinions on vitamins. In fact we are taught not to except for a multiple vitamin. We can, should and do recommend that clients take a multivitamin every day. A lot of people eat so well that they are meeting their nutritional needs 100%; but many aren’t. Since taking the recommended dosage of a multivitamin can do no harm, according to everything I have heard and read, I am comfortable suggesting a multi. I also don’t believe in writing vitamin reviews without backup data and will be providing you with that in this review.

Let’s start with What Is a Multiple Vitamin?

~A multivitamin is quite simply a pill with many vitamins in one. What vitamins and minerals are in it and what percent of the daily value it contains will depend on the brand and type of multivitamin you buy. I have been taking vitamins from Trader Joe’s for years, my most recent is the Trader Darwin’s “for the survival of the fittest” Vitamin Crusade. It is a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral and is in a sustained release formula (Which mean it enters your blood stream over time rather than all at one time.)

~I liked their brand because the vitamins they sell are “made without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and without sugar. (The exceptions are chewable vitamins, to which all manufacturers in the industry add some sweetener to make them palatable.) All of our vitamins are made especially for us, to our specifications, with no yeast” according to their website

~After writing this review, I will be looking for a new brand! This formula is new for us and our previous one contained a few vitamins and minerals that this one does not have. I only noticed that now.

~Chewable multivitamins are great for children – mine always took them- or for people not able to swallow a pill for whatever reason. There are a multitude of brands on the market including generic brands and a multitude of types – with iron, without iron, men’s formulas and women’s formulas. You can see the list of 26 which starts on the product page. If what type to buy overwhelms you talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You are free to e-mail me and I can help you but with the caveat noted above.

~A good multivitamin will have some very necessary vitamins, which make up the category of what is called anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are compounds that preserve and protect other compounds in the body from free radical damage. (Free radicals are oxygen molecules with a single electron.) Without getting too technical here I will tell you that free radicals have been linked to the development of cancer, atherosclerosis, cataracts and the aging process so damage to these is something you want to avoid! Five nutrients have been identified as having antioxidant properties: beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and the minerals sulfur and selenium. (Some of this information has come from The Personal Trainer Manual, American Council on Exercise, 1996.)

Why take a Multi-Vitamin?

~I have talked a bit about why above but will get into more detail. As I mentioned, many people do eat well and many think they do, but some people believe that even if we eat well our food can be effected by “ processing, storing, or even cooking reducing the vitamin content. Foods can also be adversely affected by chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and soil conditions.” ( From that website, “Medications such as antibiotics, sleeping pills, aspirin, and oral contraceptives interfere with vitamins in the body. Heavy smoking, dieting, alcohol consumption, and obesity also adversely affect nutrients. What a good multivitamin can do is give you reassurance that you are obtaining the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals needed for good health.”

~Although I think everyone should take a multivitamin, certainly if you are on a diet, such as Atkins, not only should you take one, but he recommends that you do. You will find many diets that recommend a multivitamin to ensure that you are getting the nutrients needed.

Vitamin Information

~Anyone with any medical concerns should talk with their doctor before using even a multivitamin and certainly any multivitamin that may have supplements in them that are not necessarily the norm. Many companies (Atkins included) are coming out with packets. Those packets may contain a multivitamin, but they may also contain supplements such as L-Carnitine. Be especially careful when taking packs, please.

~Vitamins should be stored in a cool, dry place and out of the reach of children. My daughter, at about the age of 7, got into her chewable vitamins and ate some. We were unclear as to how many so I called poison control and induced vomiting. I should have known better than to leave them in her reach but I never thought she would do something like that. So if my daughter, who was never mischievous and by the age of 7 knew she wanted to be a doctor, would get into them, then any child is at risk so keep them out of the reach of curious hands!

~Remember to check for an expiration date.

~I considered my multi vitamin to be a decent one for the money ($11.99 for 380 tablets) but it isn’t perfect and it is less perfect than I thought! I take many other supplements but that’s another story. I will not get into the percent of daily value of the various vitamins and minerals but I will note some of the anti-oxidants: Vitamin A (50% of the A is as beta carotene and the other 50% retinyl palmitate.) The daily percent value is 200% meaning 100% is beta carotene; there are 200 mg of Vitamin C or 333% of DV; Vitamin E also contains 333% of DV; I take a separate selenium supplement (a mineral).

~From, "To do what it is supposed to do, your multivitamin-mineral (MVM) should provide just about all the vitamins and minerals truly proven essential to human health. The list of known vitamins hasn't changed much in recent decades; it includes vitamin A, vitamins B 1, B 2, B 3, B 5, B 6, B 12 (the missing numbers were those which proved not to be truly essential) and vitamins C, D, E and K. Folate and biotin are also vitamins, as are the essential fatty acids. Choline was recently established as essential.

When should you take a multi vitamin?

~It depends and how many will also depend. I take 2 because that is the serving size. Taking a multi with food is preferable for certain formulas. As I said there are many formulas around. Some nutrients aren't absorbed as easily when they have to compete with particular foods or other vitamins. Still other vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, are best absorbed when there's a little dietary fat in the digestive tract. With a multivitamin, especially one containing minerals, the bottom line is that each preparation is different.

~There will be a serving size on the label. If it doesn't say whether to take it with or without food (which mine does not) call the manufacturer's customer service department for advice. If there isn't a number on the bottle, which there isn't on mine, go to the website or look up the phone number. But if you have trouble getting an answer this way, there are some guidelines on which to fall back:

"If your supplement contains vitamins and minerals, then take it on an empty stomach. That means don't eat anything two hours before or after swallowing the pill. Drinking water or juice along with your vitamin is fine, but don't take it with milk or calcium-fortified orange juice - the calcium can interfere with iron absorption.

If taking the vitamin on an empty stomach isn't comfortable for you to digest, then you can take it with meals. Even though some food interactions are possible, they will not cancel out all of the vitamin's benefits." And remember to ask your doctor if you are having any trouble taking the vitamin. I take mine on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. (Some of this information is from:

~If you are a fan of Dr. Weil you can ask him a question at

In conclusion:

I hope to have given you some basic information on multivitamins. In no way am I prescribing any combination of vitamins or minerals other than to say it is important to take a multivitamin daily but check with your doctor first if you have any concerns.

Please feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment.

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You may also want to read:
Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution

Body for Life (Bill Phillips)

Weight Watchers

Get With The Program" (Bob Greene - Oprah's mentor)

Recommend this product? Yes

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