Monday, February 21, 2011

Shopping for a multivitamin

See the hypo girl shop.
See the hypo girl read labels.
See the hypo girl throw bottles of multivitamins at the heads of helpless store clerks.

It's not easy to shop for a vitamin, or to choose which one is best. Shopping for clothes is easy. Clothes fit, they make my body a little more bootylicious, I buy them. Shopping for sinus medicine is easy. Find card that says the good stuff is behind the counter, surrender drivers license into state database, buy it. If I feel better I repeat that choice the next time I have those same symptoms.
But how do you really know if you are benefiting from a multivitamin? There are so many variations on the market, and they are not mandated by any manufacturing rules. Basically this means that a multivitamin may not contain what the bottle claims or it could be contaminated with something from the manufacturing plant, or might have tainted ingredients.
So how do you know....
Well you can look for bottles containing a seal from the United States Pharmacopoeia or NSF International. Both of those are nonprofit groups that offer checks to companies that volunteer for them. They make sure the goods aren't contaminated with bads and offer a pretty seal of approval if it is all good.  The other option is to ask your doctor to recommend a good multivitamin.

In doing my homework online (and trying to avoid a breakdown in the vitamin isle) I have found a wonderful article that told me what I knew, but didn't want to hear. I need more than just a one-pill wonder here.
The following vitamin cocktail is recommended by the University of Maryland Medical Center in their article about Hypoglycemia.
  • A daily multivitamin, containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins, and trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, 1 - 2 capsules or 1 - 2 tbs. of oil daily, to help decrease inflammation and help with immunity. Omega-3 fatty acids can have a blood thinning effect. People taking blood thinning medications should speak to their doctor before taking omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Vitamin C, 500 - 1,000 mg daily, as an antioxidant and for immune support.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid, 25 - 50 mg twice daily, for antioxidant support.
  • Magnesium, 250 - 750 mg daily, for nutrient support. If you are taking blood pressure medication or other heart medication, speak to your doctor before taking magnesium.
  • Chromium, 250 - 800 mcg daily, for blood sugar regulation.
  • Probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus), 5 - 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) a day, when needed for maintenance of gastrointestinal and immune health. Some acidophilus products may need refrigeration -- read labels carefully.

It makes sense to me, especially all the things about immune support because I have literally spent a 1/3 of this year sick with something. It's a bit ridiculous. The news about chromium and how it is being researched with diabetes is pretty interesting. According to a great article by "Studies have shown that chromium supplementation is helpful with hypoglycemia and can improve glucose tolerance test results and increase the number of insulin receptors on red blood cells."

So now I know what I want to do and I'll fax a copy of this vitamin plan to my doctor before I purchase all of the cocktail ingredients. It would be great to find a mix that helped combat the illnesses and helped me stay on track to becoming a healthier me.

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