“Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well.”

With the New Year beginning, many people start the year with resolutions such as weight loss, better health, better diet habits and more exercise. We all want to succeed at being our best, but sometimes we get overwhelmed with trying to do everything right, all at the same time. At Hoye’s Pharmacy, we know how important good nutrition is, along with healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise. But even more important is integrating these changes into our daily routine in a simple fashion so we can stick to them and really make them part of our daily routines, without too much pain.

People visit our pharmacy daily with questions about what supplements to take for good health. There certainly are a lot of choices out there, but we almost always recommend what we refer to as “The Big Three.”

The Big Three

To begin any good health regimen, we believe that a foundation of three basic supplements is essential for just about everyone, from children to seniors. This foundation consists of three items:

  • Multi-vitamin
  • Essential Fatty Acids
  • Pro-biotic

This month we will discuss the importance of multi-vitamins and offer some suggestions.

Stay tuned because we’ll discuss the Essential Fatty Acids in March and the Pro-Biotics in April.

Here are the most frequently asked questions we get regarding multi-vitamins and the role they play in good health:

Why are multi vitamins important?
First of all, what is a vitamin?

A vitamin is considered a micronutrient because the body uses them in relatively small amounts to help with metabolism and assist bio-chemically with getting energy from food. Vitamins are considered co-enzymes and work with other enzymes to allow the activities that occur within the body to be carried out properly. Basically, vitamins help the body work better when digesting food and other nutrients, so you can get the optimum benefit.

Why take a multi instead of individual vitamins?

A Multi provides the convenience of a proper balance of vitamins and minerals combined into one formula. They are usually taken in capsule, tablet, liquid, or powder form, but can also be taken as an injection or IV. It is believed that by combining the vitamins and minerals in a good balance actually strengthens the function of the vitamin to perform more efficiently.

What is RDI and ODI?

RDI, which stands for Recommended Dietary Allowances, is the basis for the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances (U.S. RDA’s) adopted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In simple terms, it is what they believe to be the daily amounts of each vitamin/mineral needed to prevent vitamin deficiency diseases, such as scurvy, night blindness and ricktets.

Many people feel that the amounts defined by the RDI are minimal and do not address the true amounts needed to maintain a good strong health foundation, fight modern day disease such as cancer, and assist in longevity. As a result, a system known as ODI, which stands for Optimum Daily Intakes, was created to suggest amounts recommended for a more optimal, healthy level of well-being and hopefully, longevity.

Why not get our vitamins from the foods we eat?

That would be ideal, but in today’s world, our food chain has become depleted of many nutrients due to:

  • Higher levels of pollution
  • Depleted soils
  • Longer travel time for our foods from harvest to dinner table
  • Heavy processing and addition of chemicals to extend shelf life of food.

As a result, a good multi-vitamin helps us to ensure that we are getting the proper nutrition we need. And, when taken with a meal, a multi-vitamin helps to ensure that all of the co-factors are in place (as discussed above) to get the optimal benefit from food.

What is the difference between a one a day multi and a more complete multi that requires me to take 3-4 daily? Which one is better?

Obviously, a one a day is a vitamin that is taken once daily. Although they are convenient, there is only so much that can be compressed into one tablet or capsule. As a result, decent one a days are usually large tablets and dosages are minimal. Other multi-vitamin formula’s require that you take 2-6 (sometimes more) daily. They all differ, and like people, you should select the one that is right for you. Considerations should include:

  • Dosage form and number of capsules: will you be compliant with taking that form of vitamin and the number required?
  • Size of the tablet/capsule: if you are taking a tablet or capsule, can you swallow the size of pill?
  • Health goals: what are your health goals?
  • Medical history and disease concerns: do you have a family history of specific diseases or are you currently being treated for a specific health condition? Are you taking other medications or supplements?
  • Daily diet: do you eat a diet rich in fresh grown organic foods or are you a fast food junkie?
  • Lifestyle: are you living a healthy lifestyle with proper exercise and diet? Are you exposed to a lot of pollutants and toxins through your work environment or lifestyle? Do you consume excess amounts of alcohol or tobacco?

How do I decide?

By answering the questions above, you can determine your basic needs and select a vitamin that is right for you. There are a lot of choices and any reputable nutrition store should have qualified, educated staff to help show you choices and make a good selection. Feel free to stop in and discuss your vitamin needs at Hoye’s Pharmacy.

Summary:

A multi-vitamin is an essential part of the Big Three foundation for good health. They act like an insurance policy for added protection towards your health. Choose wisely- as stated by Marcus Valerius Martial (a Latin poet)
“Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well.”

In Good Health To You and Family

Hoye’s Pharmacy