Vitamins: do you need supplements?
Best Dietary Supplements
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What is the best over-the-counter dietary supplement? I am 49 and looking for a supplement that would give me the vitamins and energy I need.
— Glo, Oklahoma
If you are generally in good health, there is nothing better than good nutrition to give you the vitamins and energy you need every day. There is something about taking in the vitamins and minerals in their natural state that promotes health better than taking a vitamin pill — most likely there are other substances in the food we eat that work together with vitamins to enhance their effect — such as phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals and other healthful substances are found mainly in fruits and vegetables and also whole grains, which typically have a lot of fiber. You could never get the same healthful substances that are found in these natural foods by taking a multivitamin.
However, taking a multivitamin every day won't hurt, especially in case you miss all your nutrients on that occasional junk-food day. In that case, look for a standard reputable brand — perhaps a woman's daily multivitamin with iron or a vitamin labeled for older folks. These preparations generally have extra calcium and iron.
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