Choosing the best multivitamin formula will depend on your particular health needs. Women, men, seniors, and children all usually have different nutritional requirements. Therefore, there are various options available for each group. A basic multivitamin is generally sufficient to meet the daily requirements of most adults. Those who want professional advice for choosing a multivitamin should consult with their personal health care providers to assess their nutritional needs.
There are several factors to consider when selecting a multivitamin for women. Pre-menopausal women’s needs vary from those who are post-menopausal, for instance, and pregnant women have certain requirements, as well. A typical woman younger than 50 can opt for a standard multivitamin formula or one that is intended specifically for women. These often have additional iron and sometimes calcium. Pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant often take prenatal vitamins that contain extra folic acid, for example, which has been shown to help avoid neural tube defects in babies.
Men also have a number of options when choosing a multivitamin formula. A basic multivitamin for men, for instance, usually does not contain iron, since men do not normally lose iron at the same rate as menstruating women do, and therefore extra iron is not deemed necessary. There are also specialized products for certain health categories. For example, many men choose a formula for energy or heart health. There is not a consensus among physicians regarding the effectiveness of such formulas, however.
Older adults, especially older women, have certain nutritional requirements, as well. Given the tendency for bones and joints to weaken with age, a multivitamin formula for older adults generally contains extra calcium and vitamin D. Many formulas also contain added vitamin B12, since many people over age 50 seem to have difficulty absorbing this vitamin from food.
Medical advice varies regarding multivitamins for children. Some physicians suggest starting them at an early age, especially if a child is a fussy eater and his parents want to ensure that he receives necessary vitamins and minerals. Many children take chewable vitamins and then progress to gummy versions, and later adult vitamins. A multivitamin formula for children usually has lower amounts of the recommended daily nutrients than an adult formula, depending on the child’s age.
A multivitamin formula is commonly sold in pill form, often as hard tablets or gel capsules. Available in various price ranges, there are also options such as drink mixes and vitamin chews. One can find patient and consumer reviews of many products in print publications and online. The information gathered should still be used in conjunction with a physician’s recommendations, as everyone’s medical situation is unique.