Let's face it - it's hard to eat the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day (think USDA Food Pyramid). And even if you do, you still might fall short in getting all the nutrients your body needs on a daily basis. Taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement will help you meet the recommended daily value of nutrients, especially when you're on the go and don't eat as well as you should.
If you have Diabetes, it's even more important to get the nutrients your body needs. Vitamin deficiency won't cause Diabetes, but it can interfere with glucose control. There is a dizzying array of vitamin and mineral supplements on the market, and it can be confusing trying to decide what you need. The 12 key nutrients that are usually lacking in American diets but present in multivitamins are:
Whatever supplement you choose should contain approximately 100% of the recommended daily value of these nutrients.
Multivitamins and minerals come in several forms: pills (tablets or capsules), liquids and powders. The main differences among them are the rate at which your body absorbs the supplement and how quickly the supplement is activated. There is usually a reason why supplements come in one form or another. For example, some are in pill form and absorbed more slowly because they may become ineffective if broken down by stomach acids.
All supplements are not created equal. So how can you tell if the pills you're looking at are what they claim to be? For starters, look for brands labeled with the NSF International, US Pharmacopeia or Consumerlab seal. These designations validate the supplement's ingredients and verify that it doesn't contain any contaminants or ingredients other than what is stated on the label.
Be wary of supplements that claim to "cure" a condition or offer a "money-back guarantee." Look for supplements produced in the U.S. Those not made in the U.S. may not be regulated and may contain harmful ingredients. These especially run rampant on the Internet.
Check the expiration date before you buy and make sure you use them before they expire. Vitamins can lose their effectiveness after this date.
Finally, be sure to talk to your doctor, registered dietician or Diabetes educator about any vitamins or herbal supplements you currently take or are considering taking. This is especially important if you have particular medical conditions or take certain medications, as some supplements can cause complications or interact with drugs. Your health professional can help guide you through the maze of products out there and decide which supplements suit your needs.