Decoding the Supplement Facts Panel

There are 13 essential vitamins, mineral and antioxidants necessary for your body’s normal cell function, growth and development. These 13 essential vitamins are further broken down into 2 categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins help free the energy found in the foods we eat. Fat-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are difficult to break down in the bloodstream and require special pathways to enter the blood through the gastrointestinal tract.

What do you need to know before you purchase a multivitamin?

Understanding how to read the supplement panel allows you to make an educated decision about what multivitamin is right for you based on your body’s needs. The Food and Nutritional Board of the National Academy of Sciences (FNB) has established nutritional labeling guidelines for dietary supplements so consumers have a standardized system to compare products. The Daily Value is a standard recommended dosage that must be included in the supplement facts panel. Each nutrient has a percent daily value that represents the amount expected to meet the daily needs of an "average" healthy person. 

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You should also be aware of serving size when selecting a product. Some multivitamins require you to take one tablet a day while others may require you to take 2 tablets or even up to 6 gummies a day to get the Recommended Daily Allowance.

Certain high potency vitamins can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea so when deciding between tablets, chewables, softgels, liquid or gummies, select the format with the least side effects. Commit to what you can comply with and understand your own gastrointestinal sensitivities. You’ll be more likely to stick with a supplement routine if it fits your lifestyle and your health needs.

Talk to your health professional for more information about what vitamin and supplements would benefit you.

This post has been reproduced with the permission of Dr. SherryTM

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