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Question: How to select a Multi Vitamin?(16 posts)

Question: How to select a Multi Vitamin?brains
Feb 17, 2002 7:17 AM
I decided that I need a multi-vitamin / dietary supplement to compliment my workouts. I just got back from the health food store and my head is spinning. There are a too-many choices, I dont know how or why to select one over another. I guess my question is, "what should I be looking for in a multi and how much should it cost?" Whats the difference between the expensive multis and the CVS bought Centrum or similar (do-all) type of supplements?

My goals are: I am currently logging lots of base miles and plan to compete in road bike races and Triathlons this season.

Any help or directions to a web site would be appretiated.
Thanks in Advance. end.
Hard to say.look271
Feb 17, 2002 8:43 AM
One thing that you most definately want to avoid is a multi with extra iron-it can become toxic and most men don't need it-it has been linked to increased chances of heart attacks. I'd go with a vitamin with extra anti-oxidents such as vit E, C, and beta-carotene. 400 iu is a good level of E. C you can take as much as 1000 mg or more-if it's too much, you just have really yellow pee.:-)
You need a multi vitamin? Why? Poor diet?Barnyard
Feb 17, 2002 9:17 AM
re: Question: How to select a Multi Vitamin?xxl
Feb 17, 2002 9:48 AM
I kind of agree with the other poster; why do you feel you need a multivitamin? If your diet is poor, learn to eat better, and spend your money on better foods. Then, you won't "need" the supplements, which aren't really intended to be food substitutes. After all, multivitamins contain (mostly) only the substances that Uncle Sam has bothered to study; there are plenty of food components that haven't made it to "multitab" status, but which nonetheless are beneficial to you, and aren't present in even the most "comprehensive" multivitamins.

My question to you is: Why are you at the health-food store when you could be hanging out at the bike shop;] ?
re: Question: How to select a Multi Vitamin?brains
Feb 17, 2002 11:52 AM
why are you hanging out at the bike shop when you could be out logging some base miles. Spend a little more time on the bike and less time hanging out and you might have a better understanding of why multi vitamins become escential. Almost any diet will be sufficient to sustain a full day at the bike shop talking smack.
re: Question: How to select a Multi Vitamin?xxl
Feb 17, 2002 1:24 PM
It was a joke; note the lame "emoticon" attempt at end.

FWIW, I was only at the bike shop because GNC was closed, so I never learned how multivitamins become "escential."

I stopped counting "base miles" years ago, when I decided to ride year around. I get 6,000-mile seasons, and plenty of time to think about what to have for dinner.
I use multis and they seem to help ...Humma Hah
Feb 17, 2002 3:00 PM
... I rarely get colds any more, if I do they're usually when I've run out of vitamins.

I've had good luck with GNC Megaman horse pills, but at the moment I'm doing pretty well with some I got on sale at CVS. I'd say a minimal pill like One-A-Day is probably a bit on the thin side, and Megaman is probably more than enough.

Look for the hard pills primarily as a suppliment to a good diet, something to fill in the gaps, not something to make up for eating poorly. The hard pills are a reasonable way to get water-soluble vitamins that wash out of your system quickly. And if you get a little more than you need, that's just what happens.

Vitamin E is another question. It degrades fast on contact with air, and I doubt its efficasy in hard pills. I take 400 IU daily of natural E in a gelcap. More than that can be a problem, may cause intestinal bleeding in some people. Natural sources include natural peanut butter (made with just peanuts, no partially hydrogenated oil).

I'd recommend against really high doses. However, the Surgeon General, and finally most doctors, have done a turnabout on vitamins and are finally advocating their use. If the label says they provide what the US govenment recommends, or modestly more, its hard to go wrong. If they have 10, 20, 100x the recommendation, don't go that way.

As for other junk, there's a lot of unproven snake oil in stuff at the health food stores. If the FDA has not set an RDA, you can bet there is little scientific evidence the ingredient is beneficial. It may actually be good for you, but there's no proof, and the seller is probably happy selling it to you with no proof (I'd give 90% odds any particularly unproven nutritional suppliment is useless).
Food and chemistryKerry Irons
Feb 17, 2002 5:05 PM
So you're logging lots of miles, and therefore consuming lots of calories. Along with those extra calories, you should be having no problems getting proper nutrition if you just eat a balanced diet. Study after study has shown that food is a better source of nutrition than supplements, as both bioavailability and the full mix of nutrition is superior in food. If your diet consists of Froste Flakes and pizza, then the vitamin supplement is a good idea. If you eat lean protein, low fat dairy, whole grains, fruit, and nuts (how hard is that?) then the vitamins are just a waste of money.
Some good starting points are..coonass
Feb 17, 2002 5:27 PM
"Nutrition for Endurance" by Dr. Bill Misner (ISBN 0-9668399-0-0) aka "Dr. Bill" of Hammer Gel; and "Optimum Sports Nutrition" by Dr. Michael Colgan (ISBN 0-9624840-5-9)...and you'll also find out why our fruits & veggies CAN'T deliver the vitamins &/or minerals as advertised..
If nothing else, as a biker you should be consuming Calcium/Magnesium to keep the bones strong to 'possibly' prevent breakage in a crash....Yellow urine just means that your bod is excreting the excess vitamins/minerals...if we had gauges for out bods, then we could always take the correct amount...also remember that the nutritional values listed for your individual food items are for the RAW state.....not cooked!!
"A multi-vitamin seems to help?" What's that mean?Med. Student
Feb 17, 2002 5:27 PM
May it be the power of suggestion? I think so. Unfortunately in this country there is a huge industry that tells people that supplements will help them. However there is little scientific proof to back up these claims. People who waste money at pricey health food stores and GNC are crazy. Get a life! Try enriching your diet with a larger variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains etc. Colors are important when it comes to food. Eat natural foods, fruits and vegetables,that come in a variety of different colors (green peppers and carrots are especially good). Everything you get from a pill can also be provided in the every day foods we eat. Pills seem to help? Really???
Our 'medical profession'..coonass
Feb 17, 2002 5:48 PM
says 'Eat 3 well balanced meals a day'.....can they provide me with a low calorie menu that will give me with the Recommended (minimum) Daily Allowance of Vitamins & Minerals?; nor can I be assured that the fruits/veggies I buy contain the nutrition values as expected. (This is why I 'supplement' my vitamins & minerals daily) I also forgot to mention that the Medical profession is responsible for over 94,000 deaths a year!!! The Vietnam War only accounted for something like 56,000 deaths total!
Feb 17, 2002 5:59 PM
Sorry, tonight's recent search increased the numbers...
"Risk 3: Drugs & surgery are dangerous interventions.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, conventional medicine kills 225,000 Americans per year. That includes 106,000 (about 300 per day) from properly prescribed and properly administrated medications; 7,000 from medical errors in hospitals; 20,000 from other hospital errors; and 80,000 from infections acquired while in the hospital (JAMA 2000). Conventional medicine injures over 2 million Americans per year severely enough to require hospitalization (JAMA 1998).
In additions, over the counter drugs kill another 16,000 Americans per year. (JAMA 1998). To put this in perspective, 58,152 Americans soldiers died during the 6 years of the Vietnam War (about 9,700 per year) and 153,303 were wounded seriously enough to be hospitalized (about 25,500 per year). Total U.S. casualties during all four years of W.W.II equal 234,874 (58,718 per year) In deaths, one year of medicine is equivalent to 23 years of war in Vietnam and nearly all of WWII. In serious injuries, one year of medicine is equivalent to 78 years of war. Apparently, medical care is a more risky proposition than war.

It is of note that when doctors go on strike, there is a significantly drop in the death rate. The doctor strike of 2000 in Israel caused considerable concern to the morticians who observed that funerals had 'fallen drastically'. They also noted that the same thing occurred in 1983 during the previous doctor strike. Science News (114:293 Oct. 28 '78) reported that deaths rates lowered in Los Angles during the 1976 doctors strike. There was an 18% drop in deaths for the duration of the strike, then, after the strike, deaths rates jumped to 3% above normal for over 5 weeks as doctors made up for lost time."
Coonass, what about the lives saved by modern medicine?Barnyard
Feb 17, 2002 7:46 PM
Isn't that the flip side to your equation? You make all doctors sound like legal killers? You can take your chances, but if I'm sick, I think I'll tend to stick to modern medicine.
Feb 18, 2002 1:48 PM
I was just pointing out the fact that "3 well balanced meals per day" (as described by the medical profession) is a pipe dream....I doubt that anyone on this planet plans their daily meals on this basis; and if they do, they'd have to weigh over 350# to consume the quantity of (raw) food to obtain their RDA. If I were to get seriously sick, or break a bone, I'd definitely seek out a gooooood physician. Everyone is forgetting that vitamins and minerals are SUPPLEMENTING of what you are not obtaining in your daily diet; not sole-source. Vitamins or stamp collecting....educate yourself to answer your own questions.... leave the VooDoo to secret rituals in New Orleans.....(but if I can increase my average mph by putting frog's tongue in my seat bag, I'd do it!!!)
Feb 18, 2002 7:26 AM
Optimal Muscle Recovery by Ed Burke. It's a great book about nutritional needs of the cyclist specifically. I really got a lot out of it, and it's certainly helped the way I eat and supplement with vitamins.
See a dietician...Velocipedio
Feb 18, 2002 7:42 AM
Find out if you have any nutrient defficiencies and work on those. If it's just a question of "I think I could use this" and "better safe than sorry," then buy a bottle of One a Days [or whatever brand] and take those. They contain the same vitamins and nutrients as all the boutique brands, for a fraction of the cost.

The point that everyone else is making is a good one: If you have a decent, balanced diet, then you're probably getting all the vitamins you need already. If you start buying expensive boutique miltivitamins, then your body simply won't use or absorb what you don't need, and you'll have rather expensive pee.

If you're not sure, go see a doctor and visit a dietician. If you're an endurance athlete, you should do this anyway.