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Ever since 2002 when The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommended that adults should take supplements, more people have been supplementing their diets with vitamins and minerals.

A multivitamin and mineral complex is a good way to start building a strong healthy foundation. But with so many different types of multis on the shelves, how do you pick the right one for you? Here's a quick guide to help. Remember, if you have any further questions, you can always contact us at customercare@swansonvitamins.com, or join our live chat!

Everyone Can Start with the Basics

If you’re not sure where to begin, a basic multivitamin is a good start. This way, your body will get the essential nutrients it needs. A basic multivitamin and mineral will meet your everyday dietary needs with a balanced formula. Whole-food formulas will give you vitamins and minerals, along with enzymes and herbs, in a food base to promote assimilation in the body. Some vitamin and mineral complexes are delivered in one or two pills per day, which is especially convenient for busy people. Other formulas provide mega potencies of important nutrients, and these are oftentimes delivered in three or more pills per day. If you don't like swallowing pills, look for powder, liquid or chewable tablets. And it’s never too early to start—check out our children’s supplement page to find out what to look for in a child’s multivitamin and mineral.

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The Basics for Women

Iron is an important supplement for women of child-bearing age because they lose it with each monthly cycle. This is why women need more iron a day compared to men. Iron is needed for producing red blood cells and transporting oxygen in the blood. Women between the ages of 12 and 50 should get 15 milligrams of iron a day.

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The Basics for Men

For most men, iron free formulas may be a better choice, since long-term or excessive iron supplementation can cause problems. Because of that, men should not consume iron supplements unless their physician has determined it is necessary. Note: Iron free formulas are also preferred for women who have reached menopause.

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Vegetarians Need a Multi, Too

Because vegetarians don’t eat animal products, they run the risk of developing certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies because they’re not consuming the nutrients that other people get from meat and dairy products. A good multi supplement will provide people on restricted diets with their daily required vitamins and supplements.

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Multis for Those Who Are 50 and Older

People aged 50+ have their own unique nutritional needs. Age-specific formulas often contain nutrients like lutein for vision health, probiotics for colon health, CoQ10 for heart heath and antioxidants for immune support.

Formulas for women may include herbs and other nutrients that keep fluctuating hormones in balance and help manage symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Formulas for men may include nutrients that promote prostate health, testosterone and sexual support.

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