How to Choose a Multi-Vitamin



My friend sent me this text yesterday “Hi! At Vitamin Shoppe trying to buy more essential fatty acids, any suggestions? Overwhelmed!”. Isn’t that how we all feel? I mean seriously how do you make heads or tails of all the claims on the bottle? Let’s be honest, most of us just chose the label that we like the best. Personally, I think supplementation has an important place in our modern world. In a perfect world, all of our nutrition would come from our food, I mean that’s how we are supposed to work! Unfortunately, our life (stress+busy+stress) and food supply chain makes it almost impossible for most of us to do that properly, on a regular basis.


A very important caveat: your digestion! If your digestive process is compromised, you will have a very hard time getting the nutrients from food or supplements. You're essentially just getting really expensive pee. It’s very important to ensure your digestion is working properly so you can absorb and use all of those vital nutrients. Consistent heartburn, constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea, excessive fullness after meals, and body odor are good signs you could use some improvement with your digestion. Check out our Health Coaching program, we can help you get on the right path!


Frequently companies will use the cheaper version of a vitamin, even though the body will not use it as well, in order to increase their margins. Unfortunately, this may include prescription vitamins from your doctor. As an average consumer, you wouldn’t necessarily know the difference but your BODY WILL! Here are some of the top vitamins you will want to check for on the label to ensure you are getting the best, bioavailable source of nutrients:



Cheap, Synthetic or Biounavailable Form

Bioavailable Form

More Info

Vitamin B12



Cyano version has very poor uptake and may also lead to a version of cyanide left in the body

Vitamin C

Vitamin C

“Buffered” Vitamin C

Vitamin C should be “buffered” by minerals (magnesium and calcium are common) in order to ensure it doesn’t leach minerals from the bone

Vitamin D

D2 (ergocalciferol)

D3 (cholecalciferol)

Vitamin D is almost at epidemically low proportions in our populations, please make sure you are supplementing with the correct version for proper use. Vitamin D should also be taken with any type of calcium supplementation.

Vitamin E

dl-alpha-tocopherol or all-rac alpha tocopherol

d-alpha tocopherol acetate or d-alpha tocopheroal succinate

Synthetic version of Vit E is significantly less useful to the body, manufacturers have been known to mix 10% of the real form and 90% of the cheap form in order to label is “natural.” Make sure it’s 100% of the bioavailable form.

Folate (Vitamin B9)

Folic acid

Folate (various tetrahydrofolate derivatives naturally found in food)

Folic acid is an oxidized synthetic version that requires extra work from the liver and digestive system. Folate should also be taken with Vitamin B12, make sure if you are supplementing just with Folate you include B12


As I have mentioned in my previous posts, it's important to recognize that all vitamins and minerals work together, you can't influence one without influencing a whole host of others. If you are supplementing with just one particular vitamin or mineral, please make sure you know the most common cofactors and are adjusting for the extra supplementation. Outside of the multi, Vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat-soluble vitamins which means they require appropriate amounts of fat for absorption and utilization by the cell. Low fat dieting will create a major issue with these vitamins!


In addition, there should not be any soy, gluten, hydrogenated oils, dyes or colorings in your multi! At best, these serve very little nutritional purpose and, at worst, can cause excess digestive irritation, allergic reactions and inflammation.


If you follow these guidelines you should be able to find a comprehensive multi-vitamin that gives you the best bang for your buck. For more information check out our Health Coaching program or contact me personally at lindsayhuttman@gmail.com.


- Lindsay 




Motivation: When You're Ready Come and Get It



We have all been there. The alarm goes off and the snooze button finds your finger, or you are scrambling to find a matching pair of gym socks and you think to yourself “I don’t really want to work out right now…”


Maybe you have been over training, your body is aching, sore and the thought of flexing your quads to stand, much less do a weighted squat, sounds miserable. Or perhaps the opposite is true. You haven’t caught your stride, and so when you DO work out, you are sore for days and hate the idea of doing it all over again.  So here you are, forcing yourself to do something you know is good for you, and you are not really having any fun…

  1. Change it up!  Take a look at your routine and evaluate what it may be lacking.  If you have been strength training for a long time, try to integrate some high intensity interval training. If you have been doing a lot of yoga or Pilates, it may be good to hit the weights for a few rounds of heavy lifting.  Haven’t taken a spin class in a while? Maybe you hire a trainer for just a few sessions and learn some new fun ways to work your muscle groups that you have never thought of! Even just 3 sessions with a trainer can teach you some great new techniques that may be just the spice your routine needs.
  2. Find a work out buddy.  Doing anything with a friend is more fun.  Ask your co-workers who head out the door with their gym bags to join you! No one in the office wants to play? But what if your boyfriend/girlfriend works late or your best friend just had a kid and can’t leave the house? Try joining a group on www.meetup.com. They have meet up groups for a wide variety of fitness related adventures. Or ask your trainer or coach if they have any recommendations for your workout buddy. Chances are, they know someone who has similar fitness goals as you, similar time frames for a work out, and would even be happy to offer buddy-session training at a discounted rate!
  3. Get outside.   Maybe going from the fluorescent lights of your office to the covered steel box of your warehouse gym isn’t what your summer-thirsty skin wants right now.  Go for a walk run, hit up a local park for sprint training, or find a local outdoor work out gym https://www.arlingtonva.us/portals/topics/FitArlingtonGetOutdoors.aspx or grab a kettle bell, a jump rope and try Nina’s park work out! (check out Nina at the park) Breath the fresh air and let the sounds and feel of summer soak into your skin and get more than just an endorphin boost from increasing your heart rate, but also vitamin D, a vitamin your body needs to absorb and store in large amounts to last the upcoming winter.
  4. Don’t workout.  De-stress instead.  Yes you heard me right. Sometimes answering your body’s cry for a break is the right thing to do. If you are surviving a stressful job in a stressful season on a pot of coffee, chances are your parasympathetic nervous system (the one that keeps your body revved up) is in high gear and could use a little down time. This doesn’t mean you just go home and catch up Hulu reruns. Be intentional with your recovery plan and treat your body to a wellness-related service such as massage, or a detoxifying foot bath. Does your body feel tight and stiff? Try Swe-Thai, an hour of stretching-based massage. (link to massage page of website) Acupuncture can be a great way to give your immune system a boost, or target any sore area of the body that needs healing.  Integrate sessions in our Infrared Sauna, which uses infrared light to penetrate your tissue, increase your circulation, loosen up myofascial tissue and invoke a fantastic sweat response for detoxification! (Attach link to our website on the sauna page here)  Finding a beautiful balance between working your body hard and allowing it to recover properly is what a healthy fitness routine is all about.
  5. Get competitive.  Are there any feats of athleticism you have always wanted to achieve? Find something measurable that requires you to push past your limits!  This is something we foster in our studio because we KNOW competition can be super motivating.  Check out our record board! It is FULL of fun, interesting fitness challenges designed to push our clients toward friendly competition and a tangible goal to work toward. We’ve got 2 of our current and former record holders, Helene and Stefanie, to talk about their motivation! Check them out here.





Tackling Serious Pregnancy "Weight"



Yea Ladies! We are talking about lifting weights and moving your body while pregnant this month. We are going to bust open some myths about exercising while you are pregnant. In addition, we have awesome videos (see end of article) to demonstrate some moves you can try at home or at our studio. The lovely and pregnant Nina Elliot will be my muse. Hopefully most of you have heard how beneficial exercise is to you in general and certainly while you are pregnant. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercising during pregnancy is associated with:

  • Easing/preventing back pain
  • Boosting your energy level
  • Preventing excess weight gain
  • Reducing your risk of gestational diabetes, pregnancy related high blood pressure and postpartum depression
  • Increasing muscle stamina and strength in preparation for labor

In addition, exercising will help improve swelling in your extremities, increase confidence in your new body, improve your sleep, avoid injuries and uplift your spirits. With all those awesome reasons, let's get started!


Myth: Starting a workout program when I'm pregnant is not good H&W Response: If there's any time to give yourself motivation to start moving, pregnancy is a great way to do it! While we wouldn't recommend training for a marathon as your first conquest, there's no better time to start. We can help you start a workout program that matches your current starting point.


Myth: My heart rate should never go above 140 beats per min (BPM) when pregnant H&W Response: Let's be honest, when you're pregnant, your heart rate goes above 140 bpm when you walk from your car to the grocery store! This advice is outdated and inaccurate. Considering how 140 beats per minute can feel completely different from one body type and fitness level to the next, you can see how this ‘blanket’ statement is too general to be truly helpful. Secondly, a pregnant woman's heart rate naturally rises more quickly because her heart is working hard to pump blood more places. This is a reason to be aware of how your body is responding during exercise but not a reason to shy away from pumping some iron. Instead of monitoring your BPM, see below on our tips for "Signs of Exhaustion" as a better indicator of when you should take it easy.


Myth: I should stay away from ab and core exercise H&W Response: No way!! What muscles do you think help you push that baby out?!? Let me give you a clue, it's not your biceps. Your core strength is the key to so much more than pushing a baby out. Even if that is not part of your birth plan, core strength will help speed your recovery, stabilize your body as relaxin loosens your joints in preparation for labor, ease lower back pain, and prevent injury. Instead of avoiding abdominal work all together, check out the tips below and our video for some of the best ways to work your ever expanding core!


Myth: Lifting weights is too strenuous and/or dangerous during pregnancy H&W Response: We would beg to differ. With the proper technique and appropriate weight selection, weight lifting can be a great way to increase or maintain your muscle tone during pregnancy. Weight bearing exercise is one of the best ways to work on your bone density, prepare your body to lift that little one all the time, and, again, build stability as your joints loosen up.


General Pregnancy Exercising Guidelines

  • Always support your core! No matter the exercise, you should be holding your abs tight, like you are wrapping your abs around your belly button and pulling towards your back. This will prevent you from spreading your abs too far and injuring your back. Do this in your every day routine, it's a small, gentle way of working your abs.
  • When you do get your heart rate up in the hundreds, work in small bouts. Try 30 seconds up to 3 minutes at a high heart rate and then rest for at least 1-5 minutes depending on your fitness level.
  • Any movement is better than none! At the very least, begin a walking routine (enjoy the stroller free hands while you can!). If you need more accountability, grab a friend! I found walks with my friends to be a great way to get my exercise in and catch up with my friends. No one can turn down a pregnant lady for a walk :)
  • You will want to avoid exercises that have you lay flat on your back, which is why exercises such as crunches, hip raises and flat lying chest presses should be off limits, especially in your 2nd and 3rd trimester. Do not despair, we have plenty of options to target those muscles! Don’t let that little "bump" in the road stop you from staying in great pregnancy shape!


Signs You Should Stop Exercising Immediately

  • Dizziness, light headed
  • Nausea
  • You think your water might have just broken
  • Cramping
  • Headache
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Having trouble catching your breath
  • Chest pain


Check out the videos below where Nina and Lindsay demonstrate some of our favorite pregnancy approved weight bearing activities. Warming Up The Exercises Cooling Down  




Top 4 Nutrients for Pregnancy

Written by Lindsay Huttman (pictured left, with baby Natalie) Ahhhh the miracle of life, so amazing what the human body can accomplish! I just gave birth to a beautiful (well, at least we think so, but I'm sure we are biased) baby girl in December. What a journey! My research on pre and post natal health for the whole family always led me back to one common denominator: nutrition. Whether you are preparing to get pregnant, already pregnant or breastfeeding, nutrition should be a primary focus for all involved. I credit our approach to nutrition for helping me keep morning sickness at bay, reducing heart burn, relieving constipation and minimizing the baby blues. While I had my own ups and downs, I felt my approach to nutrition really gave me a sense of control and ownership over many common pregnancy woes. Funny thing...I still wasn't able to stymie my love of dark chocolate...I wonder why??! If you have read any of our articles in the past, you will know that we absolutely advocate for a properly prepared, nutrient-dense, whole food diet. All nutrients work in conjunction with many different aspects of our diet. No one vitamin or mineral works alone. You will be pleased to know that nutrient-dense, whole foods have naturally occurring complimentary vitamins and minerals. It takes the guess work out of it for you! I have put together some recommendations specific for fertility, pregnancy and postpartum nutrition. And as an added bonus, the whole family can benefit from incorporating these tips into their diets! Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): This vitamin is involved in almost all bodily functions! In particular to our topic, it is required for the synthesis of RNA and DNA in cell replication and reproduction. The normal replication for each of the trillions (that's right, trillions!) of cells in the womb depends on this vitamin. Most people have heard about Vitamin B9 (Folate or Folic Acid) and it's importance in preventing neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Vitamin B6 and B12 are important in ensuring B9 is effective. In addition, it is essential for the normal absorption of fats and proteins. If you are breastfeeding, this vitamin helps the baby continue their rapid development and effectively use the fantastic breast milk they are getting from Mom. *Please note* that antidepressants, estrogen therapy and oral contraceptives diminish the body's reserves of B6. This is important because the first 6 weeks of life (when most women don't know or aren't sure they are pregnant) are when deficiencies in this nutrient can affect the baby. Since we now know that other B complex vitamins are involved in this process as well, B complex vitamin supplementation is recommended prior to getting pregnant (check out Vitamin Code's prenatal vitamins - something we carry right on our shelf in Studio C!) *Nutrient Dense Food Options: Animal sources of B6 tend to be assimilated in to the body better than plant sources. Fish (especially yellow fin tuna, halibut and sockeye salmon), liver (pastured beef and chicken), beef, garbanzo beans, banana, potatoes, brussel sprouts, and spinach. Source: Weston A. Price Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin): This vitamin works to protect the nervous system and cell replication. As a result, it is of the utmost importance for fertility (in both Mom and Dad!) When ancient societies prized foods high in B12 for fertility diets, they were on to something! In addition to B6, B12 works to assimilate iron into the body. Iron levels tend to dip in pregnancy as the blood thins out between Mom and Baby, but sufficient stores of B12 and B6 help the body to use iron reserves efficiently to prevent anemia. B12 is almost exclusively found in animal proteins, so strict vegetarians should take special care to ensure adequate amounts are in their diet. If you need recipes for liver, let us know! *Nutrient Dense Food Options: Mollusks, pastured Beef liver, Fish (Trout, Salmon), Pastured Beef, Yogurt (make sure it's raw, because B12 is destroyed by the high heat of the pasteurization process), Pork, Milk (raw), Pastured Eggs, and Pastured Chicken. Source: Weston A. Price Magnesium: Magnesium is needed to activate the enzymes in your body that carry out most of the functions in your body, especially energy production. In addition, it serves to help your muscles relax after contracting (i.e. LABOR!), helps relieve constipation and maintain a proper PH balance. Where would I be without magnesium?! This nutrient has been a lifesaver for me throughout my pregnancy and postpartum. I started even before I was pregnant with Magnesium supplementation, as some of my research indicated that a magnesium deficiency can exacerbate (or even be the cause of) morning sickness. My appetite did dip in the first trimester, but thankfully no morning sickness! I also kept up the routine to manage muscle cramps that sneaked up on me in the middle of the night, and it also helped me make it through Christian's workout routine (that might have been harder than labor!) Lastly, constipation relief! Very helpful in my last trimester and after giving birth. No need to elaborate, just trust me...it works! *Nutrient Dense Food Options: Leafy green vegetables like kelp and kale, seeds (e.g. pumpkin seeds), nuts (especially almonds) and whole grains *Please note* Phytic Acid - found in most grains - blocks the body's absorption of magnesium (as well as calcium, iron, copper and zinc) in all foods. The GOOD NEWS: Soaking or fermenting grains will neutralize Phytic Acid. Source: Weston A. Price Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) (DHA or Docosahexaenoic Acid): You've probably heard of this essential fatty acid and it's partner, Omega 6. These EFAs are not made by the body and so must come from our food. They are involved in every cell in the body and regulate chemical messages (such as hormones). EFAs are imperative for baby development, especially the brain, before and after pregnancy. The good news is that most people get plenty of Omega 6 EFAs in their diet. The bad news is the same can't be said for Omega 3 EFAs. Strive for sources that have a 1:1 or similar low ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3s. This occurs when the source is wild (as in fish, cod liver oil, or other fish oil) and grass-fed, pastured animals and animal products. *Nutrient Dense Food Options: Duck and Goose fat, fermented cod liver oil, pastured red meat, pastured eggs, and raw or pastured butter. Source: Weston A. Price If you have any questions, comments or thoughts please feel free to contact me. I will be a continuing resource on pregnancy and fertility related topics. Are there any other topics you might find interesting? I look forward to hearing from you, our readers! And please see our website for options on supplementation on how to obtain nutrient-dense, whole foods in your area! Lindsay is a trainer at Health and Wholeness - a multifaceted fitness and wellness business serving Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, featuring: Private and Semi-Private Personal Training, Circuit and Mat Pilates classes, Muscle Activation Techniques, Run Coaching, Fitness Boot Camps, Nutrition Consultations and Food Sensitivity Testing, Acupuncture, Massage, Wellness Coaching, Infrared Sauna, Ionic Foot Soaks and more. Come check us out today!

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