How to choose the best quality multivitamin? – A question that has haunted many of us at some point in their lives!
According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), 76% of US adults take a supplement. Over 50% of them take a multivitamin! If we go by the words of the National Institutes of Health, over one-third of US adults take multivitamins.
Multivitamins have become a popular choice to make up for our nutritional deficiencies. Food is always the best option to get our nutrients, but that is not always possible. According to WebMD, most American diets don’t fulfil the daily nutrient requirements.
You can blame our busy routine and too much junk food that we eat. Our grandmas were right when they told us to eat our veggies and fruits. But for those with improper diets, multivitamins may help, according to experts.
WebMD also says that a multivitamin can provide the essential vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy and disease-free.
Now, choosing a multivitamin is not easy. You have to consider several factors like-
- Nutritional goals
- Fitness goals
- Existing and past diseases and surgeries
- Age and gender
Today, we are going to explore all the considerations and tell you how to choose the best quality multivitamin.
Get a Professional Advice
All of us are not the same. We have different rates of metabolism, levels of hormones, genetics, blood work, and physical needs. So the vitamins and minerals we need vary from one person to another.
If you are considering supplementation for specific reasons, it’s best to speak to a doctor or dietician. He or she will be able to assess your true nutritional requirements based on your goals and physical conditions. Going by the scientific way gives the best results and helps you choose the right multivitamin for your needs.
For other people, the best thing will be a comprehensive multivitamin.
How to Choose the Best Quality Multivitamin: Look for the Best Ingredients
In our multivitamin with iron discussion, we highlighted the vitamins and minerals athletes need. In the same way, women need a slightly different set of nutrients. Kids have their own vitamin requirements, as do pregnant women.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, we need around 30 minerals and vitamins to stay healthy. Generally, you will not find all those vitamins and minerals together in a multivitamin. That’s why it’s necessary to know your nutrient requirements before choosing a multivitamin.
Still, we will give you a general list of vitamins and minerals to look for in your essential multivitamin.
Vitamins: The basic vitamins you need in your multivitamins are vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and B-complex vitamins. B-complex vitamins include folate, B12, B6, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamine.
Minerals: Multivitamins contain a range of minerals for added benefits. Some important minerals include iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, and folic acid.
Essential Vitamins for Optimum Health
Now, we will take up one vitamin at a time.
- Supports bone health
- Maintain healthy skeletal and soft tissue
- Promotes good vision
- Acts as antioxidants (helps during endurance training)
- Boosts immunity
- Prevents diseases
- Needed for growth and repair of body tissues
- Supports healthy teeth and bones
- Supports various bodily functions
- Builds healthy bones by facilitating calcium absorption
- Supports immune functions
- Reduces inflammation (can reduce muscle soreness)
- Acts as antioxidants
- Prevents heart diseases, cancer
- Promotes good eyesight
- Supports immune function
- Supports prostate health in men
- Supports bone metabolism
- Helps in blood clotting
- Promotes heart health
- Needed for energy production
- Transports oxygen across our body
- Plays part in brain function
- Prevents infections
- Promotes the growth of red blood cells
- Promotes overall health
Now, let’s discuss the important minerals in how to choose the best quality multivitamin guide.
Essential Minerals for Optimum Health and Functioning
- Boost energy
- Improves brain functions
- Promotes healthy red blood cells
- Aids in muscle synthesis and recovery
- Promotes healthy bones
- Builds strong bones and teeth
- Prevents bone and skeletal problems, especially in the elderly
- Supports muscle and nerve functions
- Supports bone health
- Reduces stress
- Helps in protein and bone development
Potassium and Sodium
- Maintains fluid balance in our bodies
- Prevents fatigue and muscle cramps
- Promotes growth and repair of muscle tissue
- Facilitates energy production
- Supports immune functions
- Heals wounds
- Aids fetus development
- Prevents birth defects
- Reduces inflammation
- Alleviates depression
Now you know what minerals and vitamins to look for in your multivitamin. Next, let’s see who needs what in our how to choose the best quality multivitamin guide.
Best Multivitamin for Men
Some men would really benefit from multivitamins-
- Men who don’t sleep well
- Spends a sedentary life,
- Lacks a proper diet
The essential vitamins and minerals for men include-
- Vitamin E for healthy prostates
- Vitamins A, C, and E for antioxidant effects
- Vitamin A for healthy eyesight
- Magnesium for higher energy levels
- Zinc for a healthy heart
- Calcium and vitamin D for strong bones
Best Multivitamin for Women
Best candidates for multivitamins in women include-
- Pregnant women
- Menstruating women
- Post-menopausal women
- Women lacking proper diet
Women need vitamins for healthy bones and skin. They also need more calcium as they are more likely to suffer from low bone density and joint problems.
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D for healthy bones
- Vitamin B12 or B-complex vitamins
- Calcium as women suffer from calcium deficiency
- Iron (essential for women in her periods)
Best Multivitamin for Athletes
Athletes need minerals and vitamins for an active lifestyle. They need nutrients to build muscles, produce energy, reduce fatigue, and facilitate recovery. Active people will also need a multivitamin with iron and calcium.
- B vitamins
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Potassium and sodium
Best Multivitamin for Pregnant Women
Women need a healthy dose of folic acid for healthy babies. According to experts, expecting women should take 400 mcg of folic acid or folate each day. During pregnancy, the recommended requirement is 600 mcg per day. So your multivitamin should contain folic acid or folate.
If you are pregnant, talk to a doctor to determine your nutritional needs. Then choose a multivitamin accordingly.
Tip: It may be unsafe to take high amounts of vitamin A while you are pregnant.
Best Multivitamin for Older Adults
Older adults need supplements as they are not capable of sourcing nutrients from whole foods. They need something for those ageing bones and dipping energy levels. Minerals and vitamins that boost metabolism are also suitable.
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Potassium (regulates blood pressure)
Alright! We are now halfway through our how to choose the best quality multivitamin guide. Next, we have some tips for picking the right multivitamin as per your needs.
Tips to Choose the Best Quality Multivitamin
1. Go for Activated Nutrients
Vitamins and nutrients can either be inactive or inactive forms. It’s better to go for active forms as our bodies absorb them better.
For instance, in the case of vitamin B6, choose pyridoxine 5-phosphate (active) instead of pyridoxine (inactive). Likewise, go for riboflavin-5-phosphate instead of inactive riboflavin.
2. Look for Third-Party Testing
Multivitamins don’t have to meet any regulations. So, always look for third-party approval from recognized agencies or websites like ConsumerLab, USP (United States Pharmacopeia), or Labdoor.
3. Vitamins Shouldn’t Cross 100% DV
Don’t buy multivitamins that provide over 100% DV for vitamins or minerals. Our bodies can only absorb a limited amount of nutrients and excretes any extra vitamins or minerals.
Men and postmenopausal women should aim for 50% DV for iron.
4. Limit Intake of Vitamin A
Don’t buy multivitamins that contain over 3,000-3,500 International Units (IUs) of vitamin A or retinol.
5. Go for Folate Instead of Folic Acid
Some people cannot convert folic acid easily into its active form. So, it’s always better to take folic acid that exists naturally in leafy vegetables. Also, the activated form is better than the inactive form, as we discussed above.
6. Look for Vitamin E Complex
Check the label of your multivitamin. See if it says the vitamin E is available as mixed tocopherols, which means you have all the vitamin Es.
7. Check for Additives and Fillers
It’s better to choose multivitamins free of gluten, artificial colours, flavours, or sweeteners.
8. Test the Claims
Companies make all sorts of claims on their multivitamins. On closer inspection, you find the claims don’t have any evidence to back up. So, always be cautious and adopt precautions. Look for certifications such as GMP that gives at least a certain credibility to the product.
9. Avoid Revolutionary Formulas
It’s best to go for basic multivitamins without any added benefits like weight loss or a healthy heart. The reason is that many times the claims are baseless. Also, the products cost much higher than basic multivitamins.
10. Buy Generic for Affordability
Generic multivitamins are often cheaper than branded ones and provide the same quality. But always research the product before buying.
We are almost done with our choose the best quality multivitamin guide. Before we conclude, let’s check out a few important terms related to multivitamins.
Multivitamins Terms You Should Know
Here is a list of terms you may come across on multivitamin levels and their meanings-
Source of Vitamins
Glandular multivitamins: Vitamins sourced from tissues and organs of mammals
Whole-food multivitamins: Vitamins sourced from food concentrates
Standard multivitamins: Vitamins developed synthetically
Tip: Whole-food based multivitamins are the best and safest.
Nutrient Requirement Measures
You will find the vitamins and minerals expressed in various metrics. Some common metrics include-
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): The daily nutrient requirements meant for the average person without illness or special conditions.
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Gives quantitative estimation of nutrient intake as reference values. Used to plan and evaluate diets for healthy individuals.
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): The safe limit of any nutrient for daily intake.
Adequate Intake (AI): Daily nutrient requirement for healthy people. It is used when RDA is not applicable.
So, how to choose the best quality multivitamin?
- First, determine your nutritional or fitness goals
- See where you fit (multivitamin for men/athletes/women/pregnant women/older adults)
- Check the ingredients you need as per your profile
- Follow our multivitamin buying tips
Choosing a multivitamin is not that difficult when you have our guide. If you still have any questions, leave it in the comments! We will revert back as soon as possible!