Multivitamins are often associated with being healthy, but they’re not all created equally. Some dietary supplements become contaminated with harmful compounds, like arsenic, which can cause numerous health issues. Others may contain artificial coloring, preservatives, and sweeteners that cause GI symptoms and offer no nutritional value. We certainly want to avoid these things, but it’s not always clear that they’re included by just looking at the supplement facts list.
As a public health professional, I aim to help individuals peel back the curtain so they can make an informed decision about what they consume. Today, hundreds of multivitamins sit on virtual and physical store shelves, making it challenging to pick the best one for you. At Breaking Muscle, we’ve decided to make this process easier by uncovering the eight best multivitamins on the marketplace today. Keep reading to find out which one is best for you and what you should pay attention to when reviewing the numerous options.
How We Chose the Best Multivitamin
Coming up with a list of the best multivitamins was no easy feat. Nonetheless, we wanted to simplify the selection process for you, so we decided to put about two dozen multivitamins to the test.
To narrow it down, the Breaking Muscle Team created a list of important factors that matter when picking a multivitamin. Those factors included assessing the ingredients, taste, smell, swallow-ability, side effects, third-party testing, and initial results. One by one, we tried and debriefed multivitamins and eliminated those that didn’t meet our standards. The result of this comprehensive testing process is the list you see below, with each multivitamin categorized based on the type of person it would benefit the most.
Our Top Picks for the Best Multivitamin
Best Multivitamin Overall: Transparent Labs Multivitamin
- High-quality ingredients
- Informed Choice certified (suitable for athletes)
- Provides therapeutic doses
- Free of unnecessary additives and fillers
- Doesn’t include all B vitamins
- Not vegan-friendly
Whether you’re an athlete who has to watch the ingredients you consume or an individual who simply prefers premium ingredients, the Transparent Labs Multivitamin is a solid choice. Their formula consists of 19 essential vitamins and minerals that may reduce fatigue and support a healthy immune system. In addition, these nutrients are bioavailable, meaning they should be absorbed adequately so you can get the most out of them. The formula also includes supporting herbs and antioxidants, making it easily one of the best multivitamins overall.
What’s impressive about this multivitamin is that it uses therapeutic doses, meaning that more of a nutrient is included than what’s needed in a day. Out of 19 vitamins and minerals, 11 of them provide more than 100 percent of the daily value. For example, there are 200 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12, which is 8,333 percent of the daily value. Although that sounds like a lot, taking more than the daily recommended dose isn’t considered harmful because the body doesn’t store excess B12. What’s not used will be passed through urine.
Vitamin B12 assists with creating DNA and also keeps our nerves and blood cells healthy. Those deficient in Vitamin B12 often feel weak and tired, which might explain why some people taking this multivitamin feel more energetic.
Transparent Labs’ formulation also includes four other B vitamins (B1, B5, B6, and B7) but lacks the other three (B2, B3, and B9). In particular, the inclusion of B9 (folate/folic acid) would have been nice, as one study revealed that it may help prevent cardiovascular disease when combined with B12. (1) Nonetheless, this formulation still includes many other vital nutrients in high doses, like vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, and chromium.
One 2017 study revealed that vitamin C supplementation can prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections. (2) A 2022 evidence-based review found that vitamin D may reduce the risk of falls, improve pain in those with fibromyalgia, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in patients with prediabetes. (3)
Research also shows that vitamin K assists with bone formation, insulin sensitivity, and preventing cancer. (4) The mineral chromium (a.k.a. Chromax) helps with the absorption of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and aids blood glucose regulation. While it is found in some foods, it’s only in small amounts, so it’s great that they provide 67 micrograms here (193 percent of the daily value).
The inclusion of organic ashwagandha, Coenzyme Q10, and boron set this vitamin and mineral supplement apart from the rest. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that can improve how the body handles stress, boosts cell-mediated immunity, and protects against cellular damage. (5) Coenzyme Q10, a fat-soluble compound, may reduce muscle pain and improve exercise performance. (6) Lastly, boron is necessary for the growth of bone and wound healing. In addition, it can reduce levels of inflammatory biomarkers. (7)
Overall, this dietary supplement has a lot to offer, and it does this at a reasonable price. A 30-serving container is $29.00. While that might very well be more than the ones you see in retail stores, it includes ingredients you likely wouldn’t find in those.
Plus, it has an Informed Choice certification, meaning that each month, at least one lot and/or batch is randomly tested for banned substances. One downside, however, is that one serving is equal to four capsules, which will be a no-go for many.
Best Multivitamin for Men Over 50: Lifeforce Peak Healthspan
- Addresses the nine hallmarks of aging
- Includes therapeutic dosages of some nutrients
- May boost energy and immune support
- No reviews on their website
- Includes sesame, which some people may be allergic to
Guys over 50 looking for a men’s multivitamin formulated with them in mind should consider Lifeforce’s Peak Healthspan. It has therapeutic dosages of vitamins and minerals that may help with cognitive health, multi-organ function, and cellular resilience. In addition, it includes unique blends of botanical nutrients known to assist with aging gracefully.
A quick look at the supplement facts label will reveal that this multivitamin has 156 percent of the daily value of vitamin D. But why so much? According to one study, vitamin D deficiency is common in older American men, especially during the spring and winter. (31) Interestingly, older men commonly deal with conditions that are potentially linked to a vitamin D deficiency, so supplementation is vital.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is found in ample amounts, too (813 percent of the daily value). This vitamin helps to convert nutrients into energy, makes fats and cholesterol, and creates and repairs DNA. The latter is especially important to older adults, as aging naturally results in cell damage, which can lead to cell death or mutation. (32) Fortunately, the antioxidant effects associated with niacin may be able to help. It also plays a role in helping the body create sex and stress-related hormones. This may explain why niacin aids in improving erectile function in some men. (33)
This multivitamin features NAD3, a propriety blend of Wasabi extract, theacrine, and cuprous niacin (copper and niacin). In a 2020 study on Wasabi, researchers found that this spice prevented the development of hypertension in rodents that followed a high-fat, high-carb diet. (34) Another study published that same year noted that it could assist in managing obesity, so Wasabi shows much promise. (35)
Theacrine is an alkaloid that’s structured similarly to caffeine and may increase physical performance. In a 2019 study, researchers found that male and female soccer players who used TeaCrine® (a compound containing pure theacrine) had increased performance capacity and endurance. (36)
Another ingredient, BetaPower, shows some potential, too. Supplementation of betaine anhydrous has been shown to increase strength and power. (37) One study even revealed that it may reduce adipose tissue, which plays a role in age-related metabolic dysfunction. (38)(39) Adipose tissue causes inflammation and interferes with immune and skeletal muscle cells, so it’s nice to see an ingredient that combats that.
For a 30-serving container, where one serving equals three capsules, you can expect to pay about $115. Peak Healthspan should be taken before lunch as it may cause jitteriness if taken too close to bedtime. In addition, not everyone requires three capsules, so pay attention to your body and adjust as needed. Lastly, it’s unclear if this men’s multivitamin is third-party tested, and it does include one allergen: sesame.
Best Multivitamin for Men: Onnit Total Human
- Therapeutic doses of vitamins and minerals
- Daytime and nighttime support
- Money-back guarantee
- Several pills needed per dose
- Not safe for those with shellfish allergies
- May not be third-party tested
Fellas, are you looking for a solid men’s multivitamin to boost your energy during the day and help you relax and recover at night? The Onnit Total Human multivitamin has just the key nutrients for that! However, it is probably unlike any other supplements you’ve tried. It includes two packets and multiple pills. You’re supposed to take one packet in the morning and another at night.
One of our Breaking Muscle staff members who tested this multivitamin said he was able to swallow all the pills in one pack at the same time, but other people may want to break it up because it is a lot.
The daytime packet includes ingredients that may help with cognitive function, cardiovascular endurance, bone strength, and energy production. For example, there are therapeutic doses of all the B vitamins, vitamin E, and chromium. The packet has numerous trademarked blends, too, like the flow blend, performance blend, and immune blend, just to name a few.
To give you an example, the performance blend includes cordyceps, green tea, ashwagandha, astragalus, and Rhodiola. Cordyceps is a fungus that may delay the aging process, increase natural endurance, and nourish the body’s immune system. (16) Rhodiola has traditionally been used to manage stress-induced fatigue and improve physical performance. (17)
The nighttime packet has ingredients that can promote relaxation, immune system support, and total body support. You’ll find therapeutic doses of vitamin B6 and vitamin C, which are both associated with enhancing immune function. The nighttime pills also contain vitamin D. A study found that men with low levels of that nutrient may be twice as likely to have a heart attack, so the inclusion of vitamin D in Onnit Total Human is noteworthy. (18)
There’s also a trademarked tranquility blend with valerian root, chamomile, lemon balm, and jujube. Valerian root has historically been used as a sleep aid, and chamomile can help promote calmness. (19)(20) Lemon balm may improve symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, while jujube has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial functions. (21)(22)
Some ingredients show up in both the daytime and nighttime packets. For instance, turmeric, fish oil, krill oil, spirulina, and chlorella are there to encourage all-day general wellness. Turmeric, a spice often used for medicinal purposes, can help to manage inflammatory and oxidative conditions. (23) It also has the potential to boost recovery and performance in those who exercise. Krill oil is said to help with muscle recovery following resistance exercise and may even assist with brain development and improved cognition. (24)(25)
With all these ingredients, you would think there’d be some notable side effects, but our tester only experienced more vivid dreams. A couple of consumers said it made them feel sluggish, though, so it depends on the person. My partner, who was deployed overseas with guys who used this exact supplement, said that people swore by them. Since they couldn’t follow a balanced diet, these came in handy.
For around $137.95, you’d get a 30-day supply of various vitamins, minerals, and botanical nutrients. If you’re not ready to completely take the plunge, consider getting a seven-day supply for about $25.97. Onnit offers a Keep-It Money-Back Guarantee, so if you get a trial size and don’t like it, you can get a refund without returning the product.
Best Multivitamin for Women: Ritual Essential for Women Multivitamin 18+
- Traceable ingredients
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Backed by a peer-reviewed study
- Certified B Corporation
- Lacks nutrients often found in other multivitamins
- Requires a subscription
- A few complained of heartburn
It’s not every day that a multivitamin has been peer-reviewed, but the Ritual Essential for Women Multivitamin 18+ has, which is why it’s our top choice for a women’s multivitamin.
The study divulged that women who used their multivitamin supplement had seen increases in vitamin D and omega-3 DHA levels in 12 weeks. (8) While this is certainly promising, there were some study limitations. For one, the participants were young and healthy, so it’s unclear if these vitamins would be helpful to someone with a metabolic condition. In addition, it’s unclear how much physical activity or sunlight exposure participants had, which could’ve altered vitamin D and omega-3 levels. Therefore, keep these things in mind as you assess if this is the best women’s multivitamin for you.
What’s interesting here is that this daily multivitamin does not offer as many essential nutrients as others. Ritual stands by the “less is more” phenomenon. For instance, you’re not going to find copper, selenium, calcium, or vitamin C in this product because 1) they feel you’re probably already getting enough of those nutrients from your diet, and 2) too much of some nutrients can negatively impact another.
According to WomensHealth.gov, the following essential nutrients are important for women’s health: vitamins B9, B12, and D, as well as calcium and iron. The Ritual multivitamin includes four out of five of those but also includes a few other ingredients. But first, let’s clarify why the four vitamins we need and that are included in this formula are important.
Vitamin B9 (folate) is crucial for women, especially if they plan on getting pregnant. The body needs it to make new cells and assist with protein metabolism. Not having enough during pregnancy could result in congenital disabilities. This is why you’ll usually see this ingredient in prenatal multivitamins. It may help with fertility as well. One study even revealed that a high intake of supplemental folic acid (>800 micrograms per day) correlated with increased implantation rates, clinical pregnancy, and live births. (9) This supplement happens to have 1,000 micrograms.
Studies show that adequate levels of vitamin B12 are associated with maintaining pregnancy and ovarian health. (10) Ritual’s multivitamin provides 333 percent of the daily value, so women will get a dosage that’s generous enough to accommodate their nutritional needs.
Then there’s vitamin D, a nutrient needed to help absorb calcium and maintain bone health. (11) As women age, they experience a decrease in estrogen, a hormone that prevents bones from getting weaker. Ritual’s multivitamin can help. In fact, one study found a 23–43% reduction in the risk of a hip fracture in women who used vitamin D3. (12) Another study even discovered that increased vitamin D levels could improve muscle performance. (13)
Our bodies need iron to create hemoglobin, but menstruation, childbirth, and pregnancy can cause an iron deficiency. Such a deficiency can lead to decreased exercise capacity, extreme fatigue, and poor work performance. (14) Thankfully, this multivitamin provides 44 percent of the daily value.
Other nutrients found in this supplement include vitamin E, magnesium, boron, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin K2. A study revealed that vitamin E is highly beneficial to female reproductive health. (15) This essential vitamin is associated with improved endometrial thickness, reduced risk of pregnancy complications and pelvic pain, and a slowed progression of gynecological cancer.
I can’t forget to mention that each ingredient is traceable, meaning you can find the supplier and final place of manufacturing on Ritual’s website. This multivitamin is also USP (United States Pharmacopeia)-Verified. Such a designation lets consumers know that this product was created following the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices and doesn’t include harmful levels of certain contaminants. Their delayed-release capsules are made with their patented beadlet in oil technology, which is said to help with absorbency. There’s also a hint of mint to make taking two pills a day more enjoyable.
Besides the subscription model and the $33 per month price tag, users are generally satisfied with this multivitamin. The Breaking Muscle product testing team enjoys the minty flavor and finds the capsules easy to swallow. They also noted that they didn’t experience any side effects, while other multivitamin tablets cause stomach upset.
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Best Men’s Multivitamin for Testosterone: XWERKS Rise
- Research-backed ingredients
- 30-day refund policy
- May help boost energy
- Potential side effects
- Few customer reviews
- No third-party testing
Looking for a multivitamin that may help boost your testosterone levels? If yes, consider XWERKS Rise. Its unique formula may naturally optimize nutrient and mineral intake so you can become stronger and feel more energized. Admittedly, this one has the most unrecognizable active ingredients compared to other multivitamins on this list. Besides zinc and boron, the rest will leave you wondering, “What in the world is this?” As a result, I’ll explain each ingredient so you can discern if XWERKS Rise will meet your needs.
Before jumping into the supplement facts, let me clarify why testosterone is important. Testosterone is a sex hormone that contributes to muscle size and strength because it stimulates protein synthesis. It gives men masculine characteristics and is especially important if you’re bulking. Therefore, a lack of it could stand in the way of your fitness goals.
Although exercise, particularly resistance training, can boost serum testosterone concentration to some degree, factors like age, stress, poor sleep hygiene, and a higher body weight could inhibit that. (42)(43) In fact, research shows that after age 35, there is often a decline in circulating testosterone concentration. (44) As a result, having a solution like XWERKS Rise could make a difference in muscle optimization.
You’ll see 15 milligrams of zinc on the supplement facts label, which makes up 136 percent of the daily value. A 2022 study revealed a correlation between zinc deficiencies and low testosterone levels. (45) Another study looked at men who received 30 milligrams of zinc daily and found increased testosterone levels in their bodies. (46) Therefore, it’s safe to assume that including this nutrient in XWERKS Rise is one way to promote muscle building.
Tongkat ali powder is an herbal medicinal plant that may increase testosterone levels and lessen symptoms associated with aging changes in males. In a study of 13 physically active men who received the plant, researchers discovered that all participants had increased free testosterone and muscular force. (47)
Shilajit extract, a powder found in the rocks of the Himalayas, is associated with boosting testosterone levels, too. A clinical study showed a significant increase in testosterone in men aged 45 to 55 who received 250 milligrams of Shilajit twice daily. (48)
Even BioPerine, a type of black pepper that may be easier for the body to absorb, impacts testosterone. In a 2018 study, rats were given five to 10 milligrams of BioPerine in Vitro, and their testosterone levels increased as well. (49)
So, does XWERKS Rise work? Well, the research behind its ingredients certainly suggests that it does! But, as with any supplement, it’s no miracle solution. In addition, you should use caution with supplements like this, as increasing your testosterone levels could come with some undesirable side effects, like mood and skin changes.
For around $49, you’ll get a 30-serving container. You’re supposed to take two capsules daily, and XWERKS suggests you pair it with their Ashwa (ashwagandha) gummies.
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Best Multivitamin for Women Over 50: Ritual Essential for Women Multivitamin 50+
- Traceable ingredients
- Certified B Corporation
- Third-party tested
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Requires subscription
- Fishy aftertaste
For women over 50, it’s important to get a good helping of calcium, potassium, omega-3 fats, and vitamins B12 and D. After menopause, women require more calcium and vitamin D to combat osteoporosis and prevent fractures. (26)
As we age, it also becomes more difficult for our bodies to absorb vitamin B12. (27) Research on omega-3 fatty acids even shows that those who consume this nutrient may have less cognitive decline. In addition, a 2021 study showed evidence that fish oil improves heart health. (28) Therefore, finding a multivitamin that includes at least some of these essential nutrients that support healthy aging is critical. The Ritual Essential for Women Multivitamin 50+ checks some of those boxes.
Like the other Ritual multivitamins on this list, this one also includes traceable ingredients and a delayed-release capsule design with a mint flavor. It has no artificial colorants or GMOs and is free of major allergens and gluten. What’s different, though, is that there are more of the vitamins E, B12, and K, as well as high-quality magnesium.
Some research found that women over 65 taking vitamin E had a 26 percent decrease in nonfatal heart attacks and a 49 percent decrease in cardiovascular death rates. In addition, vitamin K may have a protective effect against age-related conditions like osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease. (29) Also, growing older is associated with a change in magnesium metabolism, and deficits in this mineral are connected with sleep disorders, muscular diseases, psychiatric conditions, and bone fragility. (30) So, including more of those nutrients in this formulation is a good idea.
While it’s missing calcium, your current diet likely already satisfies this nutrient need. Calcium is found in many food sources, like yogurt, kale, spinach, tofu, and even almond milk. This multivitamin includes calcium-helper nutrients, though, like boron, D3, K2, and magnesium. You’ll also notice that iron isn’t included in their formulation, and there’s a good reason for that. The need for iron decreases following menopause; thus, extra iron isn’t recommended for older women. In addition, it could cause GI side effects, like heartburn, cramps, and nausea.
The stomach acid-resistant vegan capsule does help with absorption, but the form of some of these ingredients plays a role, too. For example, Ritual uses chelated magnesium, which may be more easily absorbed by the body.
For $39.00, you’re getting a 30-day supply of a well-formulated multivitamin that aids in supporting the health of older adults. Each batch is tested in-house, and third-party testing is occasionally done as well for good measure. However, do note that this is a subscription, so once you purchase one, you’ll automatically be sent another one a month later. If you want to change or cancel your subscription, you can do so from your account page on the Ritual website.
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Best Women’s Multivitamin Gummy: Olly Women’s Multivitamin Gummy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Certified B Corporation
- Available in most retailers
- Third-party testing
- May arrive melted
- Unpleasant scent
- Only available in one flavor
Whether I’m looking for gummy vitamins at Target or Amazon, one women’s multivitamin supplement I know I will see on the shelves is Olly. It’s practically everywhere! Plus, its affordable price is attractive to ladies on a budget.
Olly is void of artificial flavors and colors. It provides 18 essential nutrients, including all eight B vitamins. The other women’s multivitamins on this list are missing all of them except B9 and B12, so it’s nice to see them here. Although B1 (thiamin) deficiencies are rare, pregnant and breastfeeding women need more of it. The same goes for vitamin B2. Vegans, vegetarians, and pregnant women are at greater risk of deficiency, so a little boost could go a long way.
By taking this multivitamin, you’ll be able to satisfy 100 percent of the daily value for vitamins D, E, B5, B6, B9, and iodine. In women of reproductive age, iodine deficiency is becoming more common. (40) It can lead to fertility issues, an enlarged thyroid gland, thinning hair, and impaired mental function.
There are also nutrients that more than exceed the recommended daily value, such as vitamin B12 and biotin. Biotin assists with breaking down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in food. However, it’s also popular in the beauty industry, as it’s claimed to help with brittle and thinning hair. (41) This multivitamin has 150 micrograms of biotin, which makes up 500 percent of the daily value. While that might seem like way too much, it’s still considered safe. B12 and biotin are water-soluble, so taking high doses is still safe since you’ll just end up urinating what your body doesn’t need.
As previously mentioned, this multivitamin is NSF Certified, meaning NSF International conducts random onsite inspections of products and manufacturing facilities to ensure they meet specific standards. They review supplement labels to ensure what’s stated is actually in the bottle, conduct a contamination review, and complete a toxicology review to verify product formulation. Since the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t assess and approve dietary supplements before they hit the market, it’s always nice when a company goes through this extra third-party testing.
The majority of consumers love these berry-flavored gummies but aren’t a fan of the smell. A member of the Breaking Muscle team even says they taste pretty good but smell kind of odd. She also mentions that they have a weird aftertaste. Also, these wouldn’t be suitable for those following a vegetarian or plant-based diet. Gelatin is one of their ingredients, and it’s made from animal collagen.
Overall, for about $13.99, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Olly gummies are easy to take, offer several essential nutrients, and come from a Certified B Corporation. Companies with that designation must meet certain environmental and social performance standards.
Best Multivitamin for Kids: Nature Made’s Kids First® Multivitamin + Omega-3 Gummies
- Easy to take
- Contains added sugars
- Not vegetarian or vegan-friendly
We all know that good nutrition is necessary for proper child development, but getting kids to eat nutritious food isn’t always easy. They either don’t like the taste or the texture. Or maybe they’re not picky at all, but you just want to make sure they’re getting what they need. Whatever the case, a great multivitamin for kids, like Nature Made’s Kids First® Multivitamin + Omega-3 Gummies, is a practical solution.
Nutritional deficiencies among children aren’t as likely in the United States, but one of the most common deficiencies is vitamin D. (50) Nature Made Kids First Multivitamin contains 25 micrograms of vitamin D. This makes up 125 percent of the daily value for children over four years old, which is plenty. Kids need this important nutrient to build strong bones and teeth.
Children need a good supply of B vitamins too, as those assist with energy production, metabolism, and more. (51) While not all of them are included here, four of them are: B3, B6, B9, and B12. A 2016 study established that vitamin B12 plays a significant role in child growth and brain development. (52) Fortunately, three micrograms of that is provided in this formula (equal to 125 percent of the daily value).
Some of the other vitamins and minerals you’ll find here are vitamins A, C, E, and zinc. Vitamin A helps with vision and cell growth, vitamin C and zinc are necessary for combatting infections, and vitamin E assists with neurodevelopment in children. (53)(54)
One other key ingredient in this formula is omega-3 fatty acids (113.5 milligrams). A 2020 study found that omega-3 supplementation during childhood may reduce the risk of allergic diseases, like asthma and eczema. (55) This is huge, as asthma is the leading chronic disease in children and could result in quality of life and study performance issues. (56)
This Nature Made kids multivitamin is free of artificial flavors and sweeteners, synthetic dyes, gluten, and high fructose corn syrup. It does have two grams of added sugar, though. One consumer commented that the sugar coating leaves a bad aftertaste and leaves her kiddos with sticky fingers.
For $17.59, you’ll get 70 gummies, which should last a little over a month or two, but how long they last really depends on the child’s age. It’s suggested that children between four and 13 take one a day, while those aged 14 to 18 should take two daily. Before you buy, understand that this product contains gelatin, so it’s not the best choice for vegans or vegetarians. Nonetheless, most kids find them tasty, and the gummies are USP-verified.
What Are the Benefits of Taking a Multivitamin?
Many people take multivitamins these days, but what is the benefit of doing so? I’ll share two major reasons below.
Potential Health Benefits
During different stages of our lives, our bodies need more of certain vitamins and minerals. The multivitamins for men and women over 50 often include more vitamin B12, while those for women of childbearing age contain more folic acid. Taking certain medications or having malabsorption conditions could change or prevent how your body digests and absorbs nutrients.
Imagine you have a cold. What do you reach for besides medicine? It’s probably vitamin C, which may boost your immune system.
Another example is if you notice problems with your hair and/or skin. It’s not uncommon to seek nutrients like vitamin E and/or biotin.
Multivitamins help busy folks fill their nutritional gaps. Many of us are on the go and simply can’t make multiple balanced meals daily. Instead of going without your body’s nutrients, you could just take a capsule or gummy.
When Is the Best Time to Take a Multivitamin?
Most of the time, it’s best to take your multivitamin in the morning with food. However, double-check the instructions on the container to be sure. Some products, like the nighttime packet that comes with Onnit’s Total Human multivitamin, are meant to be taken before bed.
What To Consider When Buying a Multivitamin
I’ve purchased A LOT of multivitamins over the years, and honestly, I based my purchasing decisions on brand popularity and cost. Now that I’m more intentional about things like this, I pay attention to so much more than that. Unfortunately, many of those multivitamins ended up sitting in my medicine cabinet far past the expiration date, and I don’t want the same thing to happen to you. Therefore, here’s what you’ll want to consider when buying a multivitamin.
Once upon a time, I followed a plant-based diet, and I can remember how tired I used to feel. After researching, I realized that I was more than likely nutrient deficient and decided to add a multivitamin to fill in the gaps. I eventually started to feel better.
Today, I’m back consuming some meats, but because I live in a cold state where I tend to hibernate for four to six months, I occasionally lack vitamin D. As a result, my doctor urges me to take a vitamin D3 supplement.
I’m sharing all that to clarify that you should pick multivitamins based on your individual needs. We all consume different foods and reside in different areas, so get nutrients you might not get from your diet or environment.
When selecting a multivitamin, pay attention to the dosage of each ingredient. Also, take a look at the serving size to learn how much you’d need to take to get the dosage on the bottle. Some will say you must take two pills, while others might say eight. Taking less than the stated serving size may mean you don’t get the full effect, but taking more could be harmful. For example, consuming an excessive amount of magnesium could lead to difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, and/or an irregular heartbeat.
Percent Daily Values
In addition to the dosage, look at the Percent Daily Values (% DV). This tells us how much a nutrient in a serving contributes to an individual on a 2,000-calorie diet. To give you some perspective, the Ritual Essential for Women Multivitamin 18+ provides 45 percent of the daily value of vitamin E, so you’d need to get the rest from somewhere else. However, it also contains 250 percent of the daily value for folate, which should more than satisfy your need for this nutrient.
Ultimately, it all depends on your individual needs. Those with malabsorption issues may require more of certain nutrients to maintain good health. It’s best to check in with your physician and/or a registered dietitian to be sure.
Pre-Existing Health Conditions
Those with pre-existing conditions should avoid some vitamins and minerals. This is mainly because the prescription medications you take for your condition may not interact well with them. Fish oil, for instance, may increase the risk of bleeding, which isn’t good if you’re on a medication that reduces blood clotting.
Potential Interactions With Other Medications
Before taking a new multivitamin supplement, ensure it won’t negatively interfere with your medications. For instance, curcumin, a substance in turmeric, may change how your body interacts with antihistamines, antidepressants, antibiotics, and more. (57)
You might’ve also noticed that most multivitamins only have a small dose of potassium. A large dosage of this nutrient is banned because many people take potassium channel blockers, a type of blood pressure medication. These can actually raise your potassium levels and even lead to cardiac arrest. Therefore, they simply limit how much supplements can contain to prevent a drug-nutrient interaction.
If you’re unsure if you should be taking certain nutrients along with your medications, call your pharmacist and/or doctor. It’s always better to be safe!
On this best multivitamins list, you probably noticed that many options came in capsule form. However, we included some soft gels and gummies, too. Always pay attention to the form and be honest with yourself about which form you prefer. If you know you hate capsules, you should probably look to soft gels and/or gummies. If you don’t like pills at all, gummies are ultimately a better alternative.
However, keep in mind that gummies tend to have added sugar and extra ingredients. Take a look at the Olly Women’s Multi, for example. It has two grams of added sugar and over 10 “other ingredients.”
Certifications and Third-Party Testing
Many people are shocked by this, but the FDA doesn’t review dietary supplements before they become available for purchase. As a result, companies can sell multivitamins without verifying if they’re safe or effective. This is precisely why third-party testing and certifications are so important. They show that the company took the extra step to verify if their product is safe.
Brands like Transparent Labs and Ritual have batches tested for contaminants and/or banned substances. For consumers, this provides extra peace of mind. After all, no one wants to take a multivitamin to potentially improve their health just to find mercury and lead in it.
Certifications, like the one from the Non-GMO Project, ensure that companies follow guidelines and standards that limit the risk of genetically modified organisms. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that many multivitamins say “non-GMO,” but they don’t have the Non-GMO Project Verified seal.
Ultimately, a product not being certified doesn’t mean it’s harmful or unsafe, but you do want to take precautions. If you’d prefer multivitamins that are third-party tested, look for Informed Choice/Sport, USP-Verified, NSF, and/or USDA Organic marks on the container.
I, and so many others on the Breaking Muscle team, have tried multivitamins that we eventually abandoned because they didn’t give us the results we hoped for. We don’t want you to have that same experience. As a result, we put this round-up together to help you make an informed decision and not waste your hard-earned money. After all, many of these options aren’t cheap!
Be sure to check with your doctor before taking a new multivitamin. While they are generally safe, ensuring they are specifically safe for you is best.
Best Multivitamin: Side-by-Side Comparison
Best Multivitamin Overall
Best Multivitamin for Women
Best Multivitamin for Men
Best Multivitamin for Women Over 50
Best Multivitamin for Men Over 50
Best Women’s Multivitamin Gummy
Best Men’s Multivitamin for Testosterone
The brand of a multivitamin isn’t everything, as less popular ones could still be good. However, brands do set an expectation. For example, if you want transparent labels and scientifically backed ingredients, Transparent Labs shines in this regard. If you desire traceable ingredients and extensive testing, Ritual is an excellent choice. Want products sold by a Certified B Corporation? Check out Olly.
Ultimately, which brand you go with depends on your lifestyle and values. There’s something on our list that’ll cater to practically everyone.
In general, the potential benefits associated with taking a multivitamin daily are greater than the potential risks. However, it’s best to check with your doctor first.
There are 13 essential vitamins that play a role in how your body grows and functions. Those vitamins are vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins.
Each brand follows different values, so choose the one that aligns with you. In the grand scheme of things, though, it doesn’t matter.
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