When it comes to taking a multivitamin, most people don't realize there are some differences from brand to brand. Some have more iron or vitamin C, for example, than others; and some brands have animal-based vitamins while others use plant-based ones. Because of this, choosing the right one can be tricky if you don't know what you're looking for. To help sort through all the different multivitamins on the market and decide which one is best, here's the ultimate guide to choosing the best multivitamin for you.
What’s the difference between a Multivitamin and a Supplement?
There are many variations of this question. The most common: "Is there a difference between a multivitamin and a vitamin supplement?" The answer is yes, but it’s not as simple as you might think. As with most nutrition-related questions, the answer all comes down to the specific vitamin and mineral you’re referring to. A multivitamin is a supplement that contains many different nutrients. A vitamin supplement, on the other hand, is simply a specific vitamin that you might need more of (like vitamin D or iron). Vitamin supplements can also be called “single-nutrient supplements.” In general, a multivitamin will cover all your bases, while a single-nutrient supplement will provide only that nutrient so you can “fill in the gaps” with a multivitamin.
How to pick the right Vitamins and Supplements for you
The first step to choosing a multivitamin is figuring out what your needs are. There are many different brands of multivitamins available on the market and it can be difficult to choose the best one for you. To make things easier, here are the most important factors you should look for:
If you’re over 50, you may want to find a multivitamin that’s higher in certain nutrients, such as vitamin D and B vitamins.
There are differences between the needs of men and women, so make sure you’re picking a multivitamin that suits your gender. For example, women over 50 should look for a multivitamin with iron because they will probably be deficient in that mineral.
- Health conditions
People with certain health conditions (like diabetes or heart disease) will need to find a multivitamin that’s high in certain nutrients. This is particularly important if you’re on certain medications, which can deplete your body of certain nutrients. For example, some antidepressants can deplete your B vitamins and vitamin C.
If you’d like to improve your energy or focus, find a multivitamin that has a healthy dose of B vitamins. If you’re trying to shed pounds, find a multivitamin with less sugar and sodium and more fiber.
It is worth noting that multivitamins can vary in price from as low as $10 to as high as $100, so it would be good to know what you’re paying for given that it’s about your health which is priceless.
- Other lifestyle factors
If you eat vegan, you might want to look for a vegan multivitamin. On the other hand, if you have a high-salt diet or eat processed foods often, then you'll need to take an extra multivitamin with added vitamins and minerals.
Brands We Like
Thorne Research has been making high-quality supplements for over 50 years. Their multivitamins are made without synthetic ingredients, gluten, lactose, or GMOs.
Kirkman is the leading manufacturer of nutritional supplements for individuals with special sensitives and dietary requirements.
Klaire Labs have been investing in scientific research and innovation that has allowed us to develop a unique line of products for the past 50 years.
Pure Encapsulations sources high-quality ingredients from the best suppliers, conducts research and clinical trials to confirm efficacy and safety, and undergoes additional third-party laboratory testing to ensure product purity and potency.
The Bottom Line
A multivitamin contains a variety of nutrients. They are very beneficial to have when you don’t get enough nutrients from foods. A lot of people believe that taking multivitamins can help them stay healthy and protect them from diseases. Now you know they won't prevent disease or keep you healthy. It does not mean that you should stop taking them, though. You can simply choose a multivitamin brand that is made from whole foods and based on your unique needs.
The most effective multivitamins for you will depend on what you need them for. If you want to protect against disease, choose one with antioxidants and vitamins A, C, D, and E. To lose weight, choose one with fiber, B vitamins, and C, D, and E. To boost your energy, choose one that contains zinc, magnesium, and zinc ions. Or if you want to feel more energized throughout the day, take a multivitamin that includes extra B vitamins, vitamin C, and B6.
When choosing the right multivitamin, you need to do your research. Be sure to read the label of the vitamins you're interested in, and make sure to take note of the claims and side effects. If you have any health concerns, talk to your doctor before starting a multivitamin. In some cases, you may also need to visit your doctor to determine if you're indeed deficient. I know it's not easy, there are a lot of things to do and a lot of factors to consider but once you know what you're looking for, it's easy to find the right multivitamin for you and your needs.