While a balanced diet is the best source of all the nutrients you need for good health, there are times when you may need multivitamin tablets. It may be that you simply want to ensure you are filling any potential nutrient gaps. Or you could be looking for an extra multi-vit boost to support a specific health or wellbeing need, life stage or lifestyle activity.
Choosing the right multivitamin product will ensure you get the best nutritional support for your specific needs. Whether you’ve opted for capsules, tablets, or chewable gummies, we look at the top five signs that show you have chosen the right multivitamin.
When it comes to choosing a multivitamin, consumer safety is paramount so always check the product’s label or brand website for clear evidence of quality and ingredient safety verification. While most companies will provide evidence of their own thorough in-house quality assurance, it is important that the multivitamin you choose has also had third-party verification. For products from the USA, this should be from the US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). In the UK, look for approval from the Food Standards Agency.
Ingredients have appropriate daily values
The right multivitamin will contain 100% of the recommended dietary value (RDA) for most of its ingredients. This will ensure you are getting sufficient levels of the key vitamins you need for good health.
However, there are some exceptions as certain vitamins and minerals cannot be included at 100% otherwise the tablet would be too large to take. And magnesium and potassium are deliberately kept low as these can interact with medication. Another important point to note is that you should not exceed 100% RDA of certain nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E, and K, as they can become toxic if they are allowed to build up in the body.
It’s the right balance for your age, sex, and specific requirements
While general multivitamins are widely available, you can ensure you are getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals by matching a product to your age, sex and any specific health or lifestyle requirements you want to support. Women of menstruating age may need more iron while post-menopausal women and the elderly need more calcium, vitamin D and B6.
Contains all the essential micronutrients
As well as specific levels of vitamins and minerals key to your activity levels, health needs or life stage, all good multivitamins will also contain the essential micronutrients that are conducive to good, all-round health and vitality.
You know you have the right multivitamin if the labelling shows that they also contain the following:
- Essential vitamins: A (including beta carotene), C, D, E, and K and the B vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, and folate
- Essential minerals: Magnesium, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, copper, potassium, manganese, iodine and chromium
Each nutrient will have its own RDA, and a good quality multivitamin will provide a substantial portion, if not all, of the recommended allowance. In some products, the RDA may be more than 100% for certain nutrients if it is aimed at a specific consumer (eg, women or athletes) or where a nutrient is prone to being deficient. If you are in any doubt, discuss the level of vitamins or minerals you may need with your doctor.
The nutrients you need
A good multivitamin is not meant to be a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet, but is intended to support your daily nutritional intake. And a multivitamin can only provide a limited amount of certain nutrients such as potassium or fibre, so it is essential that your diet also contains a variety of foods that are rich in all the essential nutrients you need.