How to Pick the Best Multivitamin

You’ve made the decision to purchase a multivitamin and now you’re strolling down the supplement aisle, perusing the shelves for the right one. Who knew there were so many choices? So many letters, so many colors, so many promises and claims—each product vying for a spot in your cart. The supplement world feels a little like the Wild West.

To make it even more confusing, the FDA doesn’t approve supplements like they do prescription medications. This means products may or may not contain what the label states; you could be getting more (or less) of a particular nutrient than what you believe you’re getting. Also, claims can be overstated and some supplements can interact with medications or cause side effects. That said, while supplements may be available over the counter, you should always check with your doctor before using one.

I’m a fan of multis, especially for certain groups of people, including those who:

  • Eat erratically or are trying to lose weight. As people cut calories, they take in fewer nutrients.
  • Follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. People with these dietary lifestyles may be missing out on certain nutrients, like vitamin B12.
  • Have certain medical conditions that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, including people with celiac and ulcerative colitis.
  • Take certain medications that can interfere with nutrient absorption or the body’s stores of minerals.
  • Are 50-plus years of age. As people age, nutrient needs change. For instance, post-menopausal women need more calcium and vitamin D because they don’t absorb it as well. Older folks may not be able to absorb vitamin B12 as well as younger adults.
  • Eat a generally healthful diet but are looking to fill in any nutrient gaps. Peace of mind is powerful. Plus, it’s a good time for nutrient assurance in light of the declining quality of soil. Modern farming practices have eroded soil quality, leading to a lack of essential trace minerals and other nutrients that used to be present in food.

If you fall into any of these groups, check with your doctor on whether they would recommend a daily multi. Ideally, you want to look for one that offers 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of most nutrients (some, like calcium, can’t be included because the pill would become too bulky; while others like magnesium are left out because they can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients).

We take Solaray Liposomal Multivitamins in my house for a variety of reasons. For one, they contain a potent mix of 30 different nutrients, with 18 or more vitamins and minerals that are at 100 percent of the DV. Solaray uses liposomal technology, a fancy term that essentially means they wrap the nutrients in small fat bubbles, ensuring vitamins and minerals pass through the body (including the stomach) intact to your small intestines, where they can be properly absorbed by cells.* This feature is really important, as the research shows our bodies may absorb only a portion of the nutrients found in food and traditional multis. This also minimizes stomach upset and gastrointestinal discomfort. Finally, I trust Solaray because the brand is reputable and transparent, and its products undergo rigorous testing.

Of course, as a registered dietitian, food is always going to be my number one, but even the healthiest of diets can have gaps. A multivitamin can be like a nutrition insurance policy. Ask your doctor if a multivitamin is right for you.    

If yes, try risk-free for 60 days with code GETMORE20 for 20% off at my unique link.    

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.