The Best Multivitamins
The Best Multivitamins
If you grew up popping Flintstones vitamins like most of us did, you might think that of course it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin every day. That’s just what healthy people do, right? Kind of. “You really cannot supplement your way out of an unhealthy diet,” says Robin Foroutan, a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you’re eating a diet that includes grains, lots of leafy vegetables, a wide variety of brightly colored fruit, and lean meats, you probably don’t need to take a multivitamin at all.
MegaFood Women’s One Daily — Best for Women
The nutrients in these multivitamins are sourced from real foods — which also ups their price tag. In an industry filled with misdirection and misinformation, MegaFood is a beacon of transparency. Its supplements are certified as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) with NSF International, which assures “the product produced has the identity, strength, composition, quality, and purity that it is represented to possess,” and MegaFood adheres to ISO 9001 standards, meaning its labs comply with the highest standards of quality assurance and testing.
MegaFood Multi for Men — Best for Men
In an industry filled with misdirection and misinformation, MegaFood is a beacon of transparency. Its supplements are certified as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) with NSF International, which assures “the product produced has the identity, strength, composition, quality, and purity that it is represented to possess,” and MegaFood adheres to ISO 9001 standards, meaning its labs comply with the highest standards of quality assurance and testing. Across both formulas, MegaFood boasts a nice balance of ingredients. Of the 27 nutrients the body needs, Multi for Men is purposefully missing iron, calcium, and magnesium — and while it does contain potassium, it has only a negligible amount. Women’s One Daily contains all 27, although it also contains barely any potassium.
Kirkland Signature Daily Multi — Best Value
A great roster of nutrients, third-party certifications, and only 2 cents per serving. If you’re just looking for a non-gendered, adult multivitamin, you can’t get a much better bargain than the synthetic Kirkland Signature Daily Multi from Costco. It contains all 27 wishlist nutrients, though it only has 80 milligrams of potassium — about 2 percent of the recommended daily value. Unlike MegaFood, the nutrients in these multivitamins are synthetic, meaning they’re created in a lab instead of extracted from a carrot or a head of broccoli. (This may make some people squeamish, but there’s no evidence that synthetics are better or worse than naturally sourced vitamins.)
Rainbow Light Kids One MultiStars Food-Based Multivitamin — Best for Kids
A food-based, child-friendly formula from a well-regarded brand. It contains kid-friendly doses of a wide range of necessary nutrients — even potassium, important for children and adults, but absent in many formulas — and it’s free of fillers and artificial dyes. It does include sweeteners (in the form of sucrose and dextrose), but this comes with the territory: We couldn’t find a single children’s multivitamin that didn’t contain sweeteners of some sort. And if you want your child to willingly eat their multivitamin, that’s probably just as well. The tablets themselves are crunchy and star-shaped, with a surprisingly tasty “fruit punch” flavor that comes from natural orange, cherry, and pineapple flavor.
Kirkland Signature™ Adults 50+ Mature Multi — Best for Seniors
Adults age 50 and older have slightly different nutritional needs than those in the 18-49 age bracket. Seniors tend to absorb less B12 as they age, with the Mayo Clinic recommending supplementation to maintain healthy B12 levels. Seniors also typically require higher doses of vitamin D to maintain bone health. Multivitamins designed for older adults can help cover these needs.
How We Found the Best Multivitamin: First, we ditched anything with a “proprietary blend.”The FDA does require that manufacturers disclose all supplement ingredients and detail the amounts per serving — unless it’s classified as a “proprietary blend.” In that case, the manufacturer doesn’t have to disclose anything besides a list of ingredients and the total amount in the bottle. Then, we cut products that didn’t have credible third-party verification. Then we drilled down on inactive ingredients. “Inactive ingredients” is a blanket term for everything included in the pill that isn’t adding nutritional value. Typically, a short list of inactive ingredients is a good sign of quality. Lastly, we examined labels for a good blend of nutrients.
With vitamins, more isn’t necessarily better.
Perhaps more important than scouring daily recommended values is keeping an eye on recommended upper limits. ConsumerLabs has a detailed chart that compares recommended daily values with upper limits, but in general, it’s not a good idea to consume excessive doses of any one vitamin or nutrient.
Upper limits for any vitamin vary widely: over twice the recommended amount of Vitamin A is dangerous, but you can have up to 26 times the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C without experiencing any ill effects.
Price said her research shows a multivitamin probably won’t contain a dangerous amount of vitamins or minerals on its own — and none of our top picks exceed recommended upper limits for any ingredient. But she said taking a multivitamin while supplementing with other vitamins or while consuming fortified foods or beverages could lead to a “superdose” — a vitamin dosage so far over the recommended amount it can lead to problems.
For kids, superdoses can be fatal. Warnings to keep multivitamins containing iron out of children’s reach are there for a reason: Accidental iron consumption is a leading cause of poisoning deaths in children younger than 6. Gummy vitamins can be especially dangerous for kids, since they resemble candy or fruit snacks.
And remember: Most people probably don't need a multivitamin at all.
In our research for the best multivitamin, we kept running into the same question: Do most Americans even need to take a multivitamin?
When we called Dr. Edgar Miller, a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he told us he doesn’t recommend that his patients take multivitamins, since several studies have indicated they might do more harm than good: Research has shown high doses of vitamin A seemed to increase the risk of lung cancer, and another study of vitamin E’s effect on prostate cancer was called off after those taking the supplements showed higher cancer rates.
Overall, multivitamins are not a necessary part of your diet, but they are beneficial if you are lacking vitamins from your meal intake! Learn more here: http://www.reviews.com/best-multivitamin/
This review originally appeared on Reviews.com The best of everything.