Which popular multivitamins are best for metabolic health?

Along with a healthy diet, multivitamins can help ensure you get the nutrients your body needs for optimal health. Here's how to find one.

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Ideally, you’d get all the necessary vitamins and minerals for optimal metabolic health and cellular functioning through a wholesome diet. But in the real world, that’s unlikely to happen. Factors such as declining soil quality mean our food is less nutrient-dense than it used to be, and some people’s bodies can’t properly absorb some nutrients from food.

That’s where supplements can help. If you’re deficient in one or two key areas, you can take individual vitamins or minerals in pill form. On the other hand, if you could benefit from supplementing with several nutrients, a multivitamin or multimineral is your best bet.

Keep in mind that no single pill can meet all your metabolic needs. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Some nutrients, such as magnesium and choline, are “bulkier,” explains dietitian Stephanie Greunke. So, if a company wants to provide a higher dosage of those nutrients, it may need to package its formula into more than one pill.
  • Then there’s nutrient competition. “Nutrients like iron and calcium should be taken separately, as calcium can inhibit iron absorption,” Greunke says.
  • Lastly, some nutrients are best taken alone. For example, “omega-3 fatty acids are highly prone to oxidation when exposed to light, oxygen, and heat,” Greunke explains. “Additionally, to keep costs down, manufacturers may not choose optimal dosages, the highest-quality form of omega-3 oil, or only include one essential fatty acid (EPA or DHA), not both.”

Multivitamins and multiminerals also range in price depending on the exact ingredients, amount of those nutrients, and form (tablets are often cheaper to make than capsules). But more expensive doesn’t necessarily equal more beneficial.

That said, some good choices can streamline your supplement regimen. This guide will help you narrow down which supplements to try. We discuss what to look for when evaluating products and some top options to consider.

How to Shop for Multivitamins

There are many multivitamins on the market, with options targeted at specific audiences, such as people 50 and older, a specific life stage like pregnancy, kids, a particular gender, active people, or those looking to support their immune systems. Use these guidelines to sort through the noise and find a supplement that supports metabolic health.

1. Check the ingredients and nutrition facts

By nature, most multivitamins contain a slew of nutrients. Some provide vitamins and minerals at around 100% of the daily recommended intake. Others are a source of only a few nutrients at levels exceeding the recommended intakes. “One-a-day vitamins and gummy vitamins tend to have fewer nutrients and lower dosages of nutrients,” Greunke says. This is partly to save costs and make it convenient for the consumer. Some nutrients, such as magnesium and choline, are bulky and require manufacturers to use more capsules.”

The majority of people don’t need to supplement everything. Instead, seek a pill that provides most (or all) of the following key nutrients for metabolic health:

At the same time, calcium, fiber, and probiotics are typically best obtained through diet rather than supplements.

  • Our bodies absorb dietary sources of calcium better, and taking excessive amounts of calcium supplements may cause plaque to build up in the arteries. If you require supplemental calcium, it’s best to take it in smaller doses (500 milligrams (mg) or less) and take it away from iron-rich foods and supplements.
  • Many fiber supplements contain added sugars and artificial flavors. If you need to supplement your diet with more fiber, consider whole-food options like chia seeds and flaxseed or single-ingredient powders like acacia fiber.
  • Research still hasn’t ascertained which probiotics and dosages are best for all health benefits. If you’re looking to support gut health, consider starting with a variety of fermented foods.

Similarly, most multis provide (a lot) more than the list above. That’s OK; just be sure you’re not taking any other supplements that could lead to too much of any one nutrient. In some cases, such as B vitamins, your body will excrete the excess. But in other cases, more isn’t better and can lead to short- and long-term harm. Take zinc: In the immediate, excess zinc can cause nausea, headaches, and loss of appetite. And in the long run, it can hamper your immune system and reduce “good” HDL cholesterol.

2. Consult your healthcare provider

While the list above is a good starting point, everyone has individual needs. Before buying anything, discuss your diet, lifestyle, current medications, and health concerns with your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can advise what supplements may be most appropriate for you and may also recommend a blood test to check for deficiency in any essential nutrients.

Remember that certain medications and supplements can interact with some vitamins and minerals. If you currently take anything, never add a supplement without checking with a healthcare provider or pharmacist first to be sure it’s safe.

3. Look for third-party testing

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate vitamins and supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. That means product labels may not accurately list what a product contains or how much of each ingredient the product provides.

Your best bet: Purchase supplements tested by NSF International (NSF) or United States Pharmacopeia (USP) so you know what you’re getting. These certifications indicate the product:

  • Contains only the things recorded in the ingredients list
  • Contains those ingredients at the dosages listed on the label
  • Don’t contain harmful levels of contaminants, such as heavy metals

Or consider purchasing from an established, well-rated brand or store that offers third-party testing on all or some of their products. Some of these include:

4. Skip gummies

Trendy gummy vitamins most often contain unnecessary added sugars. If possible, choose supplements you swallow.

A Review of Popular Multivitamins: Which Are Best for Metabolic Health?

The following multivitamins provide most of the critical nutrients that support metabolic health. This list also includes a few options that aren’t ideal but are popular, so we wanted to share our take on them.

Overall, each multivitamin has different pros and cons when determining your best option.

Needed Women’s Multi

Formulated for women’s health, this option offers 23 nutrients to fill nutrient gaps and support metabolic health. This third-party tested and Clean Label Project-certified supplement contains B vitamins, vitamin C, selenium, zinc, and magnesium but leaves off CoQ10 and omega 3. It contains 200 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, which is an amount that may support thyroid and metabolic health. The nutrients are in optimal forms, such as chelated minerals and methylated B vitamins.

Price: $36 for a 30-day supply

Ritual Essential for Women 18+

Formulated for women ages 18 to 49, this USP-verified supplement contains nine nutrients. It includes more than the total daily value (DV) for vitamin D, folate, and B12. While it contains 330 mg of omega 3, it only includes DHA. Additionally, it contains iron, which, while beneficial for some, not every woman needs. Still, this multivitamin is missing a lot: other B vitamins, alpha-lipoic acid, curcumin, selenium, zinc, vitamin C, and CoQ10. It’s also light on magnesium, which plays a role in how the body produces and uses energy.

Price: $33 for a 30-day supply

Nature Made Women’s Multivitamin Tablet and Men’s Multivitamin Tablet

Both versions of this multi are USP verified and inexpensive. You’ll get at least 100 percent of the daily recommendations for daily B vitamins, D, C, selenium, and zinc, but you need other sources of magnesium, ALA, curcumin, omega 3, and CoQ10. Additionally, it uses less bioavailable forms of nutrients and contains a slew of fillers.

Price: $13.59 for a 90-day supply

Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. Multivitamin

This is one of the few multivitamins that provides alpha lipoic acid (50 mg) and coenzyme Q10 (50 mg), in addition to B, vitamins C, D, selenium, and zinc. At specific doses, both ALA and CoQ10 assist with energy production and reduce the damage caused by free radicals. This supplement is also NSF-certified.

Price: $86 for a 120-day supply

Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/Day

Two of these pills a day contain the total daily value of B vitamins, C, D, zinc, and selenium needs. However, it only provides 5 percent of the DV for magnesium, so you may need a separate supplement for that. The pills are NSf-certified for Sport, so you don’t need to worry about any contaminants or substances banned by athletic organizations plus the pills contain what the label says.

Price: $38 for a 60-day supply

Integrative Therapeutics Clinical Nutrients HP

This NSF-certified multi contains the brand’s Theracurmin, which it claims is more bioavailable than other curcumin extracts. At clinically studied doses, this antioxidant-rich compound fights inflammation and may help control blood sugar. The supplement also provides 20 percent of the daily recommended magnesium plus 100 percent of the DV of C, D, B vitamins, zinc, and selenium.

Price: $28.50 for a 30-day supply

Needed’s Men’s Fertility Support Plan

Getting all your metabolic health needs in one pill or supplement is nearly impossible. While this plan is labeled as “fertility support,” it’s equally effective for all men. It includes a multivitamin with 25 nutrients in optimal forms, including B vitamins, zinc, selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin C. Optimally dosed forms of CoQ10 and omega 3 are also included in the plan. The price point and the number of capsules is higher than others due to the amount of nutrients provided. Needed third-party tests all products and has Clean Label Project (CLP) certification.

Price: $157 for a 30-day supply

One A Day Men’s Complete Multivitamin

While this popular multi doesn’t contain ALA, curcumin, omega 3, or CoQ10, it does provide at least 100 percent of the DV of B vitamins, C, D, selenium, and zinc, plus 29 percent of the recommended magnesium. One A Day claims to do “100+ rigorous quality checks” but doesn’t specify any third-party testing.

Price: $13.86 for a 60-day supply

Mindbodygreen Ultimate Multivitamin+

Another expensive option, this supplement contains more than 100 percent of the DV for C, D, B vitamins, zinc, and selenium, plus 10 percent of the DV for magnesium. At the same time, it provides a lot of “extra” ingredients, such as resveratrol and lutein, that have antioxidant properties but aren’t essential for metabolic health.

Price: $59 for a 30-day supply

AG1

If you tend to gag on large pills, AG1 might be a good option. Simply mix this powder with eight ounces of water and sip down your nutrients. The supplement provides more than a day’s worth of vitamin C and most B vitamins, which, in clinically studied amounts, all play a role in metabolism. However, it doesn’t provide omega 3, CoQ10, curcumin, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin D, or iron, and it costs almost 20 times as much as the cheapest supplement on this list. Also, be warned that several users report that the mixture is prone to clumping—you might have better luck using a shaker cup rather than stirring with a spoon.

Price: $79* for a 30-day supply

 

*The prices in this article reflect those listed by the retailer at the time of publication. Prices and local store availability may vary.

Levels is not affiliated with or sponsored by any supplement brand mentioned here or elsewhere. Reviewer Stephanie Greunke works with Needed, but neither she nor Levels earn revenue if you buy through any of these links.

 



Learn how vitamins impact your metabolic health

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