Multivitamins 101 – Benefits, and How to Choose the Best Option
Multivitamins 101 – Benefits, and How to Choose the Best Option
Multivitamins contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting ingredients in varying doses. Over 33% of Americans consume multivitamins daily since their first launch in the 1940s. [1]

While some recent research suggests the danger of and increased mortality due to multivitamin intake, there is a large body of evidence contradicting that claim. In fact, one meta-analysis found that men and women who regularly consumed multivitamins for the longest duration have the lowest all-cause death rate. [2]

Related: Micronutrients

Key Vitamins in a Multivitamin Formula

Vitamins are classified in to one of the following two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and must be taken daily because they are not stored in the body. [3] Example of water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and the following B vitamins: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), biotin (B7), folate (B9), B6, and B12. [4]

Don't be alarmed if you multivitamin has more than 100%, more than 1,000%, or even more than 10,000% of your daily value of these water-soluble vitamins. To These vitamins are not stored in the body tissues so the excess is simply excreted via sweat, respiration, and urination. Consume with water to maximize their absorption.

Fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat and include vitamins A, D, E, and K. While it is okay to consume more than 100% of these vitamins on a daily basis you should exercise caution when consuming excessively high amounts over a long period of time. The body's fat cells stores excess quantities of these vitamins. If left unmonitored your body may accumulate toxic levels of these vitamins which may lead to health complications.

Choose supplements with vitamin A sources of beta-carotene and retinyl palmitate, a vitamin D source of cholecalciferol (D3), a vitamin E source of alpha-tocopherol or mixed Tocopherols, and a vitamin K source of menaquinone (K2). [5] Consume with a fat source to maximize their absorption.

Key Minerals in a Multivitamin Formula

The body does not naturally produce minerals so they must be consumed via food and supplement sources. A high-quality multivitamin should include most if not all of the following minerals: calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, and potassium.

Calcium, magnesium, and iron are typically dosed in very low quantities (<20%) in multivitamins. This is to minimize excess calcium and iron build-up in the blood as well as eliminate the likelihood of experiencing magnesium-induced gastrointestinal issues. The remaining minerals may be dosed anywhere between 25% and 300% of the recommended daily value.

Ensure your multivitamin uses chelated forms of magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum. While multivitamins with chelated minerals typically carry a higher price, rest assured you're ingesting the high-quality and most bioavailable forms of these minerals. Minerals can be consumed with or without food but be careful when consuming high amounts calcium, magnesium, and zinc at the same time as these three compounds compete on the same pathway to be absorbed.

Bonus Ingredients

Most multivitamins provide you with 100% or more of the recommended daily value of key vitamins and minerals. The top-tier multivitamins include bonus ingredients designed to boost your joint, immune, digestive, cardiovascular, and muscle health as well as boost your fruit and vegetable intake. This section lists some of the most popular bonus ingredients found in blends supporting each of the aforementioned physical health groupings:
  • Joint Health [6] – Fish Oil, Curcumin, Chondroitin, Glucosamine, Bromelain, and Cissus Quadrangularis
  • Immune Function [7] - Panax Ginseng, Echinacea, Garlic, and Boswella Serrata
  • Digestive Health [8] – Ginger, Bromelain, Probiotics (e.g. Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Lactobacillus plantarum), and Digestive Enzymes (e.g. Lactase, Bromelain, Amylase, and Protease)
  • Cardiovascular Function – CoQ10, Garlic, Fish Oil, L-Carnitine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and Lycopene
  • Muscle Health – Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), Essential Amino Acids (EAAs), Beta-Alanine, and Bovine Liver
  • Fruit & Vegetable Intake – dried or extract forms of blueberry, bilberry, grape seed, broccoli, spirulina, green coffee, broccoli, green tea, quercetin, tomato, acai, garlic, cinnamon, cherry, spinach, maca, beet, rose hips, pineapple, alfalfa, noni, artichoke, chlorella, strawberry, mangosteen, and goji
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Which Multivitamin Should I Buy?

A quick search on the Tiger Fitness web store yields hundreds of multivitamin options. Based on the information presented above we know that not all multivitamins are created equal. Below are some great multivitamin options that include high-quality sources of key vitamins, key minerals, and bonus ingredients.

MTS Machine Greens + Multi – Offered in both powder and capsule form this multivitamin includes chelated forms of magnesium, selenium, copper, and manganese as well as a 4,000mg Green Balance Blend™, 200mg Super Fruit Blend™, and a 200mg probiotic ProDura Blend™. At just under $1.00 per day this all-in-one multivitamin will cover nutritional deficiencies and more.

HPN V1 Multivitamin – Dosed at 3 capsules per day you're getting ample intakes of water-soluble B and C vitamins, chelated forms of selenium and molybdenum, 300mg of joint support via Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM), a 250mg superfood Spectra™ ORAC Blend, as well as a proprietary blend that includes citrus bioflavonoids, digestive enzymes, and micronutrient-dense blue green algae. HPN recommends you take 1 capsule at the three major meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

NOW Foods Adam Multivitamin – These multivitamin softgels provides multiple highly bioavailable forms of Vitamin A, B, and K as well as chelated forms of magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, and molybdenum. This multivitamin also includes heart-healthy CoQ10 and grape seed extract as well as vision-supporting lutein.

Universal Nutrition Animal Pak – It's not the cheapest option if you consume the recommended two packs per day but it's the most popular multivitamin pack on the market, and for good reason. This multivitamin pack includes high-quality sources of Vitamin A, C, and E and large quantities of water-soluble B vitamins. It also includes a hefty Amino Acid Complex comprised includes Branched-Chain Amino Acids and Essential Amino Acids, a Performance Complex full of Uni-Liver™, choline, and milk thistle, as well as Antioxidant and Digestive Enzyme complexes.

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men – One of the most popular capsule multivitamins by one of the most popular brands; this formula includes ample quantities of B vitamins, kelp-based iodine, and chelated molybdenum. It also includes a 1,000mg amino acid blend, 100mg superfood Phyto Men Blend™, 50mg Viri Men Blend™, 50mg digestive enzyme blend, and 12 other health-promoting ingredients.

Controlled Labs Orange Triad – With a serving size of 6 tablets per day, Controlled Labs recommends splitting the dose over two meals. This iron-free multivitamin contains multiple forms of vitamin E, 1,000+% daily values of many water-soluble B vitamins, chelated magnesium, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, and molybdenum. Orange Triad also contains a 2,000mg Joint Complex™ with Glucosamine and Chondroitin, a 1,550mg Flex Complex with MSM, as well as a 1,275mg Digestion and Immune Complex Blend™.

Arnold Series Iron Pack – Each pack contains 6 Performance Blends designed to elevate your general health and recovery from intense training sessions. It includes multiple forms of vitamin E, exceptional quantities of B vitamins, and citrate forms of magnesium, manganese, and boron. This multivitamin pack also includes a 1,425mg Alpha Male Performance blend containing D-Aspartic Acid, BCAA Nitrate, and CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine; 1,000mg of fish oil providing 400mg of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and 300mg of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA); as well as Liver Tab, Joint Performance, Super Food, Antioxidant, and Cognitive Support Blends.

Gaspari Anavite Multivitamin – This recently reformulated multivitamin contains the highest quality form of vitamin K, plenty of B vitamins, kelp-based iodine, and chelated forms of magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, chromium, and molybdenum in each 3 tablet serving. Anavite also includes 1,6000mg of endurance-enhancing CarnoSyn® beta-alanine and 1,000mg of energy and brain-boosting Carnipure® Carnitine-Tartrate.
References
1) "Multivitamin/mineral Supplements — Health Professional Fact Sheet." Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). National Institutes of Health, 8 July 2015. Web. 2) Watkins, Margaret L., et al. "Multivitamin Use and Mortality in a Large Prospective Study." Oxford Journals. American Jnl of Epidemiology, 2000. Web. 3) "Definition of Water-soluble Vitamin." Dictionary of Cancer Terms. National Cancer Institute, 2016. Web. 4) Paula, Elle. "A List of Water-Soluble Vitamins." Healthy Eating. SF Gate, 2015. Web. 5) Harnden, Tom. "Fat-Soluble Vitamins." Georgia Highlands College. N.p., 2015. Web. 6) Frank, Kurtis. "Joint Health." Examine.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 7) Frank, Kurtis. "Immune Booster." Examine.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 8) Ludlow, Nicholas. "How to Improve Digestion With Better Food Choices & Supplements." Tiger Fitness. N.p., 2015. Web.