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Designed for people whose diets don’t meet all of their nutritional needs, multiple vitamin–mineral supplements (“multivitamins”) are convenient nutrient combinations, usually taken one to six times per day. While it’s generally agreed that a healthy diet is the best foundation for health, everyday life makes that goal challenging for many people. So, some people supplement in hope of preventing disease-causing deficiencies and providing higher nutrient amounts than they can get through diet alone, which may help prevent or manage certain diseases.
Recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) have been developed by a scientific panel to broadly cover healthy people of any age or gender. Used to design mass food programs, such as for the armed forces and food relief/ration programs, RDA’s were the basis for the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) values, which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses to create the Daily Value (DV) packaging labels.
Many multivitamins contain at least 100% of RDA recommendations. However, decades of research on human nutrition has led many researchers and healthcare professionals to conclude that a “one-size-fits-all” approach does not address the increased need for certain nutrients by people who are not healthy or by those at increased risk of developing various diseases due to genetics or lifestyle habits. The RDA does account for this increased need in certain cases such as, vitamin C for smokers, or vitamin D for seniors. Abundant research also suggests therapeutic benefits to supplementing with certain nutrients, even when eating a healthful diet.
For a list of the recommended optimal amounts of each nutrient, go to a Healthy Person's Guide to Vitamins & Minerals.
Multivitamins are available as a powder inside a hard-shell pull-apart capsule, as a liquid inside a soft-gelatin capsule, or hard-pressed as tablets that may be chewed or swallowed. Common products on the market include:
The best time to take most supplements is with meals, to avoid stomach upset they sometimes cause and to help the body better absorb the nutrients.
Nothing beats a nutrient-rich, whole foods diet as a foundation for good nutrition, and quality supplements may help support that goal.
While a whole food diet is the preferable route, a high-quality multivitamin might be recommended for children eating an unbalanced diet. In one double-blind trial, schoolchildren received a daily low-potency vitamin-mineral tablet for three months that contained 50% of the RDA for most essential vitamins and the minerals. About 20% of participants (working class, primarily Hispanic, children, aged 6 to 12) experienced dramatic gains in certain measures of IQ, possibly due to correction of specific nutrient deficiencies in these children. However, it was not possible in this study to identify which nutrients caused the improvement.
|Supplement Facts |
Serving Size: 3 tablets
|Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Total Carbohydrate||1 g||<1%*|
|Vitamin A (33% [5,000 IU] as retinol palmitate and 67% [10,000 IU] as beta carotene) providing (typical analysis): beta carotene 5,625 mcg, gamma carotene 5.6 mcg, trans beta carotene 5.4 mcg, beta zea carotene 1.1 mcg||15,000 IU||300%|
|Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)||1 g||1667%|
|Vitamin D (as ergocalciferol)||400 IU||100%|
|Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopheryl succinate)||200 IU||667%|
|Vitamin K (as phytonadione)||80 mcg||100%|
|Thiamin (as thiamin mononitrate)||25 mg||1667%|
|Riboflavin (vitamin B2)||25 mg||1471%|
|Niacin (as niacinamide)||125 mg||625%|
|Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCI/pyridoxal 5-phosphate)||50 mg||2500%|
|Folic Acid||400 mcg||100%|
|Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin)||200 mcg||3333%|
|Biotin (as biotin triturate)||300 mcg||100%|
|Pantothenic Acid (as d-calcium pantothenate)||125 mg||1250%|
|Calcium (as citrate/carbonate)||250 mg||25%|
|Iron (as amino acid chelate)||18 mg||100%|
|Iodine (from pacific kelp powder)||150 mcg||100%|
|Magnesium (as citrate/oxide)||125 mg||31%|
|Zinc (as amino acid chelate)||15 mg||100%|
|Selenium (as selenium monomethionine)||70 mcg||100%|
|Copper (as amino acid chelate)||2 mg||100%|
|Manganese (as amino acid chelate)||4 mg||200%|
|Chromium (as polynicotinate)||120 mcg||100%|
|Molybdenum (as molybdenum triturate)||75 mcg||100%|
|Potassium (as amino acid chelate)||50 mg||1%|
|Green Food/ Spirulina Blend: |
Spirulina (microalgae); Alfalfa (leaf, stem); Barley Grass (grass); Dandelion (leaf); Wheat Grass (grass); Melissa (leaf); Lemon Grass (grass); Nettle (leaf); Blessed Thistle (stem, leaf, flower); Chlorella (broken cell micro-algae); Plantain (leaf); Blue Green Algae (microalgae); Cilantro (leaf)
|Amino Acids: |
(from spirulina, Zinc AAC, chlorella, blue green algae, boron AAC) (Glutamine, Asparagine, Leucine, Alanine, Arginine, lysine, threonine, valine, glycine, isoleucine, serine, proline, phenylalanine, tyrosine, Histidine, methionine, tryptophan, cysteine)
|Garden Veggies Blend: |
Parsley Juice powder; kale juice powder; spinach juice powder; wheat grass juice powder; brussels sprout juice powder; asparagus juice powder; broccoli juice powder, cauliflower juice powder, beet juice powder, carrot juice powder, cabbage juice powder, garlic juice powder
|Orchard Fruits Blend: |
Plum Juice Powder, Cranberry juice powder; blueberry juice powder; strawberry juice powder; blackberry juice powder; bilberry juice powder; cherry juice powder; apricot juice powder; papaya juice powder; orange juice powder; grape juice powder; pineapple juice powder
|MycoDefense Mushroom Blend: |
Cordyceps mushroom; reishi mushroom; shitake mushroom; hiratake mushroom; maitake mushroom; yamabushitake mushroom; himematsutake mushroom; kawaratake mushroom; chaga mushroom; zhu ling mushroom; agarikon mushroom; mesima mushroom
|Digestive Enzyme Blend |
Concentrated enzyme formula: (protease I, protease II, peptizyme SP, amylase, lactase, invertase, lipase, cellulase, alpha galactosidase); betaine HCI; bromelain (from pineapple); papain (from papaya)
|Omega Fatty Acid Seed Blend: |
Flax seed Powder (dry, cold pressed) ; sunflower seed powder (dry, cold pressed) providing alpha-linolenic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid; palmitic acid, stearic acid, behenic acid, gadoleic acid, palmitoleic acid, eicosanoic acid, lignoceric acid)
|Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex |
(from lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime and tangerine) providing: Eriocitrin 600 mcg: Naringin, Narirutin, other Flavanones 1.8 mg; Flavonols 600 mcg; Flavones and related phenolic compounds 600 mcg
|Siberian Eleuthero (root)||50 mg||**|
|Choline (as choline bitartrate)||30 mg||**|
|PABA (para aminobenzoic acid)||25 mg||**|
|RNA (from spirulina, chlorella)||14 mg||**|
|DNA (form spirulina, chlorella)||4 mg||**|
|Chlorophyll (from spirulina)||4 mg||**|
|Hesperidin (from citrus bioflavonoid complex)||2 mg||**|
|Boron (as amino acid chelate)||1 mg||**|
|Lutein (from marigold)||200 mcg||**|
|*Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. |
**Daily Value (DV) not established.
Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately. Do not take with sulfonamide since PABA interferes with the activity of this drug.