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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: 1 tablet
|Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Vitamin A (50% [3,750 IU] as vitamin A acetate and 50% [3,750 IU] as beta carotene)||7,500 IU||150%|
|Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)||120 mg||200%|
|Vitamin D (as cholecalciferol)||1,000 IU||250%|
|Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopheryl succinate)||100 IU||333%|
|Vitamin K (as phytonadione)||100 mcg||125%|
|Thiamin (as thiamin mononitrate)||25 mg||1,667%|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||25 mg||1,471%|
|Niacin (as niacinamide)||50 mg||250%|
|Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCl)||40 mg||2,000%|
|Folic Acid||800 mcg||200%|
|Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin)||100 mcg||1,667%|
|Pantothenic Acid (as d-calcium pantothenate)||40 mg||400%|
|Calcium (from Aquamin® calcified mineral source Red Algae Lithothamnion sp. [whole plant])||200 mg||20%|
|Iron (as ferrous fumarate)||18 mg||100%|
|Iodine (as potassium iodide)||150 mcg||100%|
|Magnesium (from Aquamin® calcified mineral source Red Algae Lithothamnion sp. [whole plant], as oxide)||100 mg||25%|
|Zinc (as zinc oxide)||15 mg||100%|
|Selenium (as sodium selenate)||250 mcg||357%|
|Copper (as copper sulfate)||2 mg||100%|
|Manganese (as manganese sulfate)||5 mg||250%|
|Chromium (as chromium picolinate)||250 mcg||208%|
|Molybdenum (as sodium molybdate)||75 mcg||100%|
|Orchard Fruits™ Blend |
Pomegranate (seed); Acai Extract (whole palm fruit); Juice Powders; Grape; Plum; Cranberry; Blueberry; Strawberry; Blackberry; Bilberry; Cherry; Apricot; Papaya; Orange; Pineapple
|Garden Veggies™ Juice Powder Blend: |
Parsley; Kale; Spinach; Wheat Grass; Brussels Sprout; Asparagus; Broccoli; Cauliflower; Beet; Carrot; Cabbage; Garlic
|Cardiovascular Blend with Resveratrol |
Hawthorn (berry); Japanese Knotweed standardized to 50% resveratrol; Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone)
|CranRx™ Urinary Anti-Adherence 100% Whole Cranberry fruit solids (Early Black variety) standardized to PACs (proanthocyanidins)||20 mg||*|
|Hair, Skin & Nail Blend with MSM |
Horsetail grass (stem, leaf); Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM); Tru-OPCs™ grape seed extract standardized to 95% antioxidants (65% oligomeric procyanidins [OPCs], 30% other active polyphenols)
|Flax Lignan Blend with SDG Lignans |
High lignan flax fiber (seed); Flax lignan extract (seed hulls) standardized to 20% secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG) lignans
|Green Food/Spirulina Blend |
Spirulina (microalgae); Kelp/Bladderwrack (whole thallus); 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 microalgae); Plantain (leaf); Blue Green Algae (microalgae); Cilantro (leaf)
|Organic Mushroom Defense Blend |
Cordyceps; Reishi; Shiitake; Hiratake; Maitake; Yamabushitake; Himematsutake; Kawaratake; Chaga; Zhu Ling; Agarikon; Mesima
|Digestive Enzyme Blend: |
Concentrated Enzyme formula: (Protease I, Protease II, Peptizyme SP, Amylase, Lactase, Invertase, Lipase, Cellulase, Alpha Galactosidase); Betaine HCl; Bromelain (from pineapple); Papain (from papaya)
|Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex (from lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime, tangerine) providing; Hesperidin, Naringin, Narirutin, Eriocitrin, Flavonols and Flavones||20 mg||*|
|Choline (as choline bitartrate)||10 mg||*|
|Boron (as amino acid chelate)||1 mg||*|
|Lutein (from marigold)||500 mcg||*|
|*Daily Value (DV) not established.|
Take 1 tablet daily, preferably with food. As with any supplement, if you are pregnant, nursing or taking medication, consult your doctor before use. Not formulated for children. Do not exceed recommended use.
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.