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Skip Your Multivitamin and Do This Instead

It's easy to get sucked into the marketing scheme of vitamins today. With all the new companies popping up offering "personalized miracle" vitamins, it's hard not to buy in.


I have always heard: "You can get everything you need from a good diet." But I have to admit, I was starting to doubt that thanks to all the new vitamin ads I have seen over the last couple years.

Well, turns out, that statement is just as true today as it was years ago when I first heard it. In fact, science over the last years has built an even stronger case against supplementing------


***********Disclaimer! I am not a doctor. This post is based off information for a healthy adult with NO deficiencies or health conditions. If you have a deficiency or health condition, please consult your doctor.**************


Several studies have been done to test the effectiveness of multivitamins. All studies revealed multivitamins do not reduce the risk of mental declines, cancer, heart disease, heart attacks, heart surgeries or heart-related deaths.


Things to remember:

  1. Pills are not a shortcut to better health and prevention of diseases.

  2. If you follow a healthy diet, you can get all the vitamins and minerals you need from food.

  3. The benefits of a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight far outweigh what any supplement can do.

  4. Think of vitamins as a bonus boost --- don't rely on them to do the job. Our body was designed to get our nutrients from our diet, not a pill.


With all that being said, there can be some gaps your diet can't fill...at least all the way and/or all the time. Experts do recommend minor supplementation of some vitamins (remember bonus boost!).

So I compiled a list of 9 vitamins that are most likely to be low. I need to clarify: I didn't say deficient...true deficiencies are uncommon. Low levels however, is much more common.

All, except one, are essential nutrients, so it really doesn't hurt to supplement these. Especially since stress is a huge factor in depleting our levels and who isn't stressed now-a-days??


I provided foods that are high in the vitamin, so you can choose to up your intake on those foods or supplement. It's your choice! But, if you do decide to supplement, please be mindful of the DV amount. There is no reason to get over 100% or even close to 100% of your DV. In some vitamins, excess can actually cause issues (GI is most common). Try to find the lowest amount.

 

TOP 9

MAGNESIUM

CALCIUM

ZINC

FOLATE

VITAMIN D

VITAMIN A

VITAMIN C

IRON

VITAMIN B6

 

SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

 

GLOSSARY

Essential nutrient: A nutrient we must get from food or supplements because our body cannot produce or store it.

Bioavailability: Refers to the extent a substance or drug becomes completely available to its intended biological destination. In other words, a more efficient absorption.

Fat soluble: Vitamins that need body fat to be absorbed and used by organs. Can be toxic as they are stored in fatty tissue.

Water soluble: Vitamins that are not stored in our tissues. Once used, the excess is excreted out in urine.



 

TOP 9



MAGNESIUM

Fat-soluble

Essential nutrient

Function

Bone health and energy production

Essential nutrient, Calms nervous system, Reduces stress (results have been seen after 90 days in studies), Eases sleep issues, Regulates muscle & nerve function, Helps balance blood sugar, Makes protein, bone and DNA.

Daily Dose

300-320 mg

Diet

  • Pumpkin

  • Artichoke

  • Soybeans

  • Tofu

  • Brown rice

  • Nuts (especially Brazil nuts)

  • Green leafy vegetables

  • Whole grains

  • Some cereals and bottles of water have been fortified with magnesium

Best Supplement

Best forms: (these allow for easier absorption)

  • Aspartate

  • Citrate

  • Lactate

  • Chloride

While too much magnesium consumed through your diet isn't a concern, high doses from supplements can cause nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping. Also, magnesium in supplements can interact with some types of antibiotics and medications.



 

CALCIUM

Essential nutrient

Function

Bone and teeth health

Most abundant mineral in our body.

Make sure you are getting enough vitamin D to absorb the calcium.

Over 40% of the US population isn't getting enough calcium.

Daily Dose

1000 mg

Diet

  • Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese

  • Green leafy vegetables

  • Fish

  • Soy products

Best Supplement

Experts recommend getting the majority of your daily intake from your diet, but to also get the form, Calcium citrate by supplementing to help with bioavailability.



 

ZINC

Fat-soluble

Essential nutrient

Function

Supports immune system

Uses carbs, protein, and fat for energy

Aids in wound healing

Creates DNA

Daily Dose

8-11mg

How can I get it from my diet?

  • Red meat

  • Poultry

  • Seeds

  • Wild rice

  • Oysters

  • Cashews

  • Peas

  • Almonds



 

FOLATE

Water soluble B vitamin found in many foods.

Essential nutrient

Folic acid is the synthetic, man-made version

Functions

  • Prevents birth defects and pregnancy complications

  • Promotes brain health

  • Helps with mental health disorders (depression, anxiety included)

  • Reduces risk of heart disease

  • Promotes skin, nail, and hair growth

Daily Dose

400 mcg for adults

600 mcg for pregnant and breastfeeding women

Diet

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Broccoli

  • Avocado

  • Citrus fruits

  • Eggs

  • Also added into foods like flour, bread, and breakfast cereals.



 

VITAMIN A

Fat-soluble, powerful antioxidant

Essential nutrient

Functions

  • Maintains healthy vision

  • Maintains normal function of immune system

  • Helps produce healthy cells

  • Aids with proper development and growth of babies in the womb

Daily Dose

700-900 mcg

Diet

  • Beef and lamb liver

  • Salmon

  • Tuna

  • Cheese

  • Sweet potato

  • Kale

  • Carrot

Supplement

Vitamin A comes in two forms: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A.

  • Preformed Vitamin A is the active form. Our body can use it just as it is. It's found in animal products

  • Provitamin A (cartotenoids, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene & beta-cryptoxanthin) is the inactive form found in plants. This version is converted to the active form once in your body.



 

VITAMIN C

Water-soluble, powerful antioxidant

Essential nutrient

Functions

  • Reduces your risk of chronic disease

  • Helps manage high blood pressure

  • Lowers risk of heart disease

  • Helps prevent iron deficiency

  • Boosts immunity

  • Protects memory

Daily Dose

75-90 mg

Diet

  • Kale

  • Broccoli

  • Kiwi

  • Bell peppers

  • Brussels Sprouts

  • Lemons

  • Strawberries

  • Oranges


 

VITAMIN D

Fat-soluble

Function

Absorbs calcium. Important for bone health.

40% of the US population are vitamin D deficient due to diet and lack of sunlight.

Daily Dose

  • Children & Adults: 600 IU

  • Adults 70+: 800 IU

Diet

Being outside for 15 minutes should meet your daily quota. But if you work primarily indoors and don't get out much, you can find vitamin D in:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon or tuna: especially wild caught

  • Cheese: Fontina, Munster, Monterey, and Ricotta specifically.

  • Egg yolks: Especially pasture raised chickens

  • Most milks and cereals are fortified with vitamin D now

  • Orange Juice

  • Mushrooms

  • Deli meat



 

IRON

Fat-soluble

Essential nutrient

Functions

  • Carries oxygen throughout your body

  • Essential nutrient

  • Increases energy

  • Improves brain function

  • Healthy red blood cells

Daily Dose

18mg

Diet

  • Shellfish

  • Spinach

  • Liver & other organ meats

  • Legumes

  • Red meat

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Quinoa

  • Turkey

  • Broccoli

  • Tofu

  • Dark Chocolate

  • Fish

Supplement

Look for your iron supplement in any of these forms:

  • Ferrous sulfate

  • Ferrous gluconate

  • Ferric citrate

  • Ferric sulfate



 

VITAMIN B6

Water-soluble

Essential nutrient

Functions

  • Improves mood, reduces symptoms of depression

  • Promotes brain health

  • Prevents and treats anemia

  • Treats symptoms of PMS

  • Helps with pregnancy-related nausea

  • Reduces heart disease risk

Daily Dose

1.3 - 1.7 mg

Diet

  • Salmon

  • Chicken breast

  • Beef

  • Pork

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Bananas

  • Avocados

  • Pistachio nuts



 

SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS


Long story short: children's vitamins are your best bet.


Let me reiterate the goal of this post: to encourage getting vitamins from your diet first and using supplements as a bonus. Adult vitamins simply have too many and too high of doses for those trying to get all or most of their vitamins from their diet. It's just unnecessary.


Kid's vitamins have fewer, healthier ingredients, are sugar-conscious, and lower in dose. Oh and also super fun flavors. Win!


Here are some recommendations

(links are commissionable)


Daily recommended doses chart

I look for vitamins with the least amount since my goal is to get the majority from my diet. So look at these numbers as a max.


1. Iron Gummies Supplement: $17.47

Has:

  • Zinc: 0.84 mg

  • Folate: 417 mcg

  • Vitamin A: 18 mcg

  • Vitamin C: 76 mg

  • Iron: 10 mg

  • Vitamin B6: 1.8 mg

Missing:

  • Magnesium

  • Calcium

  • Vitamin D

Extra:

  • Niacin

  • Vitamin B12

  • Pantothenic acid

Additional Supplements:

Calcium & Magnesium

Vitamin D3


2. SmartyPants Kids Daily Mineral Vitamins: $23.76

Has:

  • Magnesium: 250 mg

  • Calcium: 150 mg

  • Zinc: 5 mg

  • Vitamin D: 5 mcg/200IU

  • Vitamin C: 15 mg

Missing:

  • Folate

  • Vitamin A

  • Iron

  • Vitamin B6

Extra:

  • Vitamin E

  • Selenium

  • Copper

  • Manganese

  • Chromium

  • Molybdenum

Additional Supplements:

LifeCentric Premium Iron Gummies

OR

Vitamin Friends Iron



 


I would love to get your feedback on this post.

Please leave me any questions, comments, or requests in the comments below.

Links are commissionable. Thank you for supporting this website.




Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/zinc-deficiency#risk-factors

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnesium-deficiency-symptoms#TOC_TITLE_HDR_10

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/magnesium-supplements/faq-20466270

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-foods-high-in-vitamin-d#Vitamin-D-and-calcium

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthy-iron-rich-foods

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/folic-acid#side-effects-precautions

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_9

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-vitamin-a#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-foods

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b6-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_13

https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/foods-high-in-vitamin-B6.php


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