Our big list of multivitamin supplements contains clean, quality vitamins that are jam-packed with essential nutrients for optimized health.
These vitamins can prevent certain health problems and nutritional deficiencies, among other wholesome benefits. However, despite this knowledge, nutritional deficiency remains a common global issue.
You see, adequate vitamins and minerals are essential for normal, healthy body function. And although we can get vitamins and minerals from food and beverages each day, it is quite difficult. After all, many of us are just too busy to make sure we’re getting the right vitamins and nutrients in our diet.
Luckily, multivitamins can provide the nutrients we need to maintain healthy nutrition. This begs the question, which multivitamins are the most effective and safe?
In general, dietary supplements like multivitamins help make sure we get the essential vitamins and minerals we need to prevent deficiencies. Each vitamin or mineral plays a unique role in the human body. Thus, in our list of multivitamin supplements below, we’ll discuss the roles of different vitamins and minerals to weed out which ones work best.
However, if you’re looking for a specific list of multivitamin supplement brands and products, check out our guide to the best multivitamins.
BoronThe element Boron is naturally found in our bodies in very small quantities. Its primary role is to support bone growth, development and regeneration. It does so by regulating other minerals in the body, such as phosphorus and magnesium.
In addition, boron is believed to play a role in the production of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen.
Boron is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It’s beneficial for the body and may prevent certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Did you know calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body? It’s true, and 99% of it is found in our teeth and bones. So as you can see, we need adequate calcium to keep our teeth and bones healthy.
Calcium is also the most popular mineral for bone health, as advertised by milk marketers for decades. And it’s true, we need enough calcium; otherwise, our body will start to take it from our bones. In addition, calcium plays a role in the functions of the following cells and tissues:
- Supports the vascularity of the veins and arteries
- Supports the binding of activator proteins during muscle contraction
- Enables proper nerve cell signaling
- Enables the release of insulin from the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels
As we age, calcium supplementation becomes even more important because of the increased risk for osteoporosis among the elderly. Consequently, calcium must be replenished on a daily basis to prevent calcium deficiency. Luckily, it can be easily obtained from multivitamin supplements, foods and beverages, especially those rich in vitamin D.
CopperCopper is an essential mineral for enzymatic activity in the blood cells, nerves, connective tissues and immune system. These enzymes, which need copper to function, are called Cuproenzymes.
The mineral copper has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that support overall health. However, too much copper intake can be toxic to the body.
In addition, copper deficiency is somewhat rare because it can be easily obtained from foods like beef liver, crab and certain nuts. Thus in multivitamins, copper content is often limited if it is present at all.
Chromium is a mineral found naturally in the body in the form of trivalent chromium (Cr3+), which is essential for glucose regulation. This mineral enhances tissue sensitivity to insulin while facilitating glucose transport in the cells.
In addition, chromium deficiency has very similar symptoms as diabetes mellitus. Those with diabetes tend to have less chromium than those without it. Therefore, chromium content in multivitamins might reduce the risk of health problems by regulating glucose production and absorption.
IodineIodine is an essential mineral for wholesome brain and thyroid health. However, as of 2007, iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) remained a worldwide public health problem.
As it seems, the public doesn’t realize the importance of consuming iodine via food and/or dietary supplements. In case you didn’t know, here are the common conditions associated with iodine deficiency:
- Stunted growth
- Impaired mental function
Luckily, iodine supplementation can help correct and prevent iodine deficiency in people of all ages. Plenty of foods contain iodine, but many foods also counteract its effects. Thus, you should look into a multivitamin that supplies an adequate daily dosage of iodine to ensure you’re getting the right amount.
Iron is an essential trace mineral that can be found in ferrous sulfate tablets and multivitamins. It affects numerous proteins and enzymes in the body. Here are the functions iron impacts within the body:
- Supports blood cell production
- Regulates immune system function
- Supports the formation of iron-containing biochemical compounds
- Assists antioxidant enzymes
In general, our bodies excrete small amounts of iron periodically. However, it’s not enough to maintain optimal health. Not to mention, women lose iron during menstruation and are therefore more prone to deficiencies. As such, iron can be especially beneficial for women ages 19-50.
On the contrary, men and post-menopausal women may already get enough iron from their diet. Thus, you may want to get your iron levels tested before consuming it in a multivitamin.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that supports different biochemical reactions in the body. Such reactions include DNA synthesis, energy production and cell signaling.
This mineral can be easily obtained from magnesium-rich foods like cereals, nuts and green vegetables. However, magnesium insufficiency is still quite common with almost half of the U.S. population experiencing deficiencies from 2005-2006.
A deficiency in magnesium can cause cardiovascular problems, diabetes mellitus, bone problems and joint weakness. But you can supplement magnesium up to 350 mg per day to avoid health problems related to deficiencies.
Manganese is another essential nutrient that can be found in foods and supplements. However, too much manganese can harm the body. As such, manganese intake must not exceed 2.3 mg per day for adult males and 1.8 mg per day for adult females. When balanced correctly, manganese plays a role in the following biochemical processes:
- Antioxidant activity
- Carbohydrate, amino acid and cholesterol metabolism
- Provides glycosyltransferases for healthy cartilage and bone formation
- Increases the production of collagen for wound healing
The nutrient manganese is also known to prevent or lower the risk of health problems such as osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus and seizure disorders. However, manganese supplementation may or may not be necessary depending on your diet.
MolybdenumMolybdenum is a trace mineral and essential cofactor in the active sites of the following important enzymes in humans:
- sulfite oxidase
- xanthine oxidase
- aldehyde oxidase
- mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component
In addition, molybdenum assists with our metabolism of amino acids, nucleic acids and xenobiotics. So basically, it plays a vital role in numerous bodily processes necessary for optimal health.
The mineral molybdenum can be consumed via common foods and supplements. However, the daily recommended intake of molybdenum is 45 μg in adults, so make sure not to consume too much between food and supplementation.
Selenium is part of the amino acid selenocysteine, which is involved in various biochemical processes in the body. Selenium:
- Assists antioxidant enzymes
- Supports the production of thyroid hormones, which are necessary for basal metabolic rate and body temperature
- Supports immune function
- Reduces inflammation
The mineral selenium is often found in supplements for thyroid health alongside iodine. However, like any other trace element, too much can be harmful.
In supplements, strontium usually comes in the form of either strontium chloride or strontium ranelate. It is a popular supplement for bone health that has shown to increase bone mineral density (BMD) in patients with osteoporosis.
The primary role of strontium in the body is to help maintain and increase bone mineral density (BMD). Basically, it helps enhance overall bone strength and may prevent osteoporosis as we age.
VanadiumVanadium is another trace element found in the cells of animals, plants and humans. It may initiate therapeutic effects on cardiovascular and bone health. But research doesn’t explain exactly how it works just yet.
However, scientists have shown that pharmacological doses of vanadium compounds can enhance the effects of insulin and growth factors. In addition, vanadium may support fat loss by inducing feelings of fullness and reducing sugar absorption.
Vitamin A is a popular supplement that is good for the eyes, the immune system and reproduction. It’s a type of essential, fat-soluble vitamin as opposed to a water-soluble vitamin. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body for longer periods of time than water-soluble vitamins.
All in all, you may need a boost of vitamin A to reach optimal health. Fortunately, a quality multivitamin containing vitamin A can help.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Vitamin B1 or thiamin is an essential, water-soluble vitamin. It helps the body turn carbohydrates and protein from foods and supplements into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a form of energy. A vitamin B1 deficiency can negatively affect the brain and body, causing weight-loss, confusion, memory loss and more.
Luckily, we can get the essential vitamin B1 from a variety of dietary sources and multivitamin supplements. In addition, since vitamin B1 is water-soluble, you don’t really have to worry about taking too much of it. We can easily expel any excess vitamin B1 in our urine.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is an essential water-soluble vitamin that is responsible for the proper metabolism of vitamin B3 and B6.
In the body, vitamin B2 exists as flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), which extracts energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Furthermore, vitamin B2 acts as an antioxidant by promoting the production and activation of glutathione in the body.
You can include milk, eggs, spinach and almonds in your diet to help maintain vitamin B2 levels. However, if you can’t or don’t consume foods or beverages containing vitamin B2 on a daily basis, supplementation will help.
Multivitamin supplements containing 1.7 mg-2 mg of riboflavin provide just enough vitamin B2 to keep you happy and healthy.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 or Niacin is another essential vitamin for energy production and cholesterol regulation. Our livers produce small amounts of vitamin B3 from the essential amino acid tryptophan. However, it’s not enough to sustain us. Thus, we must consume it in our diet or via supplementation.
The best dietary sources of niacin are meat, fish and seeds. However, if you don’t consume these regularly, you may want to look into a well-rounded multivitamin.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid is an essential vitamin for energy production. It is also a precursor for coenzyme A, which is necessary for the synthesis and oxidation of fatty acids.
In addition, pantothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin that we can easily flush out in our urine, so we don’t have to worry about consuming too much of it. Not to mention, it plays a huge role in a couple of different biochemical processes.
Here are the known health benefits of vitamin B5:
- Supports the production of melatonin and acetylcholine
- Assists the absorption of heme iron
Overall, we must get enough vitamin B5 daily to make sure our bodies carry out essential biochemical processes. Thus why quality multivitamin supplements often include balanced dosages of the vitamin.
Vitamin B6The vitamin B6 has many forms. However, pyridoxine is the most common form present in multivitamins.
In addition, vitamin B6 contains about 100 enzymes that help with protein metabolism. As you can see, vitamin B6 plays a major role in our regular body functions.
Here are the functions of vitamin B6 in the body:
- Converts protein into energy
- Supports the production of neurotransmitters including serotonin, norepinephrine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
- Synthesizes hemoglobin
- Regulates homocysteine levels
- Supports sex hormone functions
We can get vitamin B6 easily from food. However, not all food sources of vitamin B6 contain enough vitamin B6 per serving, which can lead to insufficiency. Therefore, multivitamins containing vitamin B6 may be necessary to avoid deficiency.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Vitamin B7 or biotin, formerly called vitamin H, is an essential nutrient that has a large influence on energy metabolism. In addition, vitamin B7 might help prevent hair loss and brittle nails. However, unlike bacteria, yeast and plants, humans cannot produce vitamin B7.
As such, we must get it from either food or vitamin supplements. Vitamin B7 is usually added to multivitamin supplements for nutritional insurance purposes.
Vitamin B8 (Inositol)
We can get Vitamin B8 or inositol from common foods; not to mention, the body produces it. As a result, nowadays, multivitamin formulas rarely include it. The primary function of inositol is that it is a common component of messenger molecules, which are necessary for cell-to-cell communication and signaling.
However, most of us should be getting enough vitamin b8 from food already. Therefore, additional supplementation probably isn’t necessary in a multivitamin.
Vitamin B9 (Folate or Folic Acid)Vitamin B9 or folic acid is essential for the production of genetic material (DNA) and amino acids. In addition, vitamin B9 is essential for the growth and development during reproduction.
The vitamins B9 and B12 have similar functions, so a deficiency in one can mask the other. However, we should still make sure to get enough of both vitamin B9 and B12 from either food, multivitamin supplements, or both to maintain optimal health.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is a popular nutrient for energy production. However, vitamin B12 also plays a role in other vital processes in the body: particularly, DNA synthesis, blood formation and brain function.
The vitamin B12 comes from animal-based food sources, so vegetarians are more prone to vitamin B12 deficiency. Luckily, multivitamin supplements often contain vitamin B12.
Moreover, vitamin B12 is even a common ingredient in nootropics and testosterone boosters. As a nootropic, vitamin B12 keeps the myelin sheath of our nerve cells intact. As a testosterone booster, vitamin B12 supports testicular function and sperm production.
Vitamin CVitamin C is an effective vitamin for overall health. A lack of vitamin C is known to cause nutritional problems. Here are the specific benefits of vitamin C in our body:
- Helps produce collagen protein for healthy skin, nails and other connective tissues
- Promotes the synthesis of L-carnitine to support fat oxidation
- Supports the production of neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine
- Reinforces the immune system function
- Antioxidant properties
We often supplement vitamin C, even though it is easy to obtain from fruits rich in vitamin C like guava, papaya and citrus fruits. Because of the popularity of vitamin C supplements, deficiencies are pretty uncommon.
However, vitamin C deficiency is still possible. As such, you should make sure you are getting enough of this essential vitamin on a regular basis with a wholesome multivitamin.
Vitamin D consists of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which are both synthesized in the skin during sun exposure. This vitamin supports bone health and the immune system.
However, despite the available vitamin D supplements and fortified food, vitamin D deficiency remains the leading cause of nutritional disorders in the 21st century. All in all, proper diet, sun exposure or intake of vitamin D supplements via multivitamins can effectively prevent vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects the cells from oxidative stress. In recent years, vitamin E has gained popularity as a dietary supplement due to its anti-aging effects.
In addition, vitamin E works alongside vitamins C and D to support immune function. So, we must obtain enough of it to maintain overall health and prevent certain illnesses.
Vitamin KVitamin K is a fat-soluble compound that is available in two forms namely phylloquinone and menaquinone.
It is an essential vitamin because of its role in the production of proteins primarily responsible for the clotting of blood, development of bones and prevention of blockages in the blood vessels due to calcium build up.
Our bodies can recycle vitamin K once it is already in the system. However, we must still replenish it to maintain our levels. Hence why multivitamins often contain vitamin K for nutritional insurance.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral due to its involvement in the different biological processes in the body. These processes include brain function, immunity, reproduction and genetic material synthesis. However, despite the availability of zinc supplements and certain foods, zinc deficiency affects about 2 billion people worldwide.
Moreover, vegetarians are at a greater risk for zinc deficiency because of high amounts of phytic acid in their diet. This can restrict the absorption of zinc in the body. Thus for vegetarians, zinc supplementation might be more necessary to avoid deficiency.