When you’re a kid, taking a multivitamin every day is fairly straightforward—and it doesn’t hurt that the Flintstones variety tastes like candy. But our bodies change as we age, and the sweet, sugar-laden vitamins of our youth don’t cut it anymore. Unfortunately, adults often struggle to figure out what’s what when it comes to multivitamins—and determine which one is right for them. Indeed, it can be overwhelming: What should you look for? Which vitamins contain the essentials that you need? What are the benefits of additive-free vitamins, such as those offered by Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure?
There are many multivitamins on the market, and they’re not all created equal (and certainly not all equal in price). Before you shell out for a multivitamin, you’ll need to do your homework to make sure you’re choosing the one that’s right for you. Here are seven questions to consider as you’re shopping for your next multivitamin.
1. What do I really need?
Shopping for a multivitamin can be a challenge. It’s crucial to find something that meets your particular needs. But, many of the multivitamins at your local pharmacy are not one-size-fits-all. They’re not necessarily formulated to suit your gender, age, diet, or various medical conditions. Fortunately, Dr. Ron’s offers an easy solution. The company’s Doc’s Best multivitamin works well for an extremely wide range of people. It’s specifically formulated to serve all ages and both genders. Plus, it fulfills the role of a pre-natal and postnatal supplement. You can also vary the dosage to complement your particular diet.
Just as important, Doc’s Best leaves out potentially detrimental ingredients. It deliberately omits retinol (vitamin A), iodine, and iron to avoid toxicity, saturation, and potentially negative side effects for individuals with special needs. Remember, when you’re shopping for a multivitamin, it’s crucial to find one that offers the things you need and leaves out the things you don’t.
2. Does this multivitamin work well with my current diet?
It’s important that your multivitamin complement your diet. If the foods you’re eating aren’t providing enough of something—calcium, for example—a multivitamin with calcium can serve as a helpful supplement. Conversely, if your meals are delivering enough of a particular vitamin, like iron, a supplement with iron might create unhealthy levels in your body.
Unfortunately, it can be tough to match a multivitamin to your dietary needs. Many multivitamins in your grocery store and pharmacy have specialized formulas to target certain people. They don’t work well with a wide range of diets and eating habits. If your diet is evolving or changing, you could struggle to find an effective multivitamin.
However, the Doc’s Best multivitamin from Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure works well for a wide spectrum of diets. It’s a good choice whether you’re super healthy or someone who is just learning to eat the right way. When Dr. Ron developed the Doc’s Best multivitamin, he worked with many people who were living very unhealthy lives. He created a multivitamin that provided an immediate change so these people would notice a difference in how they felt.
He also formulated the supplement so that people could adjust the dosage as their diet and health improved. If your diet is poor, you can take as many as six capsules. As your diet changes, you can reduce the number of capsules. Eventually, you might take just two per day as an insurance program against deficiencies that may occur with even the best diets.
When you’re matching your multivitamin to your diet, also keep in mind that some vitamins need to bind to other substances in your body to be absorbed optimally. For instance, calcium needs vitamin D to be fully absorbed into your system. Also, many other vitamins require Omega-3s and healthy fat to be absorbed. Due to your diet, your body could lack the things it needs to absorb vitamins efficiently. You can address the problem by taking a supplement rich in calcium, healthy fats, or other nutrients that you’re lacking. Look for companies such as Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure that use superior forms of vitamins to ensure maximum absorption. For example, the company’s Mag Max supplement includes magnesium glycinate, which is the best-absorbed form of magnesium.
3. How is it made?
If you’re considering starting a multivitamin regimen, you’re already thinking about what you’re putting into your body. You don’t want to start using vitamins made from unfamiliar chemicals in a laboratory—all natural is the way to go. Even so, you may need to do a little more digging. Some synthetic vitamins created in labs are allowed to label themselves as “natural,” even though they’re not biochemically identical to their natural counterparts.
With that in mind, keep an eye out for fat-soluble vitamins that come from natural sources. Vitamins A and D can be found in fish oils and milk fats, so look for supplements made with those foods rather than the synthetic versions made using ultraviolet lights. Even small amounts of the synthetic forms of fat-soluble vitamins can be harmful to your health.
4. Does it contain magnesium stearate?
Magnesium stearate isn’t just a mouthful to pronounce—it also complicates your body’s ability to absorb your vitamins. Many pharmaceutical companies use it to manufacture supplements and tablets. During production, they add magnesium stearate to raw materials to help them flow through machinery more easily. But studies show that the body must use a higher amount of digestive enzymes to absorb supplements made with magnesium stearate. As a result, the absorption rate decreases, and you don’t get the full benefits of your multivitamin. Companies like Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure avoid magnesium stearate to deliver multivitamins that are more effective.
5. Are there any other additives I should know about?
Avoiding magnesium stearate is a good starting point, but there are all kinds of other fillers, binders, and dyes in many mass-market supplements. Some companies use cottonseed oil as a filler, or they use it to make lubricants to help ingredients move through machines. These lubricants and fillers often are contaminated with pesticide residue, since cotton crops are commonly sprayed with toxic chemicals.
To avoid harmful chemicals, buy vitamins from a manufacturer that sources ingredients carefully and responsibly (preferably excluding China, India and Japan) and has its raw materials analyzed by an independent party. Some companies, such as Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure, also test batches of ingredients during production. They do this to ensure that every bottle of supplements contains precisely what’s on the label every time.
6. What are possible side effects?
If you have food allergies, it’s especially important to determine whether a supplement might have side effects. Many mass-market vitamins contain common allergens, so you should look for a multivitamin that doesn’t include—and isn’t processed in a facility with—gluten, shellfish, peanuts, soy, or milk. Read the label to see if the multivitamin is gluten-free, wheat-free, and dairy-free, such as those offered by Dr. Ron’s.
Check to see whether your intended multivitamin contains iron, too. It’s easy to take in too much supplemental iron, and it can be toxic if your iron levels are too high. It’s best if you get your iron from your diet. If necessary, you can take a supplement such as Dr. Ron’s Liver or Dr. Ron’s Spleen, which are good sources of heme iron, a form of iron found in blood and muscle tissue.
People can also suffer side effects and become ill if they have a sensitivity to iodine and vitamin A in their vitamins. If you don’t have a specific need for more iron, iodine, or vitamin A, stick with a multivitamin that doesn’t contain them.
7. How much does it cost?
It’s easy to be tempted by inexpensive multivitamins at the drugstore or in the pharmacy section of the supermarket. Compare those to a genuinely complete multivitamin, and you might have a moment of sticker shock. But consider your reasons for implementing a multivitamin regimen in the first place. If you see supplements at bargain-basement prices, consider it a red flag. They’re likely filled with cheap ingredients, which are unlikely to deliver the health benefits you’re seeking.
As you get older, it’s more challenging to keep your body in balance and get the nutrients you need to stay healthy. That’s why you need a multivitamin that does its job without being intrusive or delivering too much of any one nutrient. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to your health. But, if you know what to look for and ask the right questions, you’ll find a multivitamin that’s safe, effective, and just right for you.
Written by Emma Walker for Matcha in partnership with Dr. Ron's.