Even the most dedicated, healthy eaters still have gaps in their nutrition intake. Especially for people on more specialized diets – keto, vegetarian, even low-calorie eating – there’s a real need to ensure you’re filling in the missing nutrients with the right supplements.

Of course, just one trip down the vitamin aisle of your local grocery store and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the volume of options, brands, and claims offered by supplements that all look the same at first glance.

To help, we’re covering seven simple ingredients that you should be able to find in any high-quality multivitamin, three ingredients to avoid, and other signs Dr. Seals looks for that a supplement really is worthy of being a part of your everyday routine.

Key Multivitamin Ingredients

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to incorporating supplements into your diet. What works for one person may not always work for someone else. Similarly, it’s important to recognize that supplements aren’t a stop-gap to replace better eating habits.

If you’d prefer a multivitamin instead of multiple, specialized supplements, here are seven key ingredients to look out for:

  • Vitamin D: No surprise, coming from a chiropractor, but Vitamin D is crucial to helping your body absorb calcium and build healthy bones. In most cases, the best Vitamin D comes from fish oil, which tolerates being synthesized well. In addition to helping build up your immune system, Vitamin D helps to limit the likelihood that you’ll experience back pain, bone loss, or hair loss. Vitamin D is especially important during the winter months, or if you spend long hours working indoors.

  • Zinc: If you’re eating lots of grass-fed beef or spinach, you might be getting the necessary zinc to boost your immune system, but if not, make sure it’s a leading ingredient in your multivitamin. Zinc will also help reduce stress and promote higher levels of energy. It’s always recommended to find a product with a form of zinc other than zinc oxide. 

  • Calcium: One of the most well-known supplements, calcium is critical to overall bone health and muscle function. Because the heart and nerves rely on calcium as well, a calcium deficiency can cause the body to remove calcium from the bones, causing them to become weaker and more brittle. Women especially are at a higher risk of osteoporosis, making calcium supplements a key ingredient in the right multivitamin. In many cases, the finest quality source for alkaline minerals (like calcium) are in the form of powders or liquids.

  • Iron: An essential mineral in the body, iron is primarily found in our red blood cells. A key element a to healthy immune system, iron works to help treat anemia and boost our hemoglobin which can reduce feelings of fatigue, concentration, and improve overall sleep function. A quality multivitamin will contain either iron or calcium, not both.

  • Vitamin B12: Unlike some of the other vitamins on this list, B12 is a supplement the body cannot produce on its own. Like iron, B12 works to improve red blood cell formation. A B12 deficiency may lead to loss of neurons in the brain (memory loss), macular degeneration (vision loss), and osteoporosis (loss of bone density).

  • Folic Acid: Folic Acid helps to produce DNA throughout the body and can be found in popular leafy greens including spinach, broccoli, lettuce, and asparagus. Adding additional Folic Acid into your routine can help improve folate deficiency which is often linked to kidney disease and high blood pressure.

  • Magnesium: Magnesium is another popular supplement that helps support better overall bone health, in addition to calcium absorption (also great for your bones), heart health, migraine headaches, and increased metabolism.

Notice something missing? We have a more expansive opinion of Vitamin C (which you can read about here), which almost everyone should take on a daily basis and preferably in a powdered form.

What to Avoid in Your Multivitamins

Ultimately, the perfect multivitamin for you depends on a myriad of factors. Age, sex, health history, and activity levels are all primary considerations in terms of what your body needs that it may not already be getting. Depending on your diet, a traditional multivitamin may not even be the right answer. In some cases, opting for specific, individualized supplements can help increase general potency and effectiveness in the body.

If you decide to add a multivitamin to your diet, here are three common things you’ll want to avoid.

  • Additives and fillers: If your multivitamin tastes delicious or looks like candy, you may have a problem. Synthetic colors and other added fillers will do nothing to help increase your health, and may detract from the quality of the nutrients you’re hoping to absorb.

  • Hydrogenated oils: Soybean oil is one of the most common additives used in conventional multivitamins and is often a genetically modified substance. In the same way that you should pass on margarine when natural butter isn’t available, pass on vitamins that include this toxic filler.

  • Titanium dioxide: Typically used as a colorant, titanium dioxide has been linked to lung inflammation, deteriorated immune system function, and intestines inflammation. If your gluten intolerant or suffer from Crohn’s disease, these supplements can be even more harmful to the body.

Beyond these ingredients, it’s important to consider the size of your vitamins. A multivitamin that has quality ingredients (including calcium or magnesium) will typically be much larger than a standard pill. Generally speaking, the smaller the pill the poorer the quality of the multivitamin.

Additionally, supplements that market themselves as a “time release” product may also hint at a lesser quality. Successful assimilation of supplements involves proper digestion, and time release products will resist dissolving for several hours on average.

Eliminating Vitamin Confusion

If you’re still confused about which kind of multivitamin is right for you – or if a multivitamin is right at all – the good news is you’re not alone. Dr. Seals has decades of experience in the health and wellness market (in addition to his training and education as a healthcare provider) and would love the opportunity to talk about your health goals and concerns.

If you still have questions about vitamins or supplements, don’t hesitate to bring them up at your next appointment! You can schedule an adjustment today by going back to the homepage, or by calling the office at 706-400-4333.