The 9 Best Multivitamins of 2021, According to a Dietitian

How to choose a multivitamin that is right for you

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Best Multivitamins

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Multivitamins are often considered a great supplement when your diet may not meet all of your nutrient needs. According to the National Institutes of Health, "at least half of American adults take a dietary supplement, the majority of which are multivitamin/multimineral supplements."

"I usually recommend people get the majority of what they need from a varied, largely plant-based diet. The more color the inside of your fruits and vegetables, and the more variety of colors in your diet overall, the better (as a general rule of thumb).

Supplements can be useful to make up the gap between what you might be getting from your diet, and what you might need for optimal health," says Adelaide Hearst McClintock, M.D., an instructor in the internal medicine department and doctor at Women's Health Care Center at UWMC-Roosevelt.

It's important to note that there is not a specific regulatory definition or standard of what nutrients a multivitamin must contain and at what dosages. In general, companies create formulations based on Daily Values, Recommended Dietary Allowances, and Adequate Intakes of vitamins and minerals, but there are many specialized formulations that may include additional herbal or nutritional ingredients.

“Multivitamins should also be free from fillers and be third-party verified to ensure that you are getting what you are paying for. Bottles should be dark or completely blocked from sunlight to prevent potential damage,” says Registered Dietitian Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT.

What to Look for in a Multivitamin

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing multivitamins, including why you want to take one, your diet, and your specific health needs.

Purpose

Multivitamins come in a variety of formulas, each with its own purpose. Consider your age, diet, lifestyle, and any health issues before selecting one to incorporate into your routine. Remember, it’s always a good idea to check with your health care provider before taking any supplements.

Form

The most common forms of multivitamins include tablets, capsules, and gummies. Some of them come in very large capsules or pills that are difficult to swallow, which may make it less likely that the user will take them.

Other Ingredients

When possible, choose vitamins that are free of sugar, artificial flavors and colors, and other unnecessary ingredients. Be sure to read the ingredient list thoroughly to make sure it meets your dietary needs and preferences which may include allergen-free, USDA organic, or vegan.

Certification

Because nutrition supplements are not closely regulated or broadly tested in the United States, selecting a third-party tested product is a great way to ensure that you’re choosing a safe, effective multivitamin.

Third-party testing is a control process where an independent lab assesses a product to see if it meets certain criteria and standards for purity, potency, and safety. There are many third-party organizations you can look for on the label including NSF, USP, LabDoor, and ConsumerLab.

Multivitamin Dosage

There is no specific regulatory definition or standard of what nutrients a multivitamin must contain and at what levels. Therefore, there are no RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) guidelines established for multivitamins. However, there are RDAs and ULs (Tolerable Upper Intake Level) for the individual vitamins and minerals they contain, outlined by the National Institutes of Health.

You may notice that some supplements have vitamin and mineral contents that exceed the RDAs. It's important to remember that many factors influence nutrient bioavailability, meaning your body's ability to absorb and utilize the nutrient. So, your body might not actually be absorbing the amount listed on the bottle.

For that reason, supplement companies often add more than the RDA. Excess consumption of water-soluble vitamins is filtered through the kidneys and excreted, but fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) can be stored in your body (primarily in fatty tissue and the liver). Be sure not to exceed the UL (Tolerable Upper Intake Level) for vitamins and minerals, particularly for supplemental fat-soluble vitamins.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do multivitamins work?

    The short answer to this question is maybe, and it depends on your goals. However, everybody is different, and nutrient needs vary from person to person. Taking a multivitamin increases nutrient intake and helps people meet the recommended intake of vitamins and minerals when they cannot meet these needs from food alone.

    There is no one set standard for multivitamins. Some products are geared towards pregnant women, others towards adults of a certain age. For the average healthy individual who has a varied diet, it might make sense to use a multivitamin when needed, for example, during travel, cloudy winter months, or periods of stress. However, for women of reproductive age, older individuals, or vegans and vegetarians, taking a multivitamin daily may be best to ensure they are meeting their daily nutrient needs. Whether or not a multivitamin will work for you depends on the product and whether or not you take it consistently.

  • When is the best time to take a multivitamin?

    Taking your multivitamin with a meal is ideal for a few reasons. The first is that some vitamins— specifically vitamins A, E, D, and K—need to be taken with fat in order to be optimally absorbed. Second, taking a multivitamin with food can decrease any stomach upset or nausea. A third reason is that adding a multivitamin alongside a meal may help boost compliance. There is not enough research to give a definitive answer to the best time of day to take it, but many individuals have success when taking a multivitamin in the morning with breakfast.

  • Do I need to take a multivitamin everyday for it to be effective?

    Nutrient needs vary from person to person, and whether or not you need to take a multivitamin daily depends on your needs, goals, and diet. If you have a diagnosed deficiency, it might be necessary to take your multivitamin every day to build up nutrient levels. Nutrients such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Folic Acid, Calcium, and Iron may take longer to reach optimal levels if you are diagnosed as deficient and daily maintenance might be needed for extended periods.

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and to determine which dosage to take.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science, as well as clinically tested and approved for use in humans. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. These attributes include non-GMO, organic, and allergy-friendly products that are free of most artificial ingredients including colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners. When possible, we recommend products that are third-party tested and certified.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

Here, the best multivitamins on the market:

Best Overall: MegaFood One Daily Multivitamin

MegaFood One Daily Multivitamin
Pros
  • Provides vitamins B, C, D, and E

  • For men and women

  • Can be taken anytime and without food

Cons
  • Not optimal for 55+ or pregnant women

MegaFood One Daily is a high-quality multivitamin for men and women derived from real food ingredients. This signature one-a-day vitamin and mineral supplement is formulated with B vitamins for energy support, vitamins C and E, important for immune function, and 10 micrograms of vitamin D to help maintain healthy bones.

The product is versatile and can be used by men or women of any age, although it may not be optimal for those over age 55 and pregnant women, who may have additional needs. It can be taken any time of day and is gentle enough to be taken on an empty stomach.

MegaFood is known for its dedication to real food ingredients and an obsession with quality. The supplement is tested for over 125 herbicides and pesticides and is free of gluten, dairy, and soy. It is also Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Glyphosate Residue Free, and Certified Kosher.

Key nutrients: B vitamins, vitamin C, D, E | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No but certified glyphosate residue free | Additives: None

Best Budget: Nature Made Multivitamin Complete

Nature Made Multi Complete Tablets
Pros
  • Affordable

  • For men and women

  • Provides 23 key nutrients

  • USP-Verified

Cons
  • Cannot be taken on an empty stomach

The Nature Made Complete Multivitamin is a favorite among men and women of different age groups and an affordable option for anyone looking to supplement their diet. Each once-daily tablet provides 23 key nutrients, including vitamin D3, to support optional bone health and iron for blood health.

Nature Made is dedicated to creating high-quality supplements at an affordable price. The gluten-free supplement is free of yeast, added colors, preservatives, and artificial flavors. It is also USP-Verified, meaning it meets strict standards for manufacturing and product quality. If you’re looking for an inexpensive multivitamin from a trusted source, Nature Made is a solid choice.

Key nutrients: Vitamin D3, iron, vitamin B12 | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: No | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best for Men: Rainbow Light Men’s One Multivitamin Tablets

Rainbow Light Men's One Multivitamin Tablets
Pros
  • Provides vitamins A, D, E, and more

  • Gluten-, wheat-, dairy-free

  • Includes ingredients correlated with lowering heart disease

Cons
  • Not vegan

Each Rainbow Light Men's One Multivitamin will help men meet their needs for vitamin A, D, E, zinc, and selenium. Derived from plant sources, these vitamins are a potent multivitamin option for men. They provide superfoods such as chlorella and spirulina, as well as probiotics.

A complete B-complex may also help support energy and healthy stress response for those with deficiencies. These vitamins also contain ingredients such as lycopene, which some studies have correlated with lower cancer and heart disease risk. They’re also free of artificial colors, additives, and sweeteners, as well as wheat, dairy, and gluten.

Key nutrients: Vitamins A, D, E, selenium, B-complex, chlorella, spirulina, probiotics, lycopene | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best for Women: New Chapter Every Woman's One Daily Multivitamin

New Chapter Every Woman's One Daily Multivitamin
Pros
  • Made from whole food ingredients

  • Gluten-free

  • Contains anti-inflammatory ingredients

Cons
  • Not suitable for those with soy allergies

New Chapter's non-GMO, certified organic multivitamin contains key nutrients for women, including calcium and vitamin D3. The vitamins are made from whole food ingredients, which are thought to be better absorbed than synthetic (laboratory-made) nutrients, although more research is needed. The whole food, fermented ingredients deliver beneficial bacteria and nutrients in a highly absorbable form that is easy on the stomach.

Note that the vitamin contains fermented soy, so it is not suitable for those with soy allergies. However, the vitamin is certified gluten-free by NSF, is 100 percent vegetarian, and contains no artificial colors or flavors. The blend also contains superfood anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as ginger, turmeric, and chamomile to promote optimal overall health.

In order to address all of the needs for women, the dynamic multi also offers a unique "hormone support" blend including chaste tree, red clover, and raspberry leaf. While some studies suggest that there may be hormonal benefits to these ingredients, according to the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there is not a lot of strong research to support effectiveness for any particular condition.

Key nutrients: Calcium, vitamin D3, ginger, turmeric, chamomile, raspberry leaf | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: Yes | Additives: None

Best for Ages 50+: Centrum Silver Multivitamin

Centrum Silver Multivitamins
Pros
  • Helps support heart, brain, and eye health

  • For men and women

  • Gluten-free

  • Available in gummy form

Cons
  • Cannot be taken on an empty stomach

If you’re over 50, Centrum Silver Multivitamin is an affordable, complete multivitamin that addresses some specific health needs and concerns for men and women in that age group. It’s formulated with nutrients to help support heart, brain, and eye health.

The women’s version focuses on nutrients to support bone strength, including calcium and vitamin D. The men’s formula has specific ingredients to promote muscle health, including magnesium and vitamin D. Both supplements contain higher amounts of vitamin B12, as research suggests older adults may not efficiently absorb naturally-occurring B12 found in animal foods.

Centrum Silver is non-GMO and gluten-free. The tablets have a smooth coating, making the multi easy to swallow. If you prefer gummies, Centrum does make Men and Women 50+ MultiGummies; however, these tablets come in a convenient multipack for men and women. Each bottle comes with 100 once-daily tablets, so you will have over three months of supply.

Key nutrients: Calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, B6, magnesium | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: Blue 2 Lake, Red 40 Lake

Best Organic: New Chapter Tiny Tabs Multivitamin

New Chapter Tiny Tabs Multivitamin
Pros
  • Made from whole food ingredients

  • Great for those who cannot swallow pills

  • Provides vitamins A, D3, K, and more

  • Can be taken anytime and without food

Cons
  • Not suitable for those with soy allergies

New Chapter's Certified Organic Tiny Tabs are a probiotic multivitamin formulated from whole food ingredients specifically made for those who have difficulty swallowing pills. The small tablets are made from organic fruits, vegetables, and whole food vitamins and minerals and deliver complete multivitamin support. Each six-tablet serving provides 22 vitamins and minerals including 100 percent daily value of vitamins A, D3, K, B12, and B6.

The fermented tablets are gentle on the stomach and can be taken anytime, even without food. Note that the ferment media contains soy, so this supplement is not suitable for those with soy allergies. For those who are able to consume soy, the process of fermentation may enhance the absorption of nutrients, helping to maximize the potential of the vitamin and improve the assimilation of the nutrients.

Key nutrients: Vitamins A, D3, K, B12 | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: None

Best for the Whole Family (ages 6 and up): Garden of Life Vitamin Code for Family

Garden of Life Vitamin Code for Family
Pros
  • Vegetarian

  • Gluten-free

  • Made from whole food ingredients

  • Provides vitamins A, C, D, and more

Cons
  • May be hard to swallow

Made for adults, teens, and kids 6 and up, Garden of Life's Vitamin Code Family Multivitamin is made for everyone to share. The vegetarian, gluten-free, and kosher supplement is made from raw, whole foods—including a base of 23 organically grown fruits and vegetables. Garden of Life recommends adults and children over 6 years of age take two capsules twice a day, for a total of four capsules.

Each serving provides 100 percent or more of the recommended daily value of a wide array of key nutrients, including vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B6, and B12. The supplement also contains CoQ10 and lycopene, as well as a mix of raw probiotics and enzymes. Another bonus: they're free of artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, and additives.

Designed for both kids and parents, this multivitamin takes away the need to buy multiple supplements for each family member, which is great for saving time, money, and energy.

Key nutrients: Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B6, and B12, CoQ10, lycopene, probiotics, enzymes | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: Yes | Additives: None

Best Gummy: SmartyPants Adult Multivitamin Gummy

SmartyPants Adult Multivitamin Gummy
Pros
  • Provides vitamins D3, K, B12, and E

  • Allergy-friendly

  • Includes ingredients for heart and brain health

Cons
  • High in sugar and carbs

The multifunctional SmartyPants Adult Formula gummies provide a wide array of key nutrients, such as vitamins D3, K, B12, and E. Known for their focus on science-based nutrition, SmartyPants specifically uses ingredients to offer a variety of potential health benefits and address common nutrient gaps in the average adult diet.

Aside from typical vitamins and minerals, SmartyPants includes EPA and DHA. Research published in 2012 suggests that EPA and DHA promote healthy aging and are associated with improved heart and brain health.

Each serving of six gummies contains 35 calories and 10 grams of total carbohydrate. While the super clean gummies are free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, and GMOs, they may not be best for those watching their sugar and carbohydrate intake. However, they are allergy-friendly as they are free of soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, and dairy.

Key nutrients: Vitamins D3, K, B12, E, DHA, EPA | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: 8 grams of added sugar

Best for Kids: SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin

SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin
Pros
  • Available in various flavors

  • Provides vitamins D3 and B12

  • Includes ingredients for brain health

  • Allergy-friendly

Cons
  • Not vegan

A top choice among parents for their quality and nutrients, SmartyPants Kids Complete gummy vitamins are also loved by kids (ages 4+) for their great taste. The gummies come in three flavors—lemon, orange, and strawberry banana—and taste great. They’re packed with 15 essential nutrients, including vitamin D3, vitamin B12, and folate.

They also contain omega-3 fish oil in the form of DHA, which research suggests may be helpful for children's brain and cognitive development. With a serving size of four gummies, the vitamins and fish oil amounts are spread out, so they don’t taste like fish or vitamins.

SmartyPants are non-GMO and are free of synthetic colors and artificial flavors and preservatives. While they do contains sugar, the gummies are free of artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. The gummies are also great for kids with food allergies, as they are free of the top eight allergens: milk, eggs, shellfish, soy, peanuts, wheat, fish, and tree nuts.

Key nutrients: Vitamin D3, folate, vitamin B12, DHA, EPA | Vegan: No | Gluten-free: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Organic: No | Additives: 5 grams of added sugar

Final Verdict

While specific multivitamin recommendations depend on your age, sex, and individual needs, MegaFood One Daily (view at Amazon) is an excellent option for most adults. If you're looking for a multivitamin for the whole family, consider SmartyPants Adult (view at Amazon) and SmartyPants Kids Gummy Multivitamins (view at Amazon).

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