The 7 Best Multivitamins of 2022, According to a Dietitian

Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/Day is our top pick

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Best Multivitamins

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Food is the preferred source of nutrients, but if you are unable to meet your vitamin and mineral needs through food alone, multivitamins can be helpful to fill in the gaps. For healthy adults eating a well-balanced and varied diet, it’s unlikely that a multivitamin provides much benefit, and there can be potential down sides.“Some people take a multivitamin as a safety net, but doing so may result in over supplementing certain nutrients,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT.

If you follow a restrictive diet, eliminate entire food groups, have a diagnosed deficiency, or have a medical condition or take medications that interfere with nutrient absorption, you may want to consider a multivitamin. Additionally, taking multivitamins designed for specific stages of life that require increased vitamin and mineral needs may be beneficial, such as before and during pregnancy.

Multivitamins typically contain essential vitamins and minerals; however, some multivitamins also contain additional herbs, probiotics, enzymes, and antioxidants, many of which have little to no evidence to support use—and may or may not be safe choices for you. Manaker adds, “Multivitamins should also be free from fillers and be third-party verified to ensure that you are getting what you pay for. Bottles should be dark or completely blocked from sunlight to prevent potential damage.”

Verywell Fit Approved Multivitamins

  • Best Overall:  Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/Day is an NSF Sport Certified supplement, covering the multivitamin bases without unnecessary herbs or enzymes found in many multivitamins on the market.
  • Best Gummy: Smarty Pants Adult Formula is an NSF approved, versatile multivitamin that can work for men and women of all ages.

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 which dosage to take.

It’s important to remember that multivitamins are meant to supplement a healthy diet and not replace one. Food science research suggests that there are benefits to eating whole foods that go beyond just the individual nutrients and that something called “food synergy” exists—meaning the sum of all of the nutrients present in food is greater than the individual nutrients when isolated. Translation: food is a better source of nutrients than supplements, so get as many nutrients as you can from the foods you eat.

Is a Multivitamin Beneficial?

Research has shown that multivitamins are effective at reducing risk of vitamin and mineral deficiency and ensuring adequate nutrient intake.

People who may benefit from taking a multivitamin include:

Pregnant people and people who are lactating: Multivitamins during pregnancy are effective in helping reduce risk of birth defects and other negative birth outcomes and can help lactating women achieve their higher nutrient needs while breastfeeding. Needs during pregnancy and while breastfeeding are different from other adults, so it’s best to choose a prenatal specific multivitamin.

Older Adults: If an older adult has decreased intake because they have trouble chewing and swallowing, have taste changes, or have a depleted appetite because they are lonely, they may need a multivitamin supplement. Additionally, their bodies may have decreased absorption of certain nutrients, which may warrant a supplement.

People with poor absorption: People have decreased ability to absorb nutrients because of one of the following may benefit from a multivitamin.

  • Digestive conditions
  • Conditions that cause vomiting or diarrhea
  • Surgeries that alter the digestive tract
  • Alcoholism
  • Certain medications

Who May Not Benefit From a Multivitamin

It is important to note that different multivitamins contain different combinations and doses of nutrients, which should be reviewed with a healthcare provider before beginning that supplement. Some people need to be cautious about certain nutrients. For example, iron, which is found in many multivitamins, may cause constipation for some people, especially those who already have digestive problems. Other nutrients like potassium can be problematic for people with certain health conditions like chronic kidney disease. 

People who may not benefit from a multivitamin include:

Those who eat a well-balanced diet: If you eat a well-balanced, varied diet, you likely don’t need a multivitamin, especially if you are not pregnant and do not have any health conditions.

Those taking individual supplements: “Those who take a variety of nutritional supplements should evaluate whether taking a multivitamin along with their other pills will result in excessive intake of nutrients,” says Manaker.

Those taking certain medications: Multivitamins can interact with certain medications, so be sure to check with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements to ensure they are safe.

Best Overall: Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/Day

Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/Day

Thorne Research

Pros
  • NSF certified for sport

  • Vegan

  • Organic

Cons
  • 2 capsules per serving

We are a big fan of many of Thorne's products, since they prioritize quality and often have third-party certifications. The Basic Nutrients 2/Day is no exception—it covers the multivitamin bases without unnecessary extra herbs or enzymes found in many multivitamins on the market. It's also NSF certified for sport, a robust credential that verifies supplement contents and ensures it is free of unsafe levels of contaminants and substances banned for athletes.

It contains the active form of folate, which may help your body absorb and utilize this nutrient. It also contains vitamin K2, which is difficult for many people to obtain through diet (it’s primarily found in fermented dairy). Emerging research suggests K2, along with vitamin D, plays a role in bone health and cardiovascular disease.

Although it contains more B-vitamins than needed, our bodies can easily eliminate excess B vitamins, and therefore these nutrients are not known to be harmful in high doses. Since absorption rates vary from person to person, a higher dose might be beneficial for some people.

Because of the size of the capsule and the quantity of the nutrients included, it is a two-capsule dose, which some people may find cumbersome. You can split it up to different times of the day or take both capsules at the same time.

Form: Capsule | Serving Size: 2 capsules | Servings per Container: 30

Best Budget: Nature Made Multivitamin Complete

Nature Made Multi Complete Tablets

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • USP verified

  • Gluten-free

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • Contains iron

Nature Made Multi is a favorite among those looking for a quality vitamin at an affordable price. It contains a wide variety of essential nutrients, including an adequate dose of vitamin D, a vitamin that you may not be getting enough of. It is also third party certified by USP, one of the most reputable certification organizations.

Please note that this supplement contains 100% of the recommended daily amount of iron. While iron supplements are crucial for those who have an iron deficiency, some people find that supplementing with iron can lead to gastrointestinal distress. Additionally, you should not supplement with iron unless your healthcare provider has specifically recommended it, as overconsumption of iron can cause negative health repercussions.

Form: Capsule | Serving Size: 1 capsule | Servings per Container: 130

Best for Women: MegaFood Multi for Women

MegaFood Multi for Women

Walmart

Pros
  • Gluten-free

  • Non-GMO

  • Contains choline

Cons
  • 2 capsules per dose

  • Not third party certified

MegaFood is a high quality multivitamin with nutrients derived from whole foods. It contains adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin D and vitamin K2. We want to point out that MegaFood also contains 50% of the Adequate Intake level for women of choline. Choline is a nutrient that most people do not consume enough of and has been linked to a variety of positive health outcomes, though the jury is still out on whether or not taking a choline supplement is beneficial.

Please note that this supplement does not hold a third party certification that verifies that it contains what it says it contains. However, it is certified gluten-free by NSF, is tested for over 125 herbicides and pesticides, and is certified glyphosate residue-free. Glyphosate is an herbicide, or a chemical used on some crops to control weeds, which is relevant because this multi is derived from whole foods, many of which are plants that glyphosate may have been used on. MegaFood's vitamins are also dairy-free and soy-free.

Form: Capsule | Serving Size: 2 capsules | Servings per Container: 30

Best for Men: Nature Made Multi for Him

Nature Made Multi for Him

Vitacost

Pros
  • USP certified

  • Top pick by ConsumerLab

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • Large capsule

Nature Made Multi for Him is one of the few multivitamins that is USP certified and a top pick by ConsumerLab, so you can rest assured that it’s a good choice. A bonus is that it comes at a lower price point than many other multis. It contains adequate amounts of most vitamins and minerals without unnecessary large doses or extra add-ins.

Because iron-deficiency anemia is rare among men, this multivitamin doesn’t contain iron, which means less chance of digestive upset or constipation.

These tablets are gluten-free and contain no artificial colors or flavors.

Form: Capsule | Serving Size: 2 capsules | Servings per Container: 90

Best Gummy: SmartyPants Adult Formula Gummies

SmartyPants Adult Complete

Courtesy of VitaminShoppe.com 

Pros
  • NSF certified

  • Allergy-friendly

  • Omega-3s

Cons
  • Added sugar

  • Large serving size

NSF approved, the Smarty Pants Adult Formula is a good option if you're looking for a versatile multivitamin that can work for men and women of all ages. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which may offer additional health benefits.

These gummies are free of the major eight allergens and don’t contain artificial flavors or synthetic colors. And the bottles—although plastic—are made from recycled materials.

As with most gummies, they do contain added sugar (8 grams), so be mindful about how this fits into your total added sugar intake for the day.

Form: Gummy | Serving Size: 6 gummies | Servings per Container: 30

Best for 50+: SmartyPants Women's Masters 50+ Multivitamin

SmartyPants Women's Masters 50+ Multivitamin

Source: SmartyPants

Pros
  • NSF certified

  • Contains Lutein & Zeaxanthin

  • Omega-3’s

Cons
  • Added sugar

  • Large serving size

People over 50 have different nutrient needs—especially women. It can be important to consider vitamins that support bone health like vitamin D and K2 as well as those that can support healthy aging. We like SmartyPants Women's Masters 50+ because it covers many of the nutrient bases and is made by a brand that prioritizes quality.

Omega-3 fatty acids are linked to a number of health benefits including reduced inflammation and lower risk for chronic disease, and lutein and zeaxanthin may contribute to lower cholesterol and support eye health. As with other SmartyPants supplements, these are NSF tested and certified, making them a solid choice.

A serving size of four gummies contains 6 grams of sugar, which equates to a little more than a teaspoon's worth.

Form: Gummy | Serving Size: 4 gummies | Servings per Container: 30

Best for Kids: SmartyPants Kids Formula Daily Gummy Multivitamin

SmartyPants Kids Complete Daily Gummy Vitamins

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • NSF certified

  • Approved by ConsumerLab

  • Allergy-friendly & contains omega-3s

Cons
  • Added sugar

There are very few kids multivitamins that are third-party tested and approved, and Smarty Pants Kids Multi with Omega is approved by two—NSF and ConsumerLab. It also rose to the top because it’s free from all of the major eight allergens and contains omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, which is linked to improved learning and cognition in kids.

As with most gummy vitamins, one serving contains 5 grams of added sugar, which is relatively high for young kids.

Form: Gummy | Serving Size: 4 gummies | Servings per Container: 30

Final Verdict

For a quality multivitamin from a reputable brand, reach for Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/Day. It provides a wide variety of vitamins and minerals without unnecessary extras.

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. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab. 

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.

What to Look For in a Multivitamin

Third-Party Testing

Supplements that are third-party tested are sent to a lab where they are tested to ensure they contain what they say they contain and are not contaminated with specific high-risk, common contaminants. However, it’s important to note:

  1. Third-party testing does not test to see if a product is effective or safe for everyone, and it does not ensure the supplement will not interact with other supplements or medications.
  2. Not all third-party testing is created equal. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing. 
  3. The third-party certifications we can trust are: ConsumerLab, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations. 
  4. Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  5. Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies does not mean it’s a bad product. Research the reputability of the manufacturer, and call the manufacturer and their testing lab to determine their protocols to decide if you feel comfortable consuming the supplement.

Because multivitamins contain nutrients that can be toxic in excess, it’s important to choose a supplement that is third-party tested and verified to ensure that the levels on the label match what is in the supplement.

Form

Multivitamins are available in capsule, gummy, and liquid form. Gummies often include lower doses of each nutrient and typically don’t contain iron. Gummy and liquid versions often also contain added sugar, so check ingredients if you’re watching your sugar intake.

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

Medication Interactions: Multivitamins contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, some of which may interact with other medications or supplements. For example, vitamin K, which is found in most multivitamins, interacts with warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner. If you take a blood thinner, work with your doctor or registered dietitian to determine if a multivitamin is safe for you—and if so, at what dose. If you take other medications or supplements, be sure to review potential interactions with your healthcare provider.

Nutrient Absorption: Some nutrients may decrease the absorption of others. Iron and calcium compete for absorption, which is why most quality multivitamins will have one but not both. The mineral you need will depend on your diet. High doses of iron may also inhibit zinc absorption.

Added Ingredients: Many multivitamins also contain herbs, antioxidants, enzymes, and probiotics. Because the research on efficacy and safety varies significantly for each different additional ingredient, it’s best to choose a multivitamin without additional ingredients and review the potential benefits of additional supplements with your healthcare provider. 

Multivitamin Dosage

There is no standard dose for multivitamins, though most manufacturers use daily values (DVs), dietary reference intakes (DRIs), and adequate intakes (AIs) to determine dosage of each vitamin or mineral.

Some manufacturers add more than the recommended amount of certain vitamins and minerals since emerging research suggests there may be additional benefits from higher doses. In addition, the nutrient bioavailability (the amount your body absorbs) from supplements varies by vitamin or mineral type and form, so higher amounts of certain nutrients may be included assuming your body won't absorb the entire dose.

How Much is Too Much?

It’s important to ensure that no nutrients in your multivitamin exceed the upper limit as established by the National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

Your body filters and eliminates excess water-soluble vitamins (the B vitamins and vitamin C), so it is difficult to over-consume these. However, fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E, D, and K) can be stored in fat tissue and are dangerous when consumed in excess. The minerals iron, calcium, iodine, magnesium, selenium, copper, molybdenum, and manganese also can be damaging if consumed in excess.

You can help ensure that you are not exceeding micronutrient upper limits by running your multivitamin pick by your healthcare provider before you start taking it, sticking to reputable multivitamins that do not have unnecessary additives, and getting annual blood work to make sure your micronutrient levels are within the normal range.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do multivitamins work?

    In short, it depends. Whether or not a multivitamin works for you depends on your specific diet, health goals, and if you take it consistently.

    “Multivitamins are an excellent addition if a person is not eating a well-balanced diet or they are eliminating entire food groups—which can result in nutrient gaps. People who take certain medications, like oral hormonal birth control, may benefit from taking a multivitamin as well, as this medication may deplete certain vitamin levels when they are taken for a long period of time,” says Manaker. Other people who may benefit from a multivitamin are pregnant people, older adults, and people with malabsorption issues.

  • When is the best time to take a multivitamin?

    The best time of day to take a multivitamin is when you can remember to take it consistently. However, there are benefits to taking it with food or shortly after a meal. Many vitamins and minerals—specifically those that are fat-soluble—are best absorbed when consumed with food. In addition, some people find that taking a vitamin on an empty stomach can lead to nausea or other digestive upset. 

    Also, note any potential interactions with other supplements or medications you may take to determine the best schedule for you.

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

    Nutrient needs vary by individual and will depend on your specific diet, nutrient deficiencies, and reasons for taking a multivitamin. Some nutrients, such as vitamin D, folic acid, calcium, and iron, can take longer to reach optimal levels, so those with deficiencies may benefit from taking them daily.

  • Can you take multivitamins at night?

    Yes, multivitamins can be taken at night, and some people find they tolerate them better with a meal, so dinner time or shortly after can work well. However, it’s important to pay attention to any possible nutrient-to-nutrient interactions or interactions with your medications, in which case you might need to take your multivitamin at a different time of day from when you take your other medications or supplements.

  • Do multivitamins prevent chronic disease?

    The research on the benefits of multivitamins in warding off chronic disease is mixed. While there is some research to show that people who take a multivitamin have better health, it is hard to draw conclusions from this research. Most research on multivitamin use and chronic disease is observational. This kind of research relies on participant reporting, which is not always accurate.

    Additionally, it has been shown that people who take multivitamins also exhibit other healthy behaviors like eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, and not smoking. Therefore it’s difficult to conclude that multivitamins are the factor improving health.

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