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The premise of a multivitamin is simple. A supplement that combines all the extra nourishment you need in a handy once-a-day dose. So, why is it so difficult to choose the right one? Here we explain more about the role of these supplements to help you work out what’s the best multivitamin for you.
Multivitamins are supplements that contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. They come in a baffling array of vitamin and mineral combinations and formats. There are vegan multivitamins, multivitamins for kids, chewy multivitamins, and effervescent ones that fizz. There are even Peppa Pig multivitamins for fans of the animated hog.
There are 13 vitamins and at least 16 minerals that are vital to your wellness.1 It’s completely feasible to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need by eating. a healthy, balanced diet.2 However, a daily multivitamin is a convenient way to bridge any nutritional gaps when your diet isn’t providing enough of everything you need.
There are also certain groups of people that are more at risk of deficiencies. For example, if you follow a meat-free diet taking a vegetarian multivitamin may help to increase your intake of some vital nutrients that are typically obtained from meat. And there are also certain times in your life when your wellness may benefit from a supplement of specific vitamins and minerals.
The exact nutritional content varies significantly between individual products and brands. Your decision on what supplement you need will depend on:
If you have specific health concerns, please seek medical advice first.
The Department of Health and Social Care particularly recommends supplements in three situations. Folic acid during pregnancy, vitamin D during the autumn and winter, and a daily dose of vitamin A, C and D during early childhood.4
If you’re planning for pregnancy, it’s recommended you take folic acid for two to three months before you conceive and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant. So, look for a pregnancy multivitamin that includes your RDA of this important mineral.
During the autumn and winter, it’s harder to get all the vitamin D you need through sunlight on your skin and from eating a balanced diet. Because it's difficult to get enough of this vitamin from food alone, taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D helps tackle the deficiency.
The guidance recommends that children aged six months to five years should take a daily supplement containing vitamins A, C and D.
To make taking a supplement part of your daily routine, you need to find a type that you will want to take consistently. Here are five common forms:5
Here is a selection of multivitamins that could offer benefits to specific groups of people.
With thousands of products on the market, the process of choosing the best supplement can be overwhelming. The key is to consider your age, carefully assess gaps in your diet, and think about your lifestyle and health goals. But most importantly, remember that whatever the potency of a supplement, it’s shouldn’t replace a healthy diet.
Last updated: 11 April 2022