Supplement Saturday: My Search for a Multivitamin

 I've been taking a multivitamin for years, probably starting around when I started studying nutrition in college. But, I started the search for a good quality multivitamin only about two years ago. 

Before that, I bought my multivitamin & any other supplements (primarily calcium, vitamin D, & flax oil) at the grocery store or a mass retailer, like Target. I knew that multivitamins & supplements weren't well-regulated, but I didn't really care about it. I was satisfied with the products I'd been buying...until I bought a store-brand supplement that seemed to give me severe headaches in 2020. 

Characteristics I Look For In a Multivitamin: 

1. Quality Testing. This is now a must for me. Testing is important to ensure that the product I am buying contains what it says it contains & does  not contain unwanted contaminants. Sone of the brands available in stores do test their products. For example, many Nature Made products have the USP-verified seal on them. 

Another dietitian recommended I try Emerson Ecologics, which sells quality supplements to healthcare professionals.  All of the products available through Emerson Ecologics have to pass a quality assessment. In addition, Emerson Ecologics has silver & gold quality partners whose products are tested quarterly to confirm that they continue to meet quality standards. 

Although you have to be a healthcare professional to purchase directly from Emerson Ecologics, my readers & clients can purchase from my Emerson Ecologics' Wellevate store.

2. Iron-containing. Not all multivitamins contain iron. Some brands don't include iron in their vitamins because it competes with calcium for absorption. Others avoid iron because of a risk of iron overload.

Not everyone needs an iron-containing multivitamin, either.  I, personally, look for a multivitamin that contains iron because I am a female of menstruating age, which means I have increased iron needs compared to humans who are not menstruating. Additionally, as a lacto-vegetarian, I primarily eat iron from plants & smaller amounts from dairy, which is different than the iron in meat, called heme iron. Non-heme iron is not as easily absorbed by the body. So, taking a multivitamin with iron helps me feel confident that I am getting enough.

3.  Tolerable Magnesium Dosage and Form. You may be familiar with milk of magnesium, a laxative made from magnesium. I don't need or want my multivitamin to have a laxative effect. 

This doesn't mean that you need to avoid magnesium in your multivitamin, though.

Many people can take magnesium supplements or magnesium in a multivitamin without a laxative effect. For some people, it can depend on the form of magnesium. Magnesium supplements can come in different chemical compounds, like magnesium oxide, magnesium carbonate, magnesium glycinate, or chelated magnesium. 

Although magnesium oxide is usually the least tolerated, I've had diarrhea after taking multivitamins with the other forms of magnesium, too, especially in higher doses. For example, one expensive multivitamin I tried has 600 mg chelated magnesium or about 150% daily value. This is too much for my digestive system!

In comparison, the multivitamin I've been taking recently has 200 mg dimagnesium malate, which has been more tolerable for me. 

Readers, do you take a daily multivitamin? If so, what do you look for in your multi?


The information provided in this blog is not intended to replace individualized medical advice provided by your own doctor, dietitian, or other healthcare professional.
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