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Choosing the Best Multivitamin for the Right Price

Updated on July 23, 2016
Choosing a Multivitamin can be difficult
Choosing a Multivitamin can be difficult

You could be Flushing Money down the Toilet

I believe we all would agree that getting our recommended daily dose of vitamins is crucial to our wellbeing. Vitamins are vital nutrients essential for organ growth and development. They help us grow, keep us energized, aid in healing and boost our immune system. There are 13 known vitamins, most of which are not produced by the body and must be consumed through our diet. Most of us know that getting our daily allowance in vitamins through healthy eating is important, but also know that this is almost impossible for many reasons. So in order to prevent a vitamin deficiency, we try to supplement our diet with a daily multivitamin. But with literally hundreds if not thousands of different brands with varying dosages and added ingredients, choosing a multivitamin that is right for you and does not lighten your wallet can be a difficult task. Learning about vitamin absorption, water soluble vitamins vs fat soluble vitamins, daily recommended values, and how to read labels will help you make an informed decision.

Education is Key

When it comes to choosing a multivitamin, educating yourself will not only benefit your health, but also save you money. For years, I thought I was taking the perfect multivitamin supplement money could buy. The price was a bit steep, but I figured money should not be an issue when it comes to your health. The brand was well known, and the packaging enticing. With claims of all natural ingredients, with over three and four and even up to 10 times the daily recommended value, added minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and enzymes, made this vitamin supplement very enticing to say the least. Or, so I thought. It was not until years later, after educating myself further, that I discovered how wrong I was. More is not always better! Let me explain why.

When choosing a multivitamin vitamin absorption is key
When choosing a multivitamin vitamin absorption is key

Vitamin Absorption: Fat Soluble vs. Water Soluble Vitamins

Vitamins can be classified into two groups. One group is water soluble vitamins and the other group is fat soluble vitamins. The water soluble vitamins are the eight B vitamins, and the fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. Let me briefly explain the differences in vitamin absorption. Fat soluble vitamins are soluble in fat and pass through the lymphatic system of the smaller intestine and into the blood stream, where it is stored in the liver and fatty tissues and released slowly into the body. Although this is rare, overdosing on these fat soluble vitamins can cause toxicity in the body and lead to health issues.

Water soluble vitamins on the other hand do not require fat, and are not stored in the body. The higher amounts of water soluble vitamins do not pose a threat to your health, but the excess amounts not used are flushed out of our body in our urine every day. This is what I call flushing your money down the toilet. Why pay for 50mg of a vitamin when you only need 5mg. In choosing a multivitamin, it is better to look at the label look for values closer to the 100% recommended value rather than way over.

When choosing a multivitamin, the table below will help you identify fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins. In this table we have also listed the chemical name and some but not all food sources for each of the 13 vitamins.

Vitamin Absorption Table: Fat Soluble Vitamins vs Water Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin
Chemical Name
Solubility
Vitamin A
Retinol, Retinal
Fat
Vitamin B1
Thiamine
Water
Vitamin B2
Riboflavin
Water
Vitamin B3
Niacin
Water
Vitamin B5
Pantothenic Acid
Water
Vitamin B6
Pyridoxine
Water
Vitamin B7
Biotin
Water
Vitamin B9
Folic Acid
Water
Vitamin B12
Cobalamin
Water
Vitamin C
Ascorbic Acid
Water
Vitamin D
Ergocalciferol-D2, Cholecalciferol-D3
Fat
Vitamin E
Tocopherol
Fat
Vitamin K
Phylloquinone-K1, Menaquinones-K2
Fat
Vitamin Absorption is key when choosing a multivitamin
Vitamin Food Sources - Choosing multivitamins
Vitamin Food Sources - Choosing multivitamins

Vitamin Food Sources

Vitamin A: Leafy vegetables, carrots, oranges, pumpkin, squash, most yellow and orange fruits, liver.

Vitamin B1: Asparagus, tuna, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, green peas, oatmeal, eggs, brown rice, potatoes, spinach, flax seeds, and various beans.

Vitamin B2: Green beans, asparagus, bananas, mushrooms, meats, spinach, soybeans, nuts, eggs, dairy products.

Vitamin B3: Peanuts, tuna, wild salmon, chicken, beef, turkey, potatoes, lentils, whole grain bread.

Vitamin B5: Avocado, yogurt, mushrooms, corn, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, eggs, squash, broccoli, collard greens, sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B6: Fish, chicken, turkey, spinach, potatoes, green peas, yams, broccoli, asparagus, peanuts, hazelnuts, whole grains, beans.

Vitamin B7: Eggs, chicken, liver, soybeans, peanuts, yeast, cheese, pork, salmon, avocado, raspberries, cauliflower.

Vitamin B9: Leafy greens, soybeans, sunflower seeds, bean sprouts, asparagus, peanuts, dairy, onions, potatoes, chicken, pasta and grains, nuts, fruits.

Vitamin B12: Shellfish, liver, fish, beef, lamb, cheese, eggs, milk, chicken, tofu.

Vitamin C: Kiwi, peppers, guavas, dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, papayas, oranges, tangerines, strawberries.

Vitamin D: Fish, oysters, soy products, dairy products, eggs, mushrooms, orange juice.

Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, various nuts, apricots, green olives, spinach, wheat germ oil, broccoli, mango, asparagus, tomatoes.

Vitamin K: Dark leafy greens, herbs, scallions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cabbage, cucumber, prunes.


Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin supplements are used to aid vitamin shortage caused by primary and secondary deficiencies. A primary deficiency would be caused by your diet, while a secondary deficiency would be a result of your lifestyle or health. For this reason, some individuals may need a higher dosage of a specific vitamin than others. In this case, only choosing a multivitamin may not be enough for your individual situation, and so additional vitamin supplementation may be required. Here is a list of causes for vitamin deficiencies.

  • Busy work schedules and little time to eat balanced meals
  • Stress and illness
  • Cooking or over cooking foods
  • Mineral depletion in soil and use of pesticides
  • Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use
  • Education – lacking knowledge necessary to make healthy diet decisions

When choosing a multivitamin, do you look at the label first?

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Choosing a Multivitamin right for you

As stated earlier, there are literally thousands of multivitamin brands sold in stores and on the internet today. Not all multivitamins we buy are created equal. The multivitamin supplement industry is not regulated, so getting what you pay for isn’t always easy. Overpaying for overdosed multivitamins is not recommended. So choosing a multivitamin brand that cover 100% of your daily vitamin intake or close to that number is best. Remember, if your intake of fat soluble vitamins is higher than your daily need, it will be stored in the body and excess water soluble vitamins will be flushed out through your urine. So if you do find a brand that has higher values than are recommended daily on the water soluble vitamins but the price is right, by all means feel free to purchase that multivitamin. On the other hand, if the fat soluble vitamins are way too high, you may want to consider choosing a multivitamin with less, especially if it is over-priced.

Now that you are better informed in choosing a multivitamin, you can head out, read the multivitamin labels with confidence and make a more educated and informed decision that will not only benefit your health, but also benefit your wallet.

I’ll even go one step further and make it real simple for you. I will share with you what multivitamin I use and why. The price for this multivitamin may seem steep at first, but once I go over the numbers, you will understand how this is truly a bargain. So here it is. The multivitamin I use is “Natures Way Alive! Multivitamin with Mega Nutrients”. This multivitamin is absolutely packed to the gills with vitamins and nutrients, and many other natural ingredients from both fruits and vegetables. Since the amount per serving and the % daily value are so high, taking the daily serving size (3 tablets) and dividing that by 3 still gives you more than enough of your % daily value when taking 1 tablet. So one bottle of 180 tablets, which normally would last you 60 days, now will last you 180 days or 6 months. Now that’s what I call a bargain. You do the math.

Closing Remarks

When choosing a multivitamin right for you, I strongly recommend, if nothing else, in taking a quality all natural multivitamin with added minerals and supplements. Knowing about vitamin absorption and vitamin solubility will help you make the right choice. Vitamin supplements are not meal replacements, but supplement deficiencies in your diet. Always try to eat a well-balanced diet daily. In no way do I recommend substituting medication with supplements to treat an illness. If you are on medication, it would also be advisable to consult with your doctor before taking any vitamin supplements.

I hope this article has helped you understand the importance of vitamin absorption and water soluble vitamins vs fat soluble vitamins, understanding daily recommended values, and how to read labels to better help you make an informed decision when buying your next bottle of multivitamins.

Comments

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    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 

      2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Thanks for the tip on the vitamins. My doctor is always stressing Vitamin D for bone structure, since I already have osteoarthritis. I like the fact that you mentioned all the foods that we can eat to get those much needed vitamins the natural way. I understand that is the best way. Thanks for sharing all this information.

      Blessings to you.

    • maalarue profile imageAUTHOR

      John Mark 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for stopping by RonDavy, and thanks for the tip.

    • RonDavy profile image

      RonDavy 

      5 years ago

      Vitamin C, and folic acid will help our gastrointestinal tract to absorb more iron and so is iron rich liver and green-leafy vegetables go hand-in-hand to make the other be absorbed by the body. So a proper combination of foods and vitamins is one of the key in taking nutrients for the body's health and well-being.

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