How to Find the Best Multivitamin: 5 Facts Every Educated Consumer Needs to Know

Written by Suresh Nair, PhD

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Would it surprise you to know that multi-vitamins are the most common dietary supplement used in the U.S., consumed by nearly a third of all adults? When the average person adds a nutritional supplement to their diet, a multivitamin is likely to be the first choice, because it feels to them like they’re taking out “insurance” on their health.

Traditionally, a daily multivitamin is meant to prevent nutritional deficiency. The specific combination of essential vitamins and minerals in these supplements is deliberately designed to resemble healthy diet patterns, specifically that of regular fruit and vegetable consumption.

It’s not just the average Joe and Jane though that take multivitamins.

Professional healthcare providers believe in dietary supplements too. In an online survey, 900 physicians and 277 nurses were asked whether they used dietary supplements and whether they recommended them to their patients.

The “Life…supplemented” Healthcare Professionals Impact Study (HCP Impact Study) reported that 51% of physicians and 59% of nurses surveyed used dietary supplements regularly to maintain their overall health and wellness [1].

When asked whether they recommended dietary supplements to their patients, 79% of the physicians and 82% of nurses surveyed said they did [1].

Clearly, there’s something to be said for the multivitamin approach to help ward off nutrient deficiencies!
However, as an educated consumer, what should you know about commercially available multivitamins on the market today and their potential effects on your health?

Let’s take a look at 5 important issues you should consider when selecting a suitable multi-vitamin to fulfil your health needs.

Fact #1: Research Shows Fruits & Veggies Lower Risk of Disease and Death

Fact #1: Fruits and Vegetables Lower Risk of Disease and DeathIn an ideal world, we would get all the micronutrients we need – both vitamins and minerals – in the right quantities from the fruits and vegetables in our diet.

Indeed, many studies have linked regular consumption of fruit and vegetables with a significantly lower risk of dying from all causes [2].

Lowered Risk of Dying From Cardiovascular Disease

For instance, the results of a 2014 meta-analysis of 16 prospective cohort studies showed that each daily increment of one serving of fruit or vegetables (up to five servings daily) lowered the risk of dying from all causes, especially from cardiovascular disease [3].

[Note: A “meta-analysis” uses a statistical approach to combine results from multiple studies to increase statistical “power” relative to individual studies, improve estimates of the size of the effect, and/or to resolve uncertainty when reports disagree. A “prospective study” keeps watch on a so-called “cohort” of subjects over a fixed period and waits for specific outcomes, such as the development of a disease – and tries to relate this to other factors, such as suspected risk or protection factors.]

Reduced Risk of 5 Types of Cancer

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study is another prospective study that examined the relationship between consumption of fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and cancer risk at 14 different sites in the body.

In the more than 500,000 study participants, increased intake of fruits, vegetables, and fiber was seen to reduce the risk of upper gastrointestinal tract, colorectal, liver, lung, and breast cancer [4].

Leafy Green Veggies Are Most Effective

Similarly, 71,910 female participants in the Nurses’ Health study and 37,725 male participants in the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study were asked to fill in food-frequency questionnaires. The results showed that fruit and vegetable intake of up to five servings daily was associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Of all the food groups studied, green leafy vegetables were the most effective at reducing risk of major chronic diseases and cardiovascular disease [5].

Fact #2: Nutrition Levels of Fruits and Vegetables Are Lower Than Ever Before… and Falling

Today, most of us buy our food instead of growing our own. Unfortunately, this has spawned a massive food production and delivery industry in which our health and well-being has become secondary to profit margins.

However, the nutritive value of the fruits, vegetables and other foods we consume has a direct impact on our health and plays a role in determining our susceptibility to various infections and diseases. As the end consumers of the modern food industry, we can no longer be certain that we can and do get all the essential nutrients we need for a healthy, long life from our diet alone.

For instance, we tend to assume that spinach has a certain amount of beneficial iron in it. However, unless the soil the spinach was grown in had sufficient iron to begin with, this is simply not true.

The fact that spinach had iron in it when it was measured decades back doesn’t mean that the spinach we’re buying today has the same beneficial levels of iron.

In fact, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) clearly shows that thanks to soil depletion and modern intensive agricultural methods, nutrients are being stripped from the soil in which our food grows. This has led to a steady decline in average nutrient levels in U.S. crops [6].

Animals Suffer From Depleted Soil Too

Numerous studies on laboratory and farm animals fed corn, soy, wheat, oats, and other crops grown in different soils have shown that their growth, vigor, and functional intelligence declined while simultaneously their susceptibility to various diseases increased, when fed crops grown in depleted soils, relative to more balanced soils.

Similarly, many health experts now believe that the poor nutrition in our foods lies at the root of many of our modern-day health problems and should be addressed first, and urgently at that.

Fact #3: Most Commercially Available Multi-vitamins Simply Don’t Work

Fact #3: Most Commercially Available Multivitamins Simply Don’t WorkIf we can’t be sure of getting the nutrition we need from our diet, then we may need to consider taking dietary supplements.

But here again we run into another massive problem – which is that many commercially available multivitamin supplements simply don’t work the way they’re supposed to. This can include fun gummy vitamins marketed for children, multivitamins for women, men, or seniors, and sadly, most of the typical vitamins sold in grocery and drug stores.

Let’s first be clear as to what exactly vitamins are. Vitamins are organic substances that originate mainly in plants and are essential in small amounts for our health, growth, reproduction, and maintenance.

Each vitamin performs a specific function in the body – in other words, one vitamin cannot replace another.

Vitamins are critical for our lives and health and need to be consumed regularly in our diet, because they either cannot be made at all or made in enough amounts in our bodies to do their job properly.

So, why don’t most commercially available multivitamin supplements work?

The main reason is because they’re made up of isolated, synthetic compounds that are chemically and structurally different from the actual “vitamin complexes” found in real foods.

And the news gets gets worse…

Most multivitamin supplements you can buy on the market today contain chemicals that were never part of our natural diet, did not originate in plants, and are unable to perform vitamin-like activities in our bodies.

It might be more appropriate to label many commercially available multi-vitamin supplements as “non-food vitamin imitations!”

Fact #4: Most Commercial Multivitamins Are Far From Natural

The disturbing fact is that most commercially available vitamins today are as far from being the “natural organic substances that originate primarily in plants” as they can possibly be.

Believe it or not, most of the vitamins that you will find on supermarket and even drug stores shelves are produced from petroleum extracts, coal tar derivatives, chemically processed sugar, industrially processed fish oils. What’s worse, acids and industrial chemicals such as formaldehyde are used to make them [7]!

Did you know that manufacturers of petroleum-derived supplements label their products as “vegetarian” – not because they are from plants, but because they are NOT from animals?

Also, some brands of synthetic vitamins are labeled “organic” simply because they contain carbon!

The unpalatable fact is this: most so-called “organic vitamins” available today are not really organic from the true naturopathic, or even the U.S. government’s own perspective.

How then can they benefit your health the way real food vitamins do?

Fact #5: Non-Food Vitamins are Different from Real Vitamins in Natural Foods

Fact #5: Non-Food Vitamins are Different from Real Vitamins in Natural FoodsThe physiochemical forms of many vitamins that are naturally present in real foods are very different from their synthetic versions, known as “analogs.”

For instance, vitamin A is present in foods as retinyl esters and mixed carotenoids. However, synthetic vitamin A analogs include vitamin A acetate and palmitate, and isolated beta-carotene.

Similarly, the real food forms of vitamin C include two variants of ascorbic acid, as well as their salts and other derivatives. However, synthetic vitamin C is made up only of isolated, crystalline ascorbic acid.

In other words, most commercial (non-food based) vitamins are artificially prepared chemicals made from non-organic sources – and they are chemically and structurally different from the healthful vitamins present naturally in foods.

Not surprisingly, evidence suggests that food-sourced vitamins are better absorbed and used more easily by our bodies.

Our Bodies Know What to Do With Food

There are many reasons for this difference, including the fact that real food-sourced vitamins exist in forms which our bodies find easy to recognize and absorb; real food-derived vitamins have smaller particle sizes which leads to better absorption; and “co-factors” present in the same foods as real food-sourced vitamins seem to enhance their absorption because of mutual interactions.

Food-sourced vitamins are biological complexes containing multiple components. Functional vitamin absorption and activity can only happen when all the co-factors and components of the vitamin complex are present and working together synergistically in our bodies. Indeed, studies have confirmed that real food-derived vitamins are nutritionally superior.

What’s the Ideal Multivitamin Supplement?

Our bodies have been designed to absorb and use vitamins, present in real foods as multi-component complexes that are synergistically interconnected with other nutrients, co-factors, and healthful elements present in natural foods.

Unfortunately, most of us today consume mega-doses of isolated pharmaceutical-grade vitamins, which are synthesized, standardized, isolated chemicals that are very rarely made from natural sources, if at all. Many of these synthetic vitamin analogs are simply not capable of performing vitamin-like biological activities in our bodies such as building bone strength – and may even be toxic at higher levels [8,9]!

In fact, most commercially available multivitamin supplements can best be described as nothing more than a jumbled assembly of many ill-fitting parts, an ineffective combination of metals and inorganic chemicals that accomplishes very little by way of health benefits.

Even if you take vitamins that have been extracted and purified from natural foods, they will simply not be as effective, since they have been separated from the other essential components of their functional complex.

In summary – as an educated consumer you need to be aware that an ideal multivitamin supplement should contain the entire intact vitamin complex with all the co-factors and essential trace minerals necessary for the given vitamin to function synergistically in our bodies in terms of its bioavailability, efficacy, and safety.

If you’re not getting all the nutrients and antioxidants you need from food, your best source is whole food vitamins. Organixx Multi-Vita-Maxx contains 21 uniquely fermented vitamins and enzyme-activated minerals that are more “bioavailable” and easily absorbed by your body than the synthetic compounds found in most supplements.

Organixx Multi-Vita-Maxx
Suresh Nair, PhD
Suresh Nair, PhD, is a health writer who has written hundreds of informative blog posts, long articles, and eBooks on alternative health and nutrition since 2010. With a PhD in Molecular Neurobiology from UPenn and having been a laboratory scientist for 17 years, his content is always thoroughly researched and has a sound scientific basis. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

Article Summary

  • Traditionally, a daily multivitamin is meant to prevent nutritional deficiency.

  • 5 important issues you should consider when selecting a suitable multi-vitamin for your health needs:

    • Research shows fruits & veggies lower risk of disease and death
    • Nutrition levels of fruits and vegetables are lower than ever before… and falling
    • Most commercially available multi-vitamins simply don’t work
    • Most commercial multivitamins are far from natural
    • Non-food vitamins are different from real vitamins in natural foods
  • Evidence suggests that food-sourced vitamins are better absorbed and used more easily by our bodies.

  • Most commercially available multivitamin supplements can best be described as nothing more than a jumbled assembly of many ill-fitting parts, an ineffective combination of metals and inorganic chemicals that accomplishes very little by way of health benefits.

  • An ideal multivitamin supplement should contain the entire intact vitamin complex with all the co-factors and essential trace minerals necessary for maximum bioavailability, efficacy, and safety.

Reader Interactions


    • Hi Trevor,
      Are you referring to Walgreens the pharmacy? If so, Fulvimax is a supplement and Walgreens is a physical location (pharmacy).

      • Trevor probably wanted to know the difference between your multivitamin and the ones that you buy at Walgreens.

  1. Are any of these good quality supplements available in South Africa and where? How can i get them? And are there any cash discounts for poor unemployed medically bordered pensioners?

    • Hi Trevor,
      All of our products are able to be shipped to South Africa. You just have to change the country to South Africa on the purchasing page and then enter your address.

    • Hi Paul,
      Thanks for your comment.
      3 pills of Fulvimax is the recommended dosage for an adult.

    • Not really, as companies like Amway
      don’t specialize in health products.
      Other multi level marketing companies like USANA do specialize
      and their products (which are not cheap) are far superior.

      • What does being a multi-level marketing company have to do with quality. Your trying to infer by innuendo that people shouldn’t use Amway health products, but you don’t actually say anything about their quality – probably because you don’t know and they are your competitor.

  2. It is a pity you do not include the bill in the package, now the Dutch customs estimated the worth of the ordere 6 bottles of ulvimax and had to pay € 45,00 euro import tax because that a is what they do on vitamins so no thank you will not porder any more.

    • Hi Angelina,
      Thank you for your comment!
      Customs information varies per country, city and other regional boundaries. None of the customs fees come to us at Organixx (previously known as Epigenetic Labs).
      You would need to contact your local post office for more information.
      International shipments may incur additional import duties and fees. Organixx is not responsible for any additional charges incurred.
      Hope this helps clarify things.
      Please let us know if you have any further questions.
      Have a great day!

      • I think she was referring to not having and invoice inside the box, which led Customs to over-value the products, and hence charge higher import fee.

  3. Hi.
    I currently take USANA vitamins. They State that their products are independently tested. USANA is supposedly the top vitamin company. What do you think?
    I did just purchase optimoxx liver and kidney and colon and lymphatic.

    • Did you read the article? Because vegetables and fruit grown in conventional commercial operations become less and less nutrient dense as soil become depleted, it becomes necessary to get the missing nutrients elsewhere – I.e. In supplements or in the risk of nutrient deficits.

  4. Would taking fulvimax make your urine to be reddish in color? I noticed that when I took it and normal color when I stopped. Please confirm

  5. Thanks a lot to the writer. I have gone through the whole article. I have been able to gather a lot of knowledge from this article. Hope to get this kinds of article in near future.
    Wish of best of luck.

  6. Thanks for you info sadly you have not covered the mass of fake vitamins in UK also US what is being done about it, you do state ‘vitamins don’t work well they do when they are genuine fake vitamins only contain fillers such as silica and Talc they are NOT essential vitamins, I have ceased buying vitamin supplements because I know the are fake, for example Holland and Barret all fake and do not buy on eBay / amazon ..all fake

  7. I assume laboratory testing is being performed on every batch of product Organixx is selling. How would a customer be able to obtain or verify testing is being performed. Who is doing the testing and what determines the pass or fail criteria for the batch product being tested?

    • Kent,
      All finished products undergo finished product testing as defined in specifications. Our manufacturer is 3rd party certified by NSF International, an independent global health and safety organization, to make sure that the products we make meet strict standards for consumer health protection and comply with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) Requirements for Dietary Supplements. All Organixx products and ingredients meet or exceed FDA and California proposition 65 specifications for purity from harmful metals. They are tested for antibiotics and pesticides with results that far exceed industry standards. At this time, we do not have testing results available to share, but we still stand by the quality of all of our products.

  8. I totally agree! I have a source of 32 vine-ripened non-GMO whole fruits & vegetables in capsules and chewables for children. They are backed by 32 published peer-reviewed clinical studies done by university facilities world-wide. Email me , if you’d like more information.

  9. About 45 years ago [yeah!], I had a naturopathic teacher for whom the very concept of taking together liposoluble vitamins [like A and E, for instance] and hydrosoluble ones [C, Bs, etc.] was anathema. It made perfect sense to me and I never took multivitamins. Was there something essentially “wrong” with his reasoning or has something drastically changed over the years in this regard [besides the glorification of Convenience, I mean]?

  10. I value you and your company therefore I would appreciate your thoughts and knowledge regarding “Juice Plus” as I am taking their three different blended fruits, and vegetable juice powders.

  11. From all the summits I have listened to over the this year it would seem that at least 50% of all people living in america are sick with some illness or chronic decease. Real food and the correct lifestyle is what is needed together with the right nutrition. Supplements, vitamins, multivitamins, micro-nutrients etc on that basis appear not to be working. People will do what they want and think best and just will not listen. A good dose of vitamin C of say 4000 mg a day would be a good starter for people of any age to follow and that includes children. I live in Portugal so get plenty of vitamin D which helps. Happy thanksgiving day to you all.

    • Hi Jeri,
      Multi Vita Max is not yeast-free because it contains saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as brewers yeast.

  12. It’s says folic acid in your product. Isn’t folic acid synthetic and you mean folate? I have MTHR mutation so have to be careful with type of folate. I usually take methylated folate. Does this matter in your product as I would like to try it

    • Sue,
      There are no synthetic ingredients or preservatives in this product. All ingredients are fermented or enzyme activated, fully bioavailable, non-synthetic from food sources. No ingredients are added to our products other than what is listed on the label. The Multi-Vita-Max formulation derives its folate from natural sources such as Red Lettuce, Green Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Purple Cabbage, and Broccoli.

  13. Guys! I love your company and I love your products and what you stand for. However, in the nutritional supplement industry, particularly with repsect to multivitamins, USANA Health Sciences sets the standard and they are second to none. They voluntarily meet the “GMPs” established for the pharmaceutical industry, which is certified by NSF International; they have the highest level of research in the industry; they partner with the Linus Pauling Institute and their founder, Dr. Myron Wentz, a genius in the field of immunology and microbiology, and was the 2007 Recipient of the Albert Einstein Award for his achievements in the life sciences. Can you top that?
    So while I STRONGLY support your company and your products, I have to stay with USANA for the multivitamins.
    I would like to hear your opinion.

  14. Why does the vitamin contain Brewers yeast? Does someone that is prone to yeast infections at risk when taking his vitamin? Do you have it available without?

    • The word “This” needs to be separated from the Web address I gave in my comment. I don’t see a way for me to do the editing. Sorry.

  15. Everybody says their product is better than the next one. Time for some major “before and after” tests so PROOF of performance can be provided otherwise we are all being conned.

  16. I’m taking GNC superfoods Ultra Mega Green Women’s
    Whole Food Enhanced Multivitamin. Do you think this is good?

  17. Some great stuff about multivitamins in this post. So important to make sure the ingredients in a daily multi are sourced from real plants and vegetables. It’s hard for me to trust a supplement without first making sure I understand exactly what goes into it and where it comes from…thanks for the info!

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