What should I look out for in a multinutrient?

Let’s face it, every one of us could probably stand to be a little healthier. Whether that’s making sure we stay hydrated all day, turning our phones off once in a while or adjusting our nutrition - small changes can lead to big results in the way we feel each day. 

This is where multinutrients and multivitamins come in. We all know that vitamins and minerals play vital and wide ranging roles in the body. They convert our food into energy, make neurotransmitters and DNA, strengthen our immune system and repair our damaged tissues, and so much more. Taking a multivitamin every day can help to fill any gaps in your nutrition that might not be quite covered by your diet and prevent the development of nutritional deficiencies. 

Nutritional deficiencies widely occur when a person’s diet is lacking in key areas, such as making sure we eat enough fruit, vegetables and healthy fats. On top of this, eating too many processed foods, can also increase the chances of nutrient deficiency and if that wasn’t already enough to worry about, daily stressors can increase the amount of nutrients we excrete, meaning that our requirements become even higher (Harvard School of Public Health, 2020).

Some multivitamins or multinutrients aren’t doing as much for you as they might be. Being able to discern whether a supplement is going to help you achieve your goals is important. Choosing a high quality multivitamin which suits your needs is imperative - otherwise you’re not getting the most for your hard earned cash! Here are a number of things to look out for when choosing a high quality multivitamin or multinutrient. 

Third Party Testing: The supplement industry isn’t as highly regulated as the food industry, so make sure that any multivitamins you choose are third party tested, preferably at the ingredients’ source, and that full reports are available. This will help to ensure that your multivitamin doesn’t contain any hidden contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides and fungicides. Vivo Life’s Vegan Multinutrient Capsules are third party tested for this very reason. 

Look for Magnesium, not Magnesium Oxide: If you’re looking for a multinutrient which contains magnesium, then make sure that you’re not using one with magnesium oxide. Magnesium oxide is a cheaper form of magnesium which is less bioavailable and does not offer the benefits of higher quality magnesium (Schwalfenberg and Genuis, 2017). THRIVE, our multinutrient and greens powder, contains magnesium extracted from the Irish sea to ensure the highest quality and to ensure that you’re getting all the benefits of this amazing mineral, including lowering stress levels and better sleep - both of which are great for your nutritional health! (Wienecke and Nolden, 2016)

Look for Calcium, not Calcium Carbonate: Like magnesium, calcium is an important part of a multivitamin and the type of calcium included indicates the quality of that supplement. Calcium carbonate can cause calcium deposits in the body as the human body finds it difficult to absorb, so it has nowhere else to go! (Carroll et al., 2000)

Look for methylcobalamin, not cyanocobalamin: Both of these complicated sounding compounds are forms of Vitamin B12, which everyone needs to make sure they’re getting enough of. Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of B12, and is the most cost effective, but it is not the best in terms of quality. Methylcobalamin, being a natural form of B12, is more easily recognised by the body, can be absorbed more easily, and has a better bioavailability. All of this means that your body can use more of the B12 which is in the supplement itself (Carmel, 2008).

Avoid Maltodextrin, and other artificial thickeners: Maltodextrin is made from highly refined ingredients. Although they are typically used in other products, such as meal replacements, thickeners can sometimes find their way into multinutrients, especially those in powdered form. They rank highly on the Glycemic Index, which can cause blood sugar spikes, and can be digestion-resistant, which might cause stomach problems (Abellán Ruiz et al., 2015).

Avoid Saccharin, and other artificial sweeteners: If you take a multivitamin in a capsule or tablet, this is less likely to be a concern. However, chewable or gummy vitamins may well contain artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame and acesulfame to make their taste palatable. These can be detrimental to the health of your gut and can interfere with blood sugar levels. Look for products which are naturally sweetened with Stevia instead (Ruiz-Ojeda et al., 2019).

In short, when choosing a multivitamin or multinutrient, choosing a high quality, third party tested supplement with whole foods plant-based ingredients will ensure that you’re getting the best possible nutrients, giving you the best results. Choosing a supplement from Vivo Life not only ensures that you’re doing right by your body, but also right by the planet, whether you prefer your supplements in capsule form, or as a greens powder you can add to water, smoothies, or shakes - we’ve got you covered. 

Sources:

Schwalfenberg, G.K. and Genuis, S.J. (2017). The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica, [online] 2017, pp.1–14. doi:10.1155/2017/4179326.

Carroll, D., Ring, C., Suter, M. and Willemsen, G. (2000). The effects of an oral multivitamin combination with calcium, magnesium, and zinc on psychological well-being in healthy young male volunteers: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Psychopharmacology, 150(2), pp.220–225. doi:10.1007/s002130000406.

Abellán Ruiz, M.S., Barnuevo Espinosa, M.D., Contreras Fernández, C.J., Luque Rubia, A.J., Sánchez Ayllón, F., Aldeguer García, M., García Santamaría, C. and López Román, F.J. (2015). Digestion-resistant maltodextrin effects on colonic transit time and stool weight: a randomized controlled clinical study. European Journal of Nutrition, 55(8), pp.2389–2397. doi:10.1007/s00394-015-1045-4.

Carmel, R. (2008). How I treat cobalamin (vitamin B12) deficiency. Blood, 112(6), pp.2214–2221. doi:10.1182/blood-2008-03-040253.

Ruiz-Ojeda, F.J., Plaza-Díaz, J., Sáez-Lara, M.J. and Gil, A. (2019). Effects of Sweeteners on the Gut Microbiota: A Review of Experimental Studies and Clinical Trials. Advances in Nutrition, [online] 10(suppl_1), pp.S31–S48. doi:10.1093/advances/nmy037.

Harvard School of Public Health (2020). Stress and Health. [online] The Nutrition Source. Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/stress-and-health/.

Wienecke, E. and Nolden, C. (2016). Long-term HRV analysis shows stress reduction by magnesium intake. MMW Fortschritte der Medizin, [online] 158(Suppl 6), pp.12–16. doi:10.1007/s15006-016-9054-7.