What Does the Best Multivitamin for the Whole Family Contain?
Multivitamins come in all shapes and sizes, often taking various forms (from liquid to solid to sublingual) and showcasing a wide array of ingredients. Supplements like these may also be designed to fit specific needs based on the user’s lifestyle, age, health background, and more. Despite these design variations, however, the base ingredients of many multivitamins remain the same, as most human beings tend to have very similar nutritional needs across all age groups. So, among all these choices, how do you select the best multivitamins for the whole family? What sorts of ingredients should you be looking for on the label? Read on to learn more about a few of the most essential vitamins and minerals as well as how they can benefit you and your loved ones.
Let’s begin by taking a look at which vitamins your body needs on a daily basis: the B complex vitamins and vitamins A, D, E, and K. All of these nutrients play their own unique roles within your body, making each one a vital part of your diet and your multivitamin.
Vitamin A is perhaps most notable for its importance in eye health and good vision. This micronutrient helps your eyes both perceive color and see in low light. In terms of the eyes themselves, vitamin A protects various parts of your eye, such as the cornea (the outermost part of the eye) and the conjunctiva (a membrane covering the surface of the eye) (1). Healthy amounts of vitamin A are a necessary part of maintaining the health of these areas as well as normal vision. Other systems in your body that benefit from vitamin A include immunity, reproduction, heart, lungs, and kidneys.
The B complex vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12) play a vital role in several areas of the body. They are well known for providing energy by boosting the metabolism of cells and assisting in the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats (2). A few of these nutrients also benefit neurological function and development, especially via their part in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin.
Vitamin D is necessary for both the immune system and the health of your bones. In terms of bone health, vitamin D is a key component in calcium absorption, helping your intestines to absorb it more efficiently (3). Calcium is, of course, needed to build strong bones and maintain their structure.
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E protects cells from damage caused by free radicals, reactive molecules that can lead to the development of serious health conditions like cancer, vision loss, and cardiovascular disease (4). Vitamin E also provides a boost to the immune system, helping it fight off unwanted viruses and bacteria.
Vitamin K is involved in your body’s production of various proteins, including prothrombin (necessary for blood clotting) and osteocalcin (builder of healthy bones) (5). Similar to vitamin D, it may also have a part in the absorption and metabolization of calcium.
Next, we will break down the functions and benefits of a few important minerals, including chromium, selenium, iodine, and zinc. Though they are not the only minerals your body needs, they are necessary for overall wellness and should be included in any multivitamin that claims to be the best.
Chromium is a mineral that assists in the completion of routine bodily functions, such as digesting food and moving glucose (blood sugar) into cells. Evidence indicates that chromium helps cells respond more readily to insulin as well. Anyone suffering from increased insulin resistance due to type 2 diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may find chromium particularly beneficial, as healthy amounts of it may keep blood sugar levels under control (6).
A trace mineral, selenium is only necessary to the body in small amounts. However, this nutrient is vital to the production of DNA as well as the regulation of the reproductive system and thyroid gland (7). Similar to vitamin E, it may also have the ability to protect cells from free radical damage.
The mineral iodine is required for production of the body’s thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating metabolism in all individuals and for facilitating development in both the bones and brain throughout pregnancy (8).
Despite being a trace mineral, zinc is a jack of all trades when it comes to wellness. Its anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties benefit skin while its role in the function of immune cells makes it an excellent immunity booster as well.
- Kubala, Jillian. “Vitamin A: Benefits, Deficiency, Toxicity and More.” healthline, 4 October 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a.
- “Vitamin B6.” Harvard School of Public Health, 2022, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-b6.
- “Vitamin D for Osteoporosis.” WebMD, 25 October 2020, https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/guide/vitamin-d-for-osteoporosis.
- “Vitamin E Fact Sheet for Consumers.” National Institutes of Health, 22 March 2021, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-Consumer.
- “Vitamin K.” Harvard School of Public Health, 2022, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-k.
- Healthwise Staff. “Chromium.” University of Michigan Health, 23 September 2020, https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ut1024spec.
- “Selenium.” Harvard School of Public Health, 2022, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/selenium.
- “Iodine Fact Sheet for Consumers.” National Institutes of Health, 22 March 2021, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-Consumer.