More people than ever before are focusing on their wellness, which comes in many different forms.
From wellness planners to mindfulness books and aromatherapy candles, wellness means different things to different people. As part of your journey, you might have started doing yoga, undertaken a new craft or decided to workout more - whatever works for you.
Along with the rise of wellness and taking care of our minds and bodies more effectively, came a surge in demand for supplements. According to food.gov.uk, the UK's food supplements market is forecast to reach £1 billion in 2021, with many of us heading online to purchase.
Furthermore, with COVID-19 at the forefront of our minds, lots of people decided to reach for supplements to give their immune systems a boost - it couldn't hurt, right? The humble multivitamin started appearing more frequently on shopping lists across the UK, but do you really need to be taking multivitamins? And which are the best brands to buy?
What are multivitamins?
Multivitamins are a food supplement containing a plethora of vitamins and minerals. While it's absolutely possible to get all of your recommended vitamins and minerals from a healthy, balanced diet, some people may be looking for a supplement to bridge any gaps in their current lifestyle.
Do we need to take multivitamins?
We spoke to Lauren Craven-Niemczyk, Head of Nutrition at Feel to find out more.
"Whilst the foundation of health comes from a balanced diet and lifestyle, multivitamins can provide a helping hand during our fast-paced, stressful modern lives. Due to a number of factors, it can be difficult to consume the optimal levels of nutrients on a daily basis.
"Many foods are thought to be lower in nutrients than they used to be, even 80 years ago. People’s diets contain far more processed foods nowadays, providing a reduced range of vitamins and minerals than nutrient-dense wholefoods.
"It’s also important to consider that many people have special diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free. These diets may carry an increased risk of deficiencies of nutrients, such as vitamin B12, calcium, iron and omega 3 fatty acids. Other factors, such as not being exposed to enough sunlight to produce vitamin D, may also lead to inadequacy."
Who should take multivitamins?
Lauren continues, "Most adults would benefit from taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement.
"During different life stages, our nutrient requirements do vary. For example, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the body’s demand for folic acid increases, to assist the baby’s nervous system development. During childhood, lower levels of vitamins and minerals are required due to smaller body size, and in older age, additional calcium, magnesium and vitamin D are often recommended to support bone health.
"For this reason, different multivitamins exist for each life stage, such as childhood, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for ages 50+, in addition to standard adult multivitamin supplements."
Now we know a little more about multivitamins, let's take a look at some of the brands that come highly rated within the sector. Keep reading for further FAQs.
Always speak to your doctor before taking any supplements, as they may not be suitable for you.
Do not take vitamin A supplements if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the near future, except on the advice of a doctor.
Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a balanced, varied diet and healthy lifestyle.
Best multivitamins for men, women and children
1. Centrum Advance Multivitamins and Minerals Tablet
These daily multivitamins from Centrum contain 24 key vitamins and minerals, including all 13 essential vitamins in one easy-to-swallow-tablet. These are not suitable for vegetarians as some ingredients are animal-derived.Review: "I really try hard to eat a varied and complete diet but there are times when it just doesn't seem possible. With the rigours of everyday life and combined with a "Christmas" menu I find it easy to slip into bad habits and then all too easily can start to feel a bit lethargic and generally under the weather. I start taking these around the end of October and run through until late spring with them, I find by then my activity levels and diet have improved to the point where I don't feel as though I need them any more."
2. Feel Multivitaminu2122
Feel prides itself on including only the best ingredients in their highest bio-availability and absorption rates. In these multivitamin tablets, you'll find 15 vitamins, 10 minerals and six phytonutrients, plus alpha-lipoic acid. The brand uses 100% sustainable packaging, and they're certified vegan.Review: "Very pleased with the product and feel much better after taking it. Using it for 6 months now. Can't recommend enough."
3. Nourished Vitamins
Want vitamins personalised to you and 3D printed? No, it's not some futuristic dream, it's really happening thanks to the team at Nourished. All you need to do is complete a quick quiz, choose your flavour preferences, and your personalised gummy stacks are printed and delivered in a handy letterbox sized box. They're vegan and sugar-free, and you can get 20% off your first two boxes with the code VITAMIN20.Tried and tested, Jade Moscrop: "I'm a big fan of vitamin gummies (because I have the palate of a 5-year-old, clearly), and I love the idea of my vitamins really targeting where I need to improve my lifestyle. My personalised stack included ingredients to aid with sleep, boosting my mood, increasing energy and compensating for deficiencies with my vegetarian diet. After a month of using them, my sleep has improved, my skin and hair looks and feels healthier, and I look forward to taking the delicious gummy vitamin every day.
4. Multivitamin & Multimineral for Men
Although Evity has a range of multivitamins for both men and women, this one, in particular, should be brought to your attention. Backed by science, this multivitamin not only provides nutritional and immunity support but also boosts energy and improves cognitive and muscle support. Review: "Amazing product! Feeling the results, other products have a funny smell but this was great. Highly recommend high quality and very reasonable price."
5. Bassetts Adult, Raspberry and Pomegranate Flavour, One A Day Soft and Chewy Multivitamin
If you dislike taking tablets, these soft and chewy adult multivitamins from Bassetts have been created with a blend of nutrients to support your immune system, release energy from your food and keep your hormones balanced. These aren't suitable for vegetarians. Review: "Such a good product. Pleasant and easy to take each day. Gives me all the vitamins I need daily. I recommended highly."
6. Multivitamin Gummies High Strength for Men Women
Looking for a vegan gummy multivitamin? This option from New Leaf comes highly rated. 13 vitamins and minerals are packed into these chewy bears, suitable for adults only.**Review: "**After trying a different brand of gummy vitamins which were so sweet, almost like eating sugar, I looked for a while and came across these which met all of the vitamins I need in my diet and I'm so pleased I've tried them. Will definitely not be going anywhere else for them. They are super tasty and make taking vitamins not such of a chore anymore, but like a treat instead."
7. Haliborange Kids Multivitamins Strawberry Softies
Haliborange's Multivitamin Softies are a tasty way for your child to get some of the essential vitamins they need every day. They include vitamin A to help support normal vision, vitamin C to help support the immune system, vitamin D for normal growth and development of bones in children and vitamin B12 for normal red blood cell formation. These are not suitable for vegetarians.Review: "Really great product, my kids love the taste and they are very fussy when it comes to the texture and taste of vitamins. They could eat these like sweets. Contains their daily essential vitamins according to NHS guidelines. Great price, the best I have seen online. Would definitely purchase again!"
8. NutriGenesis® Multi for Women
Calibrated for women's specific nutritional needs, NutriGenesis® Multi contains over 17 essential daily vitamins and minerals with whole-food cofactors for optimal absorption. They are vegan-friendly.Review: "You won't find a better multivitamin on the market, period. The ingredients in NutriGenesis are top shelf, a complete night and day difference than your average multivitamin. I'm only a week into using NutriGenesis and I'm only dosing 2 pills a day currently (4 pills is their recommended daily dosage), but I may go to 4 a day soon. I feel good knowing I'm helping my body get the nutrition it needs and will continue using this multi as a safety net for a long time to come."
9. NutriGenesis® Multi for Men
Performance Lab has also created a multivitamin specifically for men, again with over 17 essential daily vitamins and minerals with whole-food cofactors for optimal absorption. Vegan-friendly.Review: "Amazing, you actually feel the difference. I actually went down to half dose (only 2 a day) because I'd be feeling too active at night. With my diet and training, 2 in the morning, complemented by some recovery drinks and some electrolytes works perfectly well. Literally recovered my energy levels and mood that were going down after a whole year of training for an half ironman."
10. Allevi8 for Mind Body & Soul
If you're feeling low, this multivitamin takes inspiration from ancient Egyptian remedies, combining turmeric, frankincense and other natural ingredients to reduce stress and anxiety, along with pain and inflammation, while boosting immunity. Suitable for vegans.Review: "Third purchase of this product for my husband to help combat aching joints and general low mood and anxiety. He would not be without it and his mood has improved dramatically. He has tried other vitamin supplements before but these are by far the best! Highly recommended product."
11. Skin Food in a Box
Is your skin in desperate need of some extra goodness? Look & Health offers 'Skin Food In A Box' which includes the Pure-Col Collagen and Perfect Aloe Matrix supplements. Not only do they nourish your skin daily and give you that youthful glow, they also reduce fine lines, redness, boosting collagen levels and general well-being. Review: "It has been a couple of weeks now of using both supplements and I must admit, I have seen a change in my skin and general wellbeing. My skin especially feels plumper and the redness on my cheeks has settled."
12. JS Health DETOX + DEBLOAT FORMULA
Australian company JS Health are renowned for its award-winning and research-backed formulas. The Detox and Debloat vitamins (which includes 60-capsules) have been made to combat abdominal bloating and support natural liver detoxification processes. All vitamins are free from harmful fillers, binders, colours and preservatives. Review: "I honestly have been suffering from abdominal bloating for as long as I can remember (as I am unsure of the cause) and these JS Health vitamins seem to be the only formula that really works to reduce it. After just one month of use, my stomach has significantly improved, I'm getting way less cramps and I also feel so much better for it."
Do multivitamins really work?
Lauren told us, "A good-quality multivitamin will provide bio-available nutrients in sufficient quantities for the body, and so can be an effective way of ensuring you’re consuming the recommended levels of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis.
"However, not all multivitamins are created equally. The range of nutrients included, doses, and forms, all affect the bio-availability of the supplement – AKA, what your body is able to absorb and actually use.
"To ensure you are getting the most from your multivitamin, it’s important to buy from a reputable company specialising in good-quality supplements."
Is there anyone who should avoid multivitamins?
"Some health conditions can affect whether multivitamins are suitable to take. Equally, some prescription medications can change how your body processes certain herbs and nutrients. During pregnancy, in addition to ensuring you are meeting your daily increased nutrient requirements, it’s also important to ensure your vitamin A intake is not excessive, as high levels can affect the development of the baby. A specially designed pregnancy multivitamin will cater to these needs.
"Therefore if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking medication or have a health condition, it’s always best to check with your healthcare provider before you take a supplement."
How soon do multivitamins start working?
"As soon as your body has digested the multivitamin and the nutrients have been absorbed through the intestines, they begin to do their work. For example, B-vitamins such as vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 support energy production, and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Zinc supports normal cognitive (brain) function, as well as the maintenance of skin, hair and nails.
"It may take some time – weeks or months - for other nutrients to be built up in the body, especially if you have a prior deficiency. Examples of this include iron and copper, which are stored in the liver, and used by the body when required."
What to read next:
Jade Moscrop is the Deputy Editor for WhatsTheBest, specialising in lifestyle topics. She also writes for Closer, Heat, and Mother&Baby.
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