The best multivitamins to help you feel your best

The best multivitamins for men, women and children, plus advice from a nutritionist.

A selection of the best multivitamins on a gradient background

by Jade Moscrop |

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."

Multivitamins on a white table
©Photo: Unsplash

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.

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."

Related: Get the scoop on the best protein powder for your workouts

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."

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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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