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Best and Worst Multivitamins for Seniors

Best and worst multivitamins for seniors

Photo credit: Rafael Roy


After writing my first article on multivitamins titled The Best and Worst Multivitamins and How to Design Your Own, I received requests for both an article on multivitamins for seniors and for prenatal vitamins. Neither of these are an easy feat because it is impossible to get everything you need in one pill. But I am also up to a challenge to help people simplify their search by knowing what to look for.

If you are interested in learning more details about multivitamins, I recommend reading my first article on multivitamins. Or if you just want to know the best and worst multivitamins for seniors, scroll right to the bottom. But for this article, I’m going to give you a roadmap for understanding what you need to know to prevent many of the disorders linked to aging, and how you can make informed decisions about your diet and supplementation.

The Baby Boomers

You may be surprised to learn that a senior citizen starts at age 60. I think the perception of this age has changed quite a bit in one generation, and 60 is starting to seem much younger. So in respect to my parents (who are 70 and 72) who hate the term “senior citizens,” I will refer to the group as the “older generations.”

The first year of the baby boomers turned 70 this year. Many of the people in this generation grew up with parents that smoked, drank too much, embraced margarine/vegetable oils, white bread, and sugar, and experienced a lot of cardiovascular disease. The baby boomers learned from their parent’s mistakes, for the most part. By simply dropping the smoking and margarine habit alone from the previous generation, they dropped the risk of cardiovascular disease considerably.

You hear a lot of negative statistics about the rates of disease as we age. The fact of the matter is that many of these diseases are not destined by fate or genetics, but actions. According to the CDC, heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis are the most common and costly and preventable of all health problems. What isn’t on this list is Alzheimer’s and dementia, which I believe can also be explained as a preventable.

Prescription Drugs Contributing to Cognitive Decline

According to the Harvard Center of Ethics, prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death, tied with a stroke. Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth-leading cause of death for those age 65 and older. I find it interesting that we focus a lot of attention of finding a cure to Alzheimer’s and dementia, yet very little attention is focused on the drugs that may be majorly contributing to cognitive decline in the first place.

In the book Drug Muggers and Supplement Your Prescription, you can look up what nutrients your drugs are depleting. In certain cases, your medications may be causing memory and other health disorders due to these depletions and toxicities.

  • According to WebMD, possible drugs that can cause memory loss include antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and pain medications given after surgery.
  • According to the CDC, the most frequently prescribed therapeutic classes include analgesics (pain killers), antihyperlipidemic agents (Statins) and antidepressants.

Interesting yes? Let’s not forget Statins which should also be on this memory list.

1. Anticholinergic drugs

These include nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, antidepressants, incontinence drugs and narcotic pain relievers. They block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the one that requires choline.


Vagus nerve, choline, memory


One study from the British Medical Journal looked at the use of anticholinergic drugs (nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, antidepressants, incontinence drugs and narcotic pain relievers) and tested 372 people over 60 years old without dementia. A total of 9.2% of the subjects continually used anticholinergic drugs during the year before cognitive assessment. Compared with non-users, they had poorer performance on reaction time, attention, delayed non-verbal memory, narrative recall, visuospatial construction, and language tasks. Eighty percent of the continuous users were classified as having mild cognitive impairment. Another study found a significantly higher rate of falls in elderly patients using anticholinergic drugs as well.

A french study looking at 4,128 women and 2,784 men that reported taking anticholinergic drugs showed a greater decline over four years in verbal fluency scores and in global cognitive functioning than women not using anticholinergic drugs. In men, an association was found with a decline in visual memory and to a lesser extent in executive function. Significant interactions were observed in women between anticholinergic use and age, apolipoprotein E, or hormone replacement therapy. A significantly 1.4–2 fold higher risk of cognitive decline was observed for continuous anticholinergic users.

One study bred mice to have dementia and poor memories with low brain acetylcholine concentration. The administration of phosphatidylcholine to mice with dementia improved memory, showing the link to acetylcholine.

Approximately 90 percent of Americans do not get enough choline. Now imagine you are 65 or older, taking a PPI, sleep aid, and a Statin. That spells trouble.

Choline can also be supplemented in capsules or liquid. For some people, choline supplementation can affect sleep.

2. Proton Pump Inhibitors

Deficiencies in vitamin B1 and B12 specifically can affect memory. How is this related to PPI’s? PPI’s block 99% of stomach acid, which is needed for B12 absorption, calcium, magnesium and numerous other vitamins and minerals. These drugs also increase the risk of disturbing valuable gut flora. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that German researchers looking at participants 75 years of age or older and free of dementia receiving regular PPI medication had a significantly increased risk of incident dementia compared with the patients not receiving PPI medication.

A study published in 2010 found that people with Alzheimer’s have low levels of SAMe in their brains. B12 in the form of methylcobalamin (not cyanocobalamin), helps produce more SAMe along with magnesium.

3. Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Lexomil, Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril)

Benzodiazepines are in the class of anti-anxiety, insomnia and seizure disorder medications and deplete biotin, folate, vitamin D and vitamin K. These are actually intended to only be used for a short time however some people may use them long term. In a study from the British Medical Journal, benzodiazepine use is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The stronger association observed for long-term exposures reinforces the suspicion of a possible direct association. According to researchers “unwarranted long-term use of these drugs should be considered as a public health concern.”

As of August 31st, 2016, the FDA sent out a press announcement issuing boxed warnings (the highest strongest warning) to combining prescription opioid analgesics, opioid-containing cough products and benzodiazepines due to the risk of death. According to the FDA Commissioner Robert Califf M.D., “It is nothing short of a public health crisis when you see a substantial increase of avoidable overdose and death related to two widely used drug classes being taken together.”

4. Statin Drugs

Crestor is the second highest prescribed drug at 21.4 million per month. As men and women age, cholesterol naturally goes up. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Your digestive system requires cholesterol to prevent infection, your hormones requires cholesterol as starting material, and your memory requires cholesterol to function. The reduction of cholesterol and increase of blood sugar by Statin drugs is most likely the reason the memory is affected, as reported by the FDA.

We know that with diabetes, the cells become resistant to insulin causing the pancreas to increase the amount of insulin released. What people may not know, is that in Alzheimer’s the part of the brain that is responsible for memory and personality also becomes resistant to insulin. Insulin is made in the brain in a similar way that it is made in the pancreas. In fact, insulin is responsible for helping build neurotransmitters and the tasks involved with learning and memory. Some researchers are now referring to Alzheimer’s disease as “type 3 diabetes.” Diabetics actually have up to a 65% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found a nearly 50 percent increase in diabetes among longtime statin users. A 2011 analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association and a 2010 analysis in The Lancet also found a higher risk of diabetes among those taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. According to the American Heart Association, adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes.

So essentially the impression is that cholesterol is a bigger risk factor than diabetes for heart disease, which is wrong. I highly recommend reading the article How to Interpret Your Cardiovascular Blood Work in 5 Easy Steps to learn about cholesterol numbers and more significant risk factors.

5. Lithium Deficiency

While lithium is a natural element and not a prescription drug, I think the research on lithium is worth noting in this section. Patients with mood disorders have been shown to have rates of dementia higher than those of the general population. Researchers found that continued lithium treatment was associated with a reduction of the rate of dementia to the same level as that for the general population and can actually be neuroprotective or even enhance the growth of neurons. Lithium is also a B12 carrier, so a combination deficiency of lithium and B12 would really affect brain health.

According to Dr. Nassir Ghaemi, a professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, “Lithium is, by far, the most proven drug to keep neurons alive, in animals and in humans, consistently and with many replicated studies. If lithium prevents dementia, then we may have overlooked a very simple means of preventing a major public health problem.”

What’s an easy way to get lithium? Add Concentrace Mineral Drops to your drinking water.

Addressing the Nutritional Needs of the Older Generations

Hippocrates once said, “all diseases begin in the gut.” According to the Journal of Clinical Nutrition “elderly persons who malabsorb macronutrients do so because of disease, not because of age.”

The malabsorption of micronutrients like B12 in the elderly is actually due to the high prevalence of atrophic gastritis, related to H. Pylori and low stomach acid. How many older people are on acid blockers for acid reflux! Acid reflux occurs from low stomach acid, not too much. Chronic gut inflammation is also due to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Aspirin, Tylenol etc.) accounting for the large majority of peptic ulcer disease. Nutrients whose absorption have been shown to be affected by low acid conditions in the stomach include folate, vitamin B-12, calcium, iron, and beta-carotene.

It has been shown that elderly persons (excuse me, older generation) with atrophic gastritis severely malabsorb folate, and can be corrected by administering folate along with hydrochloric acid. B12 supplementation is also superior for absorption over food for those with low stomach acid. B12 deficiency is even more pronounced in those with digestive disorders, gene variants in FUT2 and GIF, or those taking medications like proton pump inhibitors and Metformin.

Decreased skin synthesis of vitamin D, vitamin D absorption, vitamin D receptors in the intestinal epithelial cell and conversion to the active form of vitamin D have all been observed in the elderly. Vitamin A absorption actually increases, lowering the requirement for vitamin A. This could explain the osteoporosis study I explored here and why high vitamin A intake was correlated to osteoporosis.

The older generation have an increased vitamin B-6 requirement compared with younger people. A study done in 1990 found that in the United States that of 11,658 people, 91% of women and 71% percent of men were deficient in vitamin B-6 using the RDA, and 1 in 10 of the elderly in the US and Europe have been defined as deficient.

CoQ10 is the antioxidant energy molecule of the mitochondria, protects cell membranes and the oxidation of LDL. Production has been found to peak at age 20 and decrease as we age. Low CoQ10 causes low energy and accelerated aging. Statin drugs inhibit CoQ10 production. However, the production of CoQ10 can be encouraged. It can be boosted with exercise and vitamin B1, 2, 3, 4 5, 6, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin C, manganese, and magnesium.

Approximately 2/3’s of Alzheimer’s patients are women. Estrogen levels drop in post-menopausal women, affecting memory and choline production. Only 15% of women get enough choline. Choline plays a major role in memory. If you are female, eat your eggs daily, include many phytoestrogen-rich foods like flax seeds in your diet, and think twice about anticholinergic drugs.

The Worst Multivitamins for Seniors

1. Centrum Silver

The #1 Doctor recommended multivitamin makes my #1 for the worst multivitamin. Made by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, it brings in close to 1 billion in sales. Centrum uses synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol) and potentially synthetic beta-carotene (source not listed). Synthetic versions of beta-carotene have been shown to increase the risk of cancer in heavy smokers and drinkers, and accelerated the death and shortened the life span of rats exposed to radiation. But the natural form of beta-carotene decreased the death rate and significantly increased the life span of exposed rats.

Synthetic vitamin E has been shown to have little or no anticancer effectiveness, and may even increase prostate cancer. Centrum uses the oxide form of magnesium, which only 4% is absorbed. The poor form of B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), folate (folic acid) and B12 (cyanocobalamin) are also used. Folic acid appears to be potentially problematic as I explained here. The formula is missing K2 (important for heart and bone health) and boron (important for testosterone for men and bone density for women).

Centrum contains hydrogenated palm oil, a trans-fat highly correlated to heart disease, not to mention bushels of corn additives and all the horrible artificial colors including FD#C Blue #2, Yellow #6 and Red #40 found to disrupt mitochondrial function (the power house of a cell that is important for keeping you young).

A study published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology found that the dyes actually enter the bloodstream through the skin or digestive system, debunking previous expertise that the skin blocked it and the digestive system destroyed it first. This is alarming because these dyes have already been linked to ADHD, allergies, and asthma, but due to the dye’s ability to inhibit cellular respiration, a whole cascade of health effects.

2. Men’s One a Day and Women’s One a Day 50+

In another popular choice, you will find a similar formula. This one contains artificial flavor, potentially synthetic beta-carotene, magnesium oxide, cupric oxide (found to exhibit high toxicity in vitro), synthetic vitamin E, yellow dye #5, FD&C yellow 36 lake, soybean oil and zinc oxide. The poor form of B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), folate (folic acid) and B12 (cyanocobalamin) are also used.

The women’s formula contains 500mg of calcium carbonate and only 50mg of magnesium oxide. This is from the erroneous notion that higher calcium automatically means better bone density. Poor bone density in females is not due to low calcium intake only; it is due to estrogen levels that are too low, coupled with low vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, boron, inositol, vitamin C, silicone and K2 deficiencies. Like B12, Vitamin D synthesis goes down as we age. Along with the wrong calcium/magnesium ratio, this formula does not contain boron, inositol or K2.

3. Kirkland Adults 50+ Mature Multi 3. Kirkland Adults 50+ Mature Multi

I always overheard my mom use the phrase, “don’t buy a discount parachute.” This applies to your vitamin choices. Kirkland’s multivitamin for seniors sells for $9.99. at Costco. I’m all for trying to find deals and not overspend, but this has to throw up a red flag. You have to imagine how cheap a product has to be made to retail for $9.99. Further inspection shows similar shortcuts as Centrum. Magnesium oxide, synthetic vitamin E as dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate, zinc oxide, folic acid and cyanocobalamin. This formula contains 222mg of calcium to 50mg of magnesium oxide (only 4% absorption rate), which is the wrong ratio. Magnesium should be in a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio, being the same or higher than calcium. Kirkland does make a point to show that they do not use food dyes.

The Best Multivitamins for Seniors

I don’t want to admit how many hours I spent analyzing multivitamins to find a product that would fit at least most of the guidelines, but let’s just say that this was my hardest task. I have added two additional multivitamins based on the need for formulas without beta-carotene or vitamin K.

What you decide to add to this base will depend on where you need to focus. For the older generations, this includes mainly digestive health, cognitive function, bone health, eye health and heart health.  Below I have outlined how to customize your program.Below I have outlined how to customize your program.

Remember to take your multivitamin with food so that you absorb the carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

1. Optimal Multivitamin Powder

Cost: $39.95 for 30 days

This is a cherry flavored powdered multivitamin with a stronger formulation that can easily be adjusted if needed. Perfect for those who struggle with swallowing capsules or prefer mixing it with liquid.

350mg vitamin C
100mg of vitamin E with mixed tocopherols
1,000IU of vitamin D
100mcg of vitamin K2
B6 as P-5-P
400mcg of methylfolate
50mcg of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin (mitochondrial B12 and great for poor B12 absorption)
150mg of magnesium malate (good version for pain and sleep)
70mcg of selenium as selenomethionine
2 mg of boron
10mcg of zinc bisglycinate chelate
100mg of choline
100mg inositol
Lutein and zeaxanthin
5mg of iron bisglycinate chelate
Does not contain copper (helpful for those with elevated copper)
Certificate of Analysis available by request

2. Basic Nutrients 2/Day by Thorne Research

Cost: $27.99 for 60 capsules

The Basic Nutrients 2/Day provides the best bang for your buck, while providing the optimal levels of each nutrient with only 2 capsules per day.

Contains the right form of B12, B6, and folate for everyone including MTHFR variants
Contains 15mg of highly absorbable zinc bisglycinate chelate
Contains the right doses of manganese, copper and boron
Uses the correct dosage of vitamin E in the mixed tocopherol form, not dl-alpha tocopherol or isolated alpha-tocopherol
Uses natural mixed carotenes (including beta-carotene) from the marigold flower
Uses K2 instead of just K1
Contains selenium as selenomethionine, not selenate and selenite
Contains iodine
Contains a higher dose of vitamin C (250mg) from L-ascorbate
Contains 2,000IU of vitamin D instead of 800IU or less
Small amount of copper (750mcg)
It requires 2 capsules instead of the 6-8 capsules often required of higher quality multivitamins
It is affordable. A higher cost doesn’t always mean higher quality, and I try to seek these out for people.
It does not contain any harmful fillers or food dyes. I have also found some clients to be sensitive to citrate forms, and this formula does not contain any.
They are conducting double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials.
Certified by GMP, TGA from the Government of Australia (Australia’s FDA), as well as by the prestigious NSF International for quality control, purity and manufacturing.

3. O.N.E Multivitamin

Cost: $33.00 for 60 capsules

If you need to avoid vitamin K due to blood thinners, this is a good choice.

Does not contain vitamin K for those on blood thinners
Beta carotene is from D. Salina
Contains lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin for eye support
Contains a higher amount of zinc for eye support (25mg)
Contains CoQ10 for mitochondrial support
Contains alpha lipoic acid for cell membrane support
Contains small amounts of choline and inositol
Methylated forms of B12 and folate
Does not contain copper
Contains 2,000IU vitamin D

Notes: If you have low copper levels, this may not be a good fit due to the higher levels of zinc and omission of copper.

4. MegaFood Multi for Men 55+ (No Vitamin K ) and MegaFood Multi for Women 55+ (No Vitamin K)


Cost: $24.91 for 60 capsules (2 a day)

As of June 2016, MegaFood has created a new formula to include methylfolate, methylcobalamin, and active B6 P-5-P. This formula is a blend of organic whole foods, USP vitamin and mineral-fed yeast and synthesized nutrients. I have chosen to add this as a lower potency multivitamin alternative that represents a blend of all the current processing technology. Be aware that yeast-bound vitamins and minerals still remain untested for absorption and people with yeast sensitivities may not do well with this formula.

Contains 200mg of choline
Uses methylfolate, methylcobalamin and B6 in the active form P-5-P
Does not contain vitamin A and only uses beta-carotene from carrots which could be beneficial for certain older populations with bone density issues
Contains 1,000IU of vitamin D3
Contains 15mg of zinc
Small amount of copper (200mcg)
Does not contain vitamin K, important for those on blood thinners
MegaFoods is GMP registered with NSF, soy free, dairy free, gluten free, pesticide and herbicide free and GMO-free.

For those with low stomach acid or gastritis and may have trouble absorbing B12, you may require sublingual B12 in addition to this supplement due to the low B12 content.

The folate level is also 200mcg, which made need to be higher based on your MTHFR enzyme function.

If you are a female concerned about bone health, make sure to be getting sufficient boron, K2, calcium and magnesium outside of this formula.

5. Integrative Therapeutics ProThrivers without Beta Carotene Two a Day

Cost: $45.00 for 60 capsules

If you have been instructed to avoid beta carotene, alpha tocopherol, copper or boron by your doctor, this is the only formula I know of that also uses methylated B-vitamins. You should be aware that this formula does not contain any calcium or magnesium, you may require more folate, iodine, and zinc and the B6 dose is larger than normal.

Does not contain beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, copper or boron
Methylated folate, B12 and the right form of B6
500mg of vitamin C
100mcg of vitamin K2
1,000IU of vitamin D
25 mg of tocotrienols
7mg of zinc
Does not contain copper
Betaine HCL (good for those with low stomach acid)

Relevant Research for these Formulas

In a randomized controlled study on elderly subjects with increased dementia risk, researchers showed that high-dose B-vitamin treatment (folate 0.8 mg, vitamin B6 20 mg, vitamin B12 0.5 mg) slowed shrinkage of the whole brain volume over 2 years. B- vitamins lower homocysteine, which directly leads to a decrease in gray matter atrophy, thereby slowing cognitive decline.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States and Europe in people over fifty-five years old. The Rotterdam Study performed in the Netherlands suggests that atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) may be involved in the etiology of age-related macular degeneration. One study followed 3,600 people ages 55-80 years old for six years and found that those that took antioxidants plus zinc were less likely than those who took only antioxidants or only zinc to lose their vision. Lutein and zeaxanthin are crucial to eye health.

As we age, melatonin production decreases rapidly, getting to its low point around 70. In the United States, only about one-third of the population (37%) reported getting 8 hours of sleep per night, and 31% reported 6 hours or less. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland as it gets dark and makes you sleepy. The following can lead to low melatonin levels: SAD, Bi-Polar, breast cancer, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, low blood flow, Caffeine, alcohol, chronic stress, nicotine, beta-blockers, certain anti-depressants, sleeping pills and tranquilizers deplete melatonin.

To optimize melatonin production nutritionally, you need to look at the dopamine/adrenaline pathway (vitamin C and magnesium), the serotonin and melatonin pathway (B2, folate, B6 and B12), and glutamate/GABA pathway (probiotics, vitamin C, zinc, B6, magnesium, choline) to see where biochemical issues may need to be addressed. Then you have to look at stress, lifestyle, environment, medications, brain injuries and diet.

Additional Supplementation

1. Magnesium L-Threonate or Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Glycinate or Calcium/Magnesium Citramate 1:1 Ratio

Magnesium required for the removal of DNA damage generated by environmental toxins, endogenous processes, and DNA replication. Deficiency increases the susceptibility to oxidative stress, cardiovascular heart diseases as well as accelerated aging. Approximately 40-60% of sudden deaths from heart attacks occur in the complete absence of any prior artery blockage, clot formation or heart rhythm abnormalities. They are most likely occurring from spasms in the arteries with magnesium being a natural antispasmodic.

The US government study often cited shows 68% of Americans are deficient in magnesium based on dietary intake (which is high to begin with) is incredibly inaccurate based on the percentage of those with the numerous habits that deplete magnesium like medications, excess coffee, sugar, flour based food and excess alcohol. Magnesium deficiency induces heart arrhythmias, impairs glucose homeostasis, and alters cholesterol and oxidative metabolism in post-menopausal women. One study found that centenarians (those living over 100) have a higher total body magnesium and lower calcium levels than most elderly people.

Researchers from MIT formulated this type of magnesium to concentrate more in the brain, increasing neurotransmitter sites, synapse density and brain cell signaling. Magnesium L-Threonate has been shown in rat studies to enhance learning abilities, working memory, and short and long-term memory by 15% for short-term memory and 54% for long-term memory compared to magnesium citrate. It improved in both young and old, with the older rats getting the most benefit. Magnesium has been found to have a positive impact on both neural plasticity and synaptic density, and this formula has the potential for those with Alzheimers, dementia or those simply wanting to improve memory.

Magnesium Citrate is the best form for constipation. Glycinate is the best form for sleep and higher doses.  If acid reflux is an issue, you need to build bone health or digestion is suboptimal, use the calcium/magnesium product. Read more about magnesium in my article here.

2. BioKult or Probiota 12


Studies in older adults demonstrate that the gut microbiota correlates with diet, location of residence and level of inflammation. The decline of Bifidobacteria with age may contribute to aging-associated disease.

The FUT2 gene controls prebiotic production, B12 absorption and how much bifidobacteria you carry in your digestive tract. Bifidus also produces intestinal folate. Certain variants in FUT2 as found through Nutrition Genome can help determine your ability to absorb B12 and bifidobacteria colonization. The gut/brain axis is an extremely important concept for mental health, and diversified gut flora is going to help produce GABA, lowering the destructive effects of excess glutamate on the brain seen here and assisting sleep.

Constipation is one of the most frequent gastrointestinal disorders encountered in clinical practice in Western societies. Its prevalence increases with age and is more frequently reported in female patients. What many people don’t realize, is that it is often from a deficiency in magnesium, vitamin C, fiber and probiotics.

3. Nordic Naturals DHA, Brain and Nervous System Support or Wiley’s Finest Minis


Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have been called “type 3 diabetes” due to the role of high blood sugar and brain deterioration. However, there are other factors including hormone function and nutrient deficiencies in the glutamate/GABA pathway.

In many ways, DHA is a miracle nutrient for the human body. DHA protects the brain from elevated blood sugar and lowers the risk of diabetes, lowers triglycerides, helps prevents cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, reduces sudden death from heart attack by 50% with 200mg, prevents cardiac arrhythmias and lowers depression, lowers blood pressure, prevents tumor formation and arthritis.

Eating fish one to three times a week has been associated with a 40 to 75 percent reduction in macular degeneration. A study concluded that elder people with poor diets, especially with low antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, are more prone to developing macular degeneration and benefit from supplementation. “Micronutrient supplementation enhances antioxidant defense and healthy eyes and might prevent/retard/modify macular degeneration” with the use of omega-3 fatty acids, lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamins C, E, and zinc/copper.

*The Wiley’s Finest was chosen for its high quality and small capsules for those who have trouble swallowing or need to reduce the risk of choking on a capsule.

4. Ashwagandha Liquid Tincture or Ashwagandha Capsules

Ashwagandha is also known as Indian Ginseng and has been one of my adaptogen recommendations for athletes due to its research on performance, VO2 max, muscle size and muscle strength. An adaptogen is a natural substance that increases the body’s resistance to physical (heat, cold and exertion), chemical (toxins and heavy metals) and biological (bacteria and viruses) stressor. Ashwagandha has another phenomenal characteristic beyond athletic performance. It is neuroprotective and improves memory.

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by progressive dysfunction of memory and higher cognitive functions with abnormal accumulation of extracellular amyloid plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles throughout cortical and limbic brain regions. Researchers have demonstrated that when ashwagandha was added to β-amyloid treated samples, the toxic effects were neutralized and ashwagandha root extract was neuroprotective against β-amyloid induced neuropathogenesis.

The buildup of amyloid plaque appears to do special damage to the default network of the brain. The default network is the place your brain clicks over to in the resting state known for creativity. The complexity of the default network is also responsible for self-awareness, memory, future planning, empathy and moral judgment.

Canadian researchers using big data revealed that a decline in the brain’s blood flow is the earliest symptom of Alzheimer’s. It would appear then that increasing oxygen and blood flow would help prevent this decline and protect the default network. Ashwagandha has been found to increase oxygen capacity and protect against amyloid plaque. Combining ashwagandha with deep breathing exercises (meditation, yoga, tai chi, Qi Gong) and regular exercise would be a prudent approach to help increase oxygen transport to the brain.

5. Lion’s Mane Capsules or Lion’s Mane Liquid


Compounds in Lion’s Mane are able to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), which promotes the repair and regeneration of neurons. There is growing clinical evidence that Lion’s Mane in beneficial in mild forms of dementia. In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, 50-80-year old Japanese men and women with mild cognitive impairment given 3g/day showed significant increases on a cognitive function scale compared with a placebo group over a 16 week period.

One study took 7 patients with different types of dementia were given 5g a day of Lion’s Mane in soup. Six months all seven demonstrated improvement in their Functional Independence Measure score (eating, dressing, walking etc.), while six out of seven demonstrated improvements in their perceptual capacities (understanding, communication, memory, etc). A different study found that neuronal excitability from glutamic acid (one of the causes of Alzheimer’s and dementia) appears to be attenuated in the presence of Lion’s Mane.

Anxiety and depression was reduced in a human study with a dosage of 2 grams per day after 4 weeks, with a significant difference between groups on the measurements of concentration and irritability.

The other fascinating characteristic of Lion’s Mane is the gastro-protective effect on the digestive system. This is a major secondary benefit since gastritis is one of the main reasons the older generations start to decline in health. Lion’s Mane has been found to promote ulcer protection and significant protection activity against gastric mucosal injury by preventing the depletion of antioxidant enzymes. Treatment with a hot water extract of Lion’s Mane decreased lipid peroxidation and increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities, quenching free radicals in the gastric tissue of the ethanol-induced rats to exhibit gastroprotective activity.

Further Reading

For understanding more about mental health including anxiety and depression, read the article Mental Health Starts in the Gut, Not the Brain.

For heart health, check out How to Read Your Cardiovascular Blood Work in 5 Steps. This will also tell you how to adjust your diet and supplement program based on your results.

To read more about bone health, see the article How Much Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D Should You Take?

Have kids or grandchildren? The Best Children’s Multivitamins

129 Responses to Best and Worst Multivitamins for Seniors

  • Hello, what do u think of perque life guard? That is the one I am currently taking. I was thinking of trying pure encapsulation nutrients 950 with vitamin k. Thank you!

    • Hi Sandra,

      Perque Life Guard is very high quality. The only reason I didn’t add it is because the dosages are pretty high, magnesium aspartate isn’t an ideal form, and it is expensive. However if you keep it at the 1-2 tablet dose, it is a reasonable price. Some people may not do well with the very high B6 dosage and it is missing K2. I also reviewed Pure Encapsulations Nutrients 950 with vitamin K and didn’t add it because it requires 6 capsules, contains only 1,000IU of vitamin D and is missing the mixed tocopherols for vitamin E. It does contain 200mg of calcium and magnesium, which is good but still not enough to meet those requirements.

  • Hello, Many thanks for the article, superuseful, especially that I was researching how to support my parents health! Although they are very against supplementation (unfortunately) so I will need to force them to take at least the bare minimum! I noticed that Basic Nutrients II by Thorne Research seems to be discontinued (at least on iherb, couldnt find it anywhere else), unless I got it wrong somehow?. If it’s indeed not available anymore I would get:

    1. Life Extension, Two-Per-Day Tablets,

    2. Life Extension, Super K With Advanced K2 Complex

    3. Life Extension, Neuro-Mag, Magnesium L-Threonate – although I’m not sure about this one. 3 capsules provide on 36% of daily value. Also my parents start to have issues with memory, but also can’t sleep well and often constipated, often stressed with no reason. Which of the magnesium forms would be the optimal one for all of those issues?


    Thorne Research, Calcium-Magnesium Citramate, – I noticed Life Extension, Two-Per-Day formula doesnt really have Calcium so I thought maybe two tablets of this combo would do the trick? Still a bit low of both nutrients though but maybe as a support it would do (my parents dont take any supplements now)

    I would be very grateful for your advice!
    Many thanks!

    • Hi Ewa,

      This article had people like you in mind looking after their parents. I’ve been able to help my dad dramatically with supplementation and diet and almost used him as a case study in this article, but didn’t want to make the article too long.

      I can’t speak for iHerb, but the link I have on the article is to Amazon where you can purchase it. We also carry this in one of my nutrition practices, so I know it isn’t discontinued.

      In terms of memory, it is best to figure out why their memory is affected as I have outlined. Often B12 will make a big difference, especially because they don’t supplement at all.

      Constipation can be remedied with magnesium citrate, probiotics and dietary fiber. Magnesium citrate will make them a believer in supplementation since they will see a direct result. Stress, poor sleep and appearing stressed does show a potential magnesium issue.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Hey Alex, I forgot to ask u in my earlier post if u think the manganese is too high in the perque life guard. I was thinking of switching to the perque life guard mini if u do think it is to high. Do u know if the beta carotene in there is natural of synthetic? Thanks

    • Hey Sandra,

      Wow, yes it is absolutely too high with a 2 capsule dose. The beta carotene is not synthetic and is from d. salina.

  • Hi Alex; My mother is 91 and has always been very strong and healthy with no issues except an episode about 3 years ago of what the doctors called mini strokes because the cat scan and ultra sound found nothing to speak of. She taught Tai Chi, lived alone, chopped wood, drove a car. The first part of this year though brought a very stressful and abrupt move from her home that has just ended and left her *very* exhausted, depressed and grieving though she hides it well, weakness in her legs, a bruised feeling in her hips and constipation for the first time in her life. Her memory and mental faculties have suffered. She eats fairly well, veges, not much protein though, she’s a pescatarian and eats dairy. She will go to a Chinese medicine doctor but not a traditional doctor. I have appreciated this article very much and have ordered several things from it including the Magnesium. I’m wondering what else you think might be good. Bee Pollen? I’ll be buying her stout as well due to your article. Thanks for any help.

    • Hi Rachel,

      Thinking of your 91 year old mom teaching Tai Chi and chopping wood really made me smile. She sounds like a great woman, and I’m very sorry to hear that her life made such a dramatic shift. I think magnesium sounds like an important addition for stress and digestion. You may want to see if her Chinese doctor is open to her using Lion’s Mane. Mainly it is making sure she has an appetite, is sleeping and prevents constipation. Daily homemade soups are also excellent remedies for stress and digestion. It sounds like a difficult situation and I hope she feels better.

  • Alex, thanks very much for the reply. Ya, Ma is pretty amazing. I did order the Lion’s Mane. She doesn’t have a TCM dr. at the moment as she is in a new area. I have already the 2/day multi’s by Thorne and was glad to see you recommend them. I also got the fish oil, ashwaganda and probiotics. I guess i got everything. I’m thinking Bee Pollen wouldn’t hurt as well since it’s a food, but, let me know if you have reservations. I’m finding the topics you write about so interesting and relevant. Thank you.

    • Hi Rachel,

      Bee Pollen should be fine. It is best to buy it locally for the best benefits. I appreciate the feedback. Hoping to have some new articles coming up soon.

  • I would love to know which prenatal(also for lactation) you recommend? Thanks.

  • Hi Alex, I may have an idea for a new article, if you find the topic interesting as well. A person that I know suffers from terminal lung cancer. He only has a couple of months to live, doctors encouraged him to start chemo to make the process less painful and prolong his life a little. The problem is that chemotherapy has quite some nasty side effects. I would very much appreciate an article about supplements that could potentially decrease chemo side effects and make those last months more bearable.


    • Hi Ewa,

      I’m very sorry to hear about your friend. Great idea and I would be happy to do it. I actually have a lot of experience with this from my family nutrition practice, Swanson Health Center. We have helped many clients through chemotherapy with nutritional and supplemental support, and it can make a huge difference.

    • Hi Ewa,

      I wanted to let you know that I completed the article:

      I will send it by email soon, but wanted to let you know early.

  • Unfortunately I have been taking Centrum Silver for a number of years (recommended by my doctor when I turned 50) but fortunately for me I found your website which is so impressive and informative and I will take your recommendation for Thorne Basic Nutrients 2. If I may ask a couple questions. I would like to know if you have any recommendations on Curcumin supplements. I am looking for one that is organic, grown and made in the USA. And I worry about heavy metals. And I also would like to ask you about protein powder. I am currently using whey protein, which is almost finished. And I would like to switch to an organic plant-based protein powder. However, I am having trouble deciding on what kind (pea, hemp, etc.). I am not a weight lifter or very active in sports. I do walk on the treadmill everyday and do yoga. I drink protein smoothies on days when my diet doesn’t contain enough protein. Thanks so much for your time.

    • Hi Cathy,

      I’m happy to hear that you found the article informative. Curcumin is best absorbed with black pepper and an oil carrier. Gaia Herbs makes a product called Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength that contains black pepper, is grown in North Carolina and is organic.

      Women benefit from more fiber, which makes hemp and chia good candidates, while pea or sprouted rice is typically higher in protein. The tricky thing with plant-based protein powders is taste and if it is easy to digest. One that stands out to me is Plant Based Protein by PureFood that also contains probiotics. A little more expensive, but appears to be what you are looking for. I have an article in the works for the best and worst plant-based protein powders.

  • Alex, thanks for your suggestions. I will be watching out for your protein powders article.

  • Have been reading your “How to Make Your Own Multivitamin with Diet” – fantastic information – and while that’s obviously a preference appreciated finding your analysis of available multi-vitamins for “seniors” (Yuk!).
    Have one question – a few years ago found all these convincing articles on vitamin D and started consuming it liberally; only to eventually find that living just 12 degrees below the equator, we can usually manufacture sufficient Vitamin D in a brief walk to the shops – so my question pertains to Thorne Research ‘s Basic Nutrients 2/Day where you noted it “Contains 2,000IU of vitamin D instead of 800IU or less” – do you have any concerns re Vitamin D toxicity for people living near the equator regarding long term daily consumption of Thorne Research ‘s Basic Nutrients 2/Day ?
    From briefly looking up Vitamin D toxicity levels, this seems most likely a silly question, but I’d be interested in your opinion – thanks

    • Hi PB,

      No, I don’t have any concerns about 2,000IU daily of vitamin D for toxicity. I have observed clinically that 2,000IU is the amount that helps maintain vitamin D in the healthy range, while 5,000 or more is often needed to push vitamin D levels out of a deficient range. Once the target range is acquired, vitamin D can go back down to 2,000IU. If you get plenty of sun, you may not need it at all. A deeper understanding is gained through genetic testing. When there are polymorphisms in the VDR receptor for example, then co-factors (calcium, magnesium, zinc, boron, vitamin A) play a more important role in getting vitamin D into the cell. This is why I prefer it with these co-factors vs. isolated vitamin D. I recommend monitoring your vitamin D through blood tests so you can get a better idea of your range (end of winter and summer is best).

  • Magnesium supplements are really helpful especially women as they age. I myself take these supplements. Thanks for the insightful article.

  • In everything I read,no one comments on people who are allergic to iodine and fish.Or that people with Sarcoidosis should not take Vitamin D3. Please do not tell me to talk it over with my health care provider. I will either start laughing hysterically and get a severe headache or start screaming and get a severe headache.Either way I will end up with a headache.It is scary to read how important these particular supplements are but can,t take them .Em. Thank You.I love reading your articles. I just get frustrated at times.

    • Hi Emma,

      If you are sensitive or allergic to iodine, it is important to find out why your body is rejecting a mineral that your body requires. You may be having issues with sodium/iodide symporters. If they are defective, vitamin C has been shown to improve the symporters. Sarcoidosis is similar in that it is the faulty immune system, not vitamin D itself that is the problem. Vitamin D is important for the immune system, and therefore the underlying issues of the immune system need to be addressed first. I hope my answers prevented at least a severe headache.

  • Just stumbled on to your website and have spent several hours engrossed in your articles! Glad I found you! I seem to be forever looking for the right supplements to take and often end up doing nothing out of confusion or spending too much money and getting poor if any results. I am working on cleaning up my diet and was looking at the Basic Nutrients 2/day from Thorne Research. One question though, your list mentions “Contains a higher dose of vitamin C (750mg) from L-ascorbate” but when I read the label on Amazon it says “Vitamin C as Ascorbic Acid 250mg” I’m wondering if they perhaps changed the formula and if you would still consider it #1 or would advise more C from another source.

    • Hi Kathy,

      Glad you are enjoying the research! My apologies, that should say 250mg. Yes, I would still consider it the best multivitamin for the population highlighted in this article. Even if it was 750mg, I would still advise a separate vitamin C source. The research and my own clinical experience point towards 500-1500mg twice a day to be an optimal dosage based on your needs.

  • I love this website. i ordered the Thorne Research multi-vitamin, through the hyperlink to the amazon web site. The bottle arrived somewhat dirty. I noticed the vendor’s label was covering another label. Now there was indeed an NSF stamp on the top label. But you say above “Certified by GMP, TGA from the Government of Australia (Australia’s FDA)” – there was no such info on the label, and moreover, the multi-vitamins were manufactured in Idaho, “for Thorne Research Inc.” This is disturbing, because its well known that supplements arent really regulated in this country (like they might be in Australia for instance), which seems to indicates that Thorne were cutting corners by manufacturing their products in the US rather than Australia to maximize profits – thoughts? Their Magnesium supplement was also made in Idaho! not sure if i will ever buy Thorne again. I also read that the gov./FDA do not police USP and NSF certifications in this country, so any supplement vendor is free to say their products are “USP” or “NSF” certified, even in the absence of certification

    • Hi Steve,

      I could see how this might be confusing. Thorne Research is headquartered in Idaho and manufactures their products in their own facility there. TGA is a certification granted to Thorne Research. It doesn’t, however, mean it is manufactured in Austrailia. Only a handful of companies have been given this certification. As for NSF, you always want to see physical proof of the document. You can see the certifications from their website here:

      I have used Thorne Research in my nutrition practice for years, and have talked with their customer service and medical staff anytime I have had a question about their product. Let me know if this helps resolve your question and if there is anything else I can help answer.

  • Hi again Alex,
    I read your whole article on Magnesium and I am still a little confused by which one to get but am leaning toward the Magnesium Taurate for blood pressure and heart health. I did notice that you don’t mention taking a CoQ10 ubiquinol supplement. Can you give me your feelings on that?

    I wish you practiced in SW Florida!

    • Hi Kathy,

      Yes, it can be a little tricky with all the different types of magnesium. It helps to try a few out based on your needs and see how you feel. For example, I actually found the magnesium malate to be more of a sedative at night than glycinate. Magnesium Taurate is a unique product that I think has a lot of potential.

      As for CoQ10 ubiquinol, I have only recommended it when people are on statin drugs, during chemotherapy or with mitochondrial dysfunction and high oxidative stress. I have always used Thorne Research Q-Best because they had testing to show superior absorption.

      Haha, well thank you. I’m happy to answer any questions you have.

  • im 75 what vit is best.not a good appetite,zanax for sleep,crestor,oxybuytin,tramadol,plavix eye medication for magular,ranidine for relux. what can i take alot of nausea in pit of stomach which stops me from eating.i lost 5 lbs in 2 weeks because of my stomach.

    • Hi Dorothy,

      I would ask your doctor about some of the side effects of your medications causing digestive issues and consider using probiotics and digestive enzymes. Xanax boosts GABA to lower glutamate, which is how it helps sleep. Probiotics also boost GABA naturally while improving digestion. Crestor has a side effect of constipation. When Plavix is combined with aspirin it can cause gastritis and stomach ulcers. Acid reflux is often from poor bacterial flora and low stomach acid, not high stomach acid. Cutting off your stomach acid affects digestion and nutrient absorption.

  • Hi, Alex–
    Thanks for this awesome review! Can you possibly comment on Rainbow Light multivitamins for seniors?
    Also, I am taking Co-Q10 (Jarrow Formulas). It seems to work well but I’m not sure how to determine a proper daily amount.
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    • Hi Arkadi,

      The Rainbow Light Multivitamin for Seniors uses cyanocobalamin (poor form of B12) and folic acid (poor form of synthetic folate). B12 is best as methylcobalamin, or as a combination of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Folate is best as methylfolate, the form found in food. This product also uses magnesium oxide, of which only 4% is absorbed.

      For CoQ10, the dosage does range based on current health issues or the use of statin drugs. This isn’t something I could determine without a thorough analysis.

  • p.s. Also, I would be grateful if you could comment on the Garden of Life multivitamins.

    • Sure. I will give you my reply from previous comments in the other Best Multivitamin article.

      Vitamin Code: Vitamin Code starts with USP vitamins – of which some are synthetically made – and given to yeast in a nutrient rich broth. The finished metabolized product qualifying as a “whole food vitamin” is debatable and there isn’t any research I am aware of that proves this to be advantageous for absorption.

      MyKind: The Garden of Life myKind Organics is one of the only true 100% whole food multivitamins. There are pros and cons to this one. The pro is that you are getting everything directly from organic plants. The con is that certain minerals in this form are harder to absorb (zinc and iron for example), and zinc in this product is also low. Another issue I have is the stability of the water-soluble B-vitamins, carotenoids, and vitamin C directly from plants. These are known to degrade post-harvest in fruits and vegetables, and it would be helpful if the company tested their products months after production for customers to know how much the amounts are changing. They did add methylcobalamin from yeast, so the B12 should be stable. In the Organic Food Blend, there are also too many foods high in sulfur and histamine that may cause digestive issues in some.

  • This is very helpful, Alex. Thank you! If I may ask one more–it is about “Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin B – Vegan Whole Food Supplement.” Of course it is not a multivitamin yet some people take it rather than any multivitamin. Could you say something of pros and cons to this strategy?

    • Hi Arkadi,

      Good question. Typically multivitamins contain the same B-vitamin profile as a B-complex. Some people like to separate supplements based on dosing. For example, if you wanted a higher dose of magnesium and vitamin C than provided in a multivitamin, it may make more sense to take a B-complex with magnesium and vitamin C. It depends on your needs and budget.

  • Hi Alex,

    For Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2 per day, selenium and chromium are quite high as compared to the RDA. Came across some articles stating that too much of these 2 could have serious side effects. Do you think it could be a cause of concern?

    • Hi Ajeet,

      Yes, the amounts of selenium and chromium are higher in the Thorne product. These are amounts that have been used in studies and have not been found to cause toxicity, however, I do think you can take 1 capsule instead of 2 if you are healthy and are taking it for preventative purposes.

  • Hi Alex,
    Just recently discovered your website, really informative–thank you! I was looking at your “best of list” for seniors and was hoping you could evaluate this product:

    “Life Extension, Two-Per-Day Tablets, 60 Tablets”.

    From what I can tell it does contain the requisite and desired forms of most vitamins (except no vit-K) but I was concerned about the amount of B-6 in this formula at 75 mg per two tablets. I have neuropathy(not due to diabetes) and was not wanting to exacerbate this condition with excessive B-6. (Obviously I could just take one tab…but concerned at even 37mg per day)
    Anyway, this formula is also available in capsules and also as a one a day formula in addition to the two a day. Either which way it is very inexpensive. Less than 8.00 for a one month supply! Thanks for your input.

    • Hi Julie,

      I agree with you that the B6 dosage is unnecessarily high, even with one capsule. This is especially true since you have neuropathy.

  • Hi Alex,
    Thanks so much for your hard work, and for sharing your knowledge on nutrition! My wife and I are 68 and looking for a multivitamin/mineral supplement that we can take. The problem is that I have food allergies that produce hives. I am allergic to fish, berries, tree nuts, and Tumeric. I know… all the stuff that is good for us! Could you please give us some advice?

    Many Thanks!

    • Hi Larry,

      I appreciate your comment! Yes, that is an unfortunate group of foods for allergies. I would need a lot more information on you and your wife to make a more educated recommendation, but if you are looking for a non-allergenic multivitamin/mineral, the Thorne Basic Nutrients 2 a Day may be the best fit.

  • Thanks Alex,

    I didn’t know that the Thorne Basic Nutrients 2 a Day were non-allergenic. So that helps a bunch! I had been having trouble finding multivitamins with D3 that wouldn’t make me break out and that includes a lot of calcium supplements with D3 too. I was really eating a lot of those foods when I became allergic to them.
    I don’t understand how that happened. But if you ever learn how a person can get over those food allergies, PLEASE let me know!
    Thank you so much!


    • Hi Larry,

      If you have broken out with D3, you will likely break out with the D3 in Thorne. I wasn’t aware that was also an allergy.

      Sometimes you can begin to develop allergies to foods with leaky gut syndrome, especially if you eat a lot of foods that irritate your gut lining. For example, my dad started getting a rash on his forehead each time he ate wheat or eggs. Due to his degenerated gut function, the protein molecules would slip through undigested in the blood stream and cause a reaction. It took about a year to heal his gut before he could tolerate those foods again.

  • Alex would you please look into Emerald labs multivitamins by
    I take the two a day but they also have one a day and 4 per day in different formulations.
    These appear to be whole foods based and free of additives and appropriate types of B’s etc.
    I would appreciate your opinion.

    • Hi Christine,

      I think the formula is a little lopsided with it’s emphasis on high amounts of B2, B6, B12 and chromium, while being too low in selenium, iodine and vitamin C in the one daily. Iodine and selenium shouldn’t be so low for women due to their importance for thyroid and breast health. I would ignore the 25mg whole food blend, which is tiny. It is also missing K2.

      For the two a day, it is better formulated and contains vitamin E in the tocopherol and tocotrienol form. Folate is 400mcg vs 200mcg in the one a day, which is good for many. My only criticism would be that it is missing K2 and the low iodine content, so you want to emphasize K2 and iodine more in your diet.

      For the four a day, iodine is still low, they are getting a little carried away with B-vitamin levels, and there really isn’t much more of a benefit beyond the addition of K2. If four capsules are used, calcium and magnesium levels should be higher like the Naturelo product closer to a 1:1 ratio.

  • What do you think of a baby boomer (age 73) taking Gundry Vital Reds? I am a recent survivor of breast cancer and am thinking about ordering these vital reds to my daily regime. I do not take any other supplements or vitamins.

  • My doctor has me taking Vitamin D3 supplements due to low levels of V-D in my blood tests. I am 55 and play a lot of golf so am in the sun quite a bit (live in Dallas). I am very active and healthy. I am taking 5000IU of Vita Optimum and have tried other brands, but can’t seem to get my levels up enough to where the doctor would like to see them. I don’t know if it is the type I am taking or what. Any ideas/recommendations? Also, for your 55+ “senior” Multivitamin suggestions, would a very healthy and active 55 year old such as myself go for that, or go with the below 55 y.o. ones? Thanks so much for your help.

    • Hi Jeff,

      Are you in the 35-50ng/ml range? If you are below 25ng/ml, that is deficient. But if you are trying to get above 50, there is little evidence showing more benefit at that level. If it is an absorption issue, you may have genetic variants in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) that increase the need for the co-factors (calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin A and boron) for absorption. Take your vitamin D with these nutrients (like a multivitamin) and see if that helps if you are indeed deficient. You would probably be fine with the below 55 y.o. multi.

  • Thanks Alex. I am right in the middle of the range so I guess I am not deficient. Much appreciated.

  • Hello,I am new to your site and read with interest some of the comments concerning vitamins,I have tried many over the years I always look for the ones
    that don’t contain excipients usually opt for Terra Nova because according to the manufacturer they don’t contain any fillers or binders,but a new one ,at
    least new to me has caught my eye it’s called Naturelo Multis it’s manufactured in America I just wondered if you had any information regarding this
    product,thanking you.

    • Hi Stuart,

      The Naturelo multivitamin is an excellent product. I have it listed on my other multivitamin article as the top choice. You can read about it here.

  • I live in the UK . Is there a UK distributor?
    Is there a tablet with extra Vitamin D included?
    I miss the sun in Mexico where I lived for 21 years!
    I need probiotics as well .

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I know that Naturelo ships to the UK. That product can be found on this article.

      I bet! The highest the vitamin D is going to go in a multivitamin is 2,000IU. If you have certain brands of probiotics that you want me to take a look at in the UK, just let me know.

  • Hi I so appreciate your information and the time and effort it costs you to research and share it. I have just ordered the Thorne multi vitamin supplement on a 30 day (2 bottle) delivery plan for my husband and I. I. Was wondering what you could tell me about Cal-Mag fizz as a supplement? My husband is 85 and has dementia and I am77 and just been diagnosed with early-early macular degeneration, which is hereditary. Thanks so much.

  • Hi have just found your site and read some of the letters and replies. I am trying to get over a couple of bouts of flu/viral infections and wondered if your Swanson Ultra Maximum Resistaid would be a Good way of getting back my ‘get up and go’ energy? I am a Uk resident, and found a site called Healthy Monthly, where this could be purchased. Thank you.

  • Hello Alex,

    I am a 68 year old healthy woman who has been taking Lion’s Mane for three years to reduce a kind of brain fogginess. It works! I just had a hip replacement & will be on coumadin for a month. I have stopped taking my herbal supplements (most of which have one or two ingredients that apparently interact negatively with coumadin.) I would like to continue the Lion’s Mane & am unable to find out if there would be a problem with coagulation. Thank you for any help you can offer.

    • Hi Cynthia,

      It’s great stuff! I’m not aware of any coagulation properties of Lion’s Mane. I checked my clinical guide of medicinal mushrooms and the only caution is for “asthma and other allergic conditions.”

  • Do any of the recommended vitamins have glucosomine/MSM for joint health?

  • This is such a helpful read. We are in the UK so hope I can find some of the mentioned vitamins to help my poor dad.
    He is 83 and on stating for his heart . He is experiencing memory loss and depression and has lost his get up and go for life. Do you think the o.n.e can help him?

    • Hi Mel,

      I’m sorry to hear about your dad. Did the memory loss and depression occur after he started the statin? I don’t know anything about your dad’s blood work and the reasons behind the use of the statin, but I think you will find the cholesterol section of this article enlightening: How to Interpret Your Cardiovascular Blood Work in 5 Easy Steps.

      Regarding your question about O.N.E., I wouldn’t be able to say without knowing more about the cause of memory loss and depression. It will help address the deficiencies induced by medications, but if the root issue is from lowering cholesterol and testosterone (this is something to check and would cause depression and the get-up and go), then that’s where you need to focus.

  • Hi Alex, I am writing to you on behalf of my mother who is 87 years old who has been diagnosed with dementia. She is quite independent and likes to ponder in the garden. I was hoping you could suggest an appropriate multivitamin to assist her with this condition. My only concern is that she takes the following medication; Crestor for her slight elevated cholesterol, Idaprex for elevated blood pressure and has recently been taking aspirin daily to assist with blood flow of a partially blocked artery. At times she can become emotional and loses that get up and go drive that she is known for. Hope you can help. Thank you.

    • Hi Manny,

      I would be happy to help. Crestor is going to deplete CoQ10, K2, and selenium. Aspirin will deplete folate and vitamin C. The O.N.E multivitamin would be the one to run by her doctor. I think you would also benefit from reading the cholesterol information in the cardiovascular blood work article.

  • What are your thoughts on Garden of Life Dr. Formulated MOOD Probiotics? My mother was on Prozac and we weaned her off after a year on it due to being stabilized after her loss. The D.F. probiotic seems to be helping. but I wondered if there is something else you’d recommend?

    • Hi Carolyn,

      I think it is well-formulated, especially since it is combined with ashwagandha. If it is helping, there is no reason to make a change.

      • Thank you so much for replying!! And as I read others’ posts, I saw your response on November 22, 2016 at 9:13 am to Kathy about CoQ10 if on statin drugs. My mother is on Zocor 20mg QD. Now, my mom has had high bp virtually her whole life. It’s been questioned if it could be related to the fact that she was a chicken farmer growing up and eggs were a staple product in her diet. I read this article ( and I wonder if CoQ10 may or may not benefit my mom. She does frequently complain of muscle pain in her legs.

        In addition to getting her off Prozac, with her new Dr’s consent after an intense stress test, we also took her off Atenolol which she’d been on unnecessarily for 15+ yrs. Do you think leg pain symptoms are more statin related, and if so, how confident are you that CoQ10 can help based on the article referenced above? She hates taking pills as it is, so I hate to introduce more if it won’t help. My ultimate goal is to get her off all unnecessary prescription drugs with diet & natural/holistic methods.

        • One more question… what are your thoughts on Vimerson Health’s Glucosamine Chondroitin Turmeric MSM Boswellia – Joint Pain Relief Supplement ( My mother has chronic arthritis in her hips.

          • Hi Carolyn,

            What I haven seen work for arthritis is a combination of collagen powder, vitamin C, and glucosamine.

        • Hi Carolyn,

          There are many genetic and dietary factors that influence blood pressure. I don’t believe eggs would be the reason. Pastured eggs contain a protein that acts like an ingredient in ACE inhibitors and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which lower blood pressure. High blood pressure can happen from high sodium/low potassium diet, high phosphorus, magnesium deficiency, low potassium, CoQ10 deficiency, EPA and DHA deficiency and low estrogen in women. After menopause, there is a dramatic rise in the prevalence of hypertension in women, suggesting estrogen plays a role.

          Muscle pain is a side effect of CoQ10 induced deficiency from statins. Mitochondria (powerhouse of the cell) are concentrated in the muscle cells. The mitochondria are also concentrated in the heart. So the muscle pain is a sign of oxidative stress in the mitochondria. I haven’t seen CoQ10 supplementation help muscle pain taken at the same time of a statin. The hope is that it is making up for the CoQ10 deficient induced by the statin and reducing other risks, but it is hard to say by how much. The muscle pain goes away when a statin is discontinued.

  • What do you think about the issue of ‘oxidative stress’ and avoiding calcium and copper in multi-vitamins – especially for multi-vitamens for women post menopause? The “Two-per-Day Capsules by Life Extension Foundtion are recommended. Thank you kindly for your responses to these queries, a most generous service for all readers, as I am learning so much in your responses to everyone’s questions.

    • Hi Bridget,

      Can you clarify your question regarding oxidative stress? Are you asking in relation to calcium and copper or is that a separate question? Who is recommending the Two-Per-Day Capsules by Life Extension? Thank you, I’m very motivated to help people get accurate answers.

  • Hi Alex,
    Thank you for your reply. I am referring to Dr. Levy’s website: I have gone onto Life Extensions website and am impressed with the quality of what I see in the ingredients, but I am no expert and don’t want to be fooled by what ‘looks good’ to a layperson, but which may not be as good as it ‘looks’. I would very much appreciate your feedback on the Life Extension multi-vitamin products and vitamin C available here:
    Many thanks!!

    • Hi Bridget,

      I haven’t seen evidence that calcium supplementation causes oxidative stress. Copper in excess can be an issue. The amount in most multivitamins is small and in a certain ratio with zinc, but some people should try to avoid extra copper in supplementation. Cupric oxide is a form used in cheap multivitamins and should be avoided completely. There isn’t any copper in Optimal Health, O.N.E or Integrative Therapeutics listed on this page.

      The Life Extension 2 a Day is mostly well-formulated. I would prefer that they didn’t use synthetic beta-carotene. The Buffered vitamin C product would be the way to go for the vitamin C selection.

  • Hello!
    My grandma is 92 and has always been pretty healthy. Recently started with some strong pain and seems like it is gallbladder stones, which they are trying so see if the can remove with mild sedation rather than surgery because of her age. They will do a test this afternoon to confirm if it can be done, but now that she is hospitalized and done some other exams found an enlarged heart and some colon problems, she has not been eating much lately so she is declining fast, we wanted to get some multivitamin that will help her. She is taking high blood pressure, medicine and blood thinners. What would you recommend. I want to buy them between today and tomorrow to take them with my overseas.
    Thank you

    • Hi Carolina,

      I’m very sorry to hear your grandma is struggling right now. If she is taking blood thinners, you want to avoid vitamin K. This would make the O.N.E multivitamin the best choice. Make sure to run it by your doctor first just in case so he or she can check for any potential interactions with the other medications. I hope she gets better.

      • Alex,
        Thank you so much I will go tomorrow to buy the O.N.E. She finally received some ensure yesterday and today was feeling much better. I am really hoping that the vitamins will give her more strength so she can survive the gallbladder stone removal.
        I really appreciate all your research, and the time to respond to each comment. I am glad I found this page and will check it out more as we were thinking on going Whals-Paleo as my husband got diagnosed with MS .

        Again, many thanks !!

  • Many thanks, Alex!!

  • Hi Alex,
    Wow your research and information is wonderful! I just came across it online.
    My question… I am 55 year old female, good health, I take no medications…
    I have been researching to find the right vitamins fd supplements for myself. I am post menopausal. I started eating a plant based diet this year and I really like it.. (not so sure that would be what youd recommend?) And am concerned if I am getting the nutrition I need. I am trying.
    I read your info about multi vitamins for (older) but want to know which you would recommend for me? And what other supplements you’d also recommend above and beyond the multi?
    Omegas? ( fish oil based or plant and which one.. More calcium, magnesium etc? And which ones you recommend?
    Thank you so much,

    • Hi Cathy,

      Glad you found it informative! I have no issues with a plant-based diet, as long as it includes some eggs for choline and fish (or fish oil) for DHA. You are probably closer to using the regular Naturelo women’s multivitamin found on the other multivitamin page here.

      Recommendations beyond the multivitamin change person to person based on health history and genetics, so it would be difficult for me to accurately make those suggestions. This is why I have people do the nutrigenomic analysis through Nutrition Genome, so you can pinpoint your exact needs. Generally, fish oil, magnesium, probiotics and vitamin C with a multivitamin is a very comprehensive standard program.

      • Thank you so very much! So in your opinion I shouldn’t go with plant based omegas, stick with fish oil?
        I haven’t included eggs or fish but could try to do that. I’ll look at the supplements you mentioned… besides the multi do I need more calcium or does the multi you recommended have adequate amounts?
        I’ll look up the information you provided for me and see what I can figure out!
        Again love getting your feedback!
        Thank you for your time and knowledge!

        • Hi Cathy,

          If using a plant-based omega, use algae DHA. The ALA plant-based formulas have very poor conversion rates in the body to EPA and DHA. Otherwise, fish oil is the way to go.

          If you are eating a lot of dark green vegetables, calcium supplementation is not necessary.

  • Hi Alex
    My 92 year old mother had a bad fall a week ago and after a short stay in hospital after surgery on her knee is now home. Though she is slowly recovering from her injuries she has no appetite. The only food I can get her to eat is cake so I wondered if a multivitamin would help, if so could you recommend a suitable one either on prescription or over the counter. Apart from arthritis she is usually quite well and strong.

    • Hi Evelyn,

      I’m sorry to hear about your mom. A multivitamin most likely won’t help and may even make her nauseous if she’s not eating. Homemade broth is a great way for her to get minerals, amino acids and collagen, which will also help her recovery and arthritis. If you can get her to take some buffered vitamin C powder in water, that will also help expedite her recovery.

  • Hello Alex, I’ve read most of the information on this thread. WOW! Thank you for all the info. I’m also looking for a liquid multi vitamin for my mom. She is 72. She has a pace maker, and also, went through cancer treatments 2010 (Radiation) She is, so far, cancer free. Last year she had an infection that placed her in the hospital and they said from draining the infection she contracted MRSA. They gave her the strongest I.V antibiotics they had. She ended up very weak after all said and done. She’s better now and home, but complains she has no energy at all. I make her home made soups and she loves that. I try to tell her Salmon and veggies are your best friend. I also, tried to get her to juice (lettuce – red leaf – romaine, spinach, kale and also separate green organic apples). Last year I told her to ask her Dr to give her a vitamin B12 shot to help her energy. She felt a little better after that, but they always try to steer her away from getting it. I know vitamin B12 stays in the system for at least 6months or so. She asked me tonight if there is a good liquid multi vitamin for women over 70. Please, what would you suggest? Thank you for any help. She is complaining about not having good BM and she is constipated and only a little at a time comes out. She also has gained a lot of wait, and she is on oxygen 24/7. Again, thanks for any help.

    • Hi Maria,

      Wow, your mom has been through a lot! Great job with her nutrition. Regarding a liquid multivitamin, the first option on this list is a powder that you mix in liquid. There is a liquid multimineral called ReMyte, but it doesn’t contain any vitamins. Liquid multivitamins tend to have stability issues with the water soluble vitamins, so adding a powder to liquid is the best approach. For her digestion and past use of antibiotics, I would consider using a probiotic like VSL#3 and perhaps CALM, which is powdered magnesium citrate.

      • Alex, thank you kindly. She does have diverticulosis. The VSL#3 will not harm her, because of this? Thank you again, for your direction.

  • I’m finding it very difficult to obtain objective reviews of a supplement called Total Balance men’s premium dietary supplement made by Xtendlife. I am 81 and pretty fit and active and have been taking these vitamins for about 3 years. I did stop taking them for six months and did experience a couple of heavy colds that have not re-occurred since I began retaking same. My slight worry is the lack of unprejudiced scientific reviews available. Plenty of marketing hype. Your opinion as to the efficacy of this product would be much appreciated.

    • Hi El Ojo,

      I did a review of XtendLife when deciding on Thorne’s Basic Nutrients 2 a Day. It is a fairly good formulation with high-quality ingredients. However, I picked the Optimal Multivitamin Powder and Thorne’s Basic Nutrients over Xtend for a few reasons.

      -Xtend uses folic acid instead of methylfolate or folinic acid. I wrote an article in more detail at Nutrition Genome on why folic acid should be avoided.
      -They use cobamamide for B12, which is adenosylcobalamin. This is the mitochondrial form of B12. Research has found a combination of methlycobalamin and adenosylcobalamin or hydroxocobalamin is the best approach for B12 absorption.
      -Vitamin D is 2,000IU vs. 500IU in Xtend. This is significant since many people are low in D, especially those over 70.
      -Vitamin E is 103IU in Xtend. When you look at vitamin E content in food, it is naturally very low and is regenerated by C. There is research showing higher amounts of vitamin E (400IU or higher) may be inflammatory for certain people based on their glutathione genes. I think this particular fat-soluble vitamin should ideally be in the 20-30mg range. Xtend does have the right idea of going lower than other formulas and makes a note of it and I think under 200IU for a supplement should be fine.
      -There are a lot of extras in Xtend in very small amounts that may not be significant enough to make a difference. This is strictly for marketing in my opinion. I prefer formulas that add fewer extras in meaningful amounts. I do like the male health support blend portion.
      -7 capsules in Xtend versus 2 capsules for Thorne’s Basic Nutrients. If you are going to take 7 capsules, I think it would be a better idea to add extra magnesium so that you hit a 400-600mg target each day. Xtend only has 70mg.

      If they can keep their price point and make a few formula changes (esp. folic acid), they would have a very competitive multi. Ultimately, you have had good success with the product and my opinion is strictly objective.

  • How refreshing to have a concise and helpful reply. Thank you Sir Alex!

  • Just one more thought. Do you subscribe to the opinion that enteric coated vitamin pills have any value in attempting to bypass the stomach.

    • Hi El Ojo,

      Excellent question.

      First, our stomach acid is not designed to destroy vitamins and minerals and it actually plays a major role in absorption. When you use a proton pump inhibitor, which inhibits stomach acid, you can become deficient in B12, iron, vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium. Enteric coated supplements may lead to a decreased bioavailability of nutrients like B12 because they must interact with molecules in the stomach to be efficiently absorbed. One of the few studies that looked at enteric coated calcium found that enteric coating led to a substantial decrease in calcium bioavailability.

      Second, multivitamins are designed to be taken with food, which slows down digestion and increases absorption. If you take it on an empty stomach, you will not absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and carotenoid absorption goes way down. Enteric coated pills are typically taken on an empty stomach, which then has the potential to overwhelm the small intestine and lower absorption capabilities. There has also been research that enteric coating of aspirin has a lower bioavailability than regular aspirin due to the higher pH in the small intestine.

      I am not aware of any published research showing superior absorption of enteric-coated multivitamins, and evidence actually points to the contrary.

  • Hi, could you send me the optimal amount of vitamins for a nearly 80 years old man? we don’t have the mentioned brands here and would like to put together a correct vitamin supplement regime for him and cant find any recommendations on amounts over 70. Thank you

    • Hi Anita,

      I would look at the labels of the brands I have listed and try to find something comparable with the types of vitamins and minerals used and the amounts. If you have products you would like me to review, send the links here and I will take a look.

  • Can you recommend a Multivitamin for estrogen positive breast cancer cancer survivor taking tamoxifen?

    • Sorry Alex. I should have added I take Divalproex 500mg DR also and will be weaning off soon dropping to 250mg ER. I was looking at the Daily Multi-Vitamin plus Minerals /without Copper Iron from STAR ENERGETICS and was wondering what you thought about that. Thank you.

      • Hi Heather,

        Medications that are used to treat seizure disorders (like Divalproex) may not compatible with B-vitamin supplementation due to shared pathways. Some people are fine while others notice issues. The Star Energetics multivitamin uses the right forms of vitamins and minerals but may come up short for you.

        Breast health is reliant on adequate vitamin D, iodine, selenium, zinc, omega-3’s and choline. The vitamin D in Star Energetics is only 100 IU, so if your levels are low, you will need more. Higher vitamin D levels are linked to lower rates of breast cancer. Iodine is only 50 mcg and iodine deficient breast tissue exhibits the early markers of cancer development. Zinc is only 6.5mg. The Citramins II without copper and iron, which will soon be the Biomins II by Thorne Research, may be a good fit for you for now along with vitamin D and fish oil.

        A lot of women have trouble tolerating Tamoxfin, and if this turns out to be the case, consider the Enoki mushroom. Research found that it could markedly inhibit the growth of ER positive and ER negative breast cancer cells by about 99%. Lignans (polyphenol class) in the diet are associated with less aggressive tumor characteristics in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. One study in mice concluded that flaxseed inhibited the growth of human estrogen-dependent breast cancer. Flaxseeds are the highest source of lignans.

        I know this was more than you asked for, but I couldn’t help sharing more useful information for you.

  • What recommendation do you have for a liquid vitamin preparation?

    • Hi Deb,

      I recommend usIng the Optimal powder that you mix in liquid. This is more stable than mulitivitamins that come in a liquid form.

  • Hi Alex, I’m 63 and I’ve been on Crestor for 3 years, very healthy and cholesterol is great now. My sisters has been 450 at times I don’t like taking this stuff should I continue?

  • Hi Alex, I have one more question. I am 63 and 10 pounds overweight(belly fat) should I eat regular butter, and milk(full fat), cause you made a reference to diet butter? I really like your kyak picture. Thanks so much for advice.

  • Hi Alex,
    Very useful article! I am using Now Foods Adam and my partner is using Eve. Would you recommend the same for my parents (they’re 60+)? And which supplements would you recommend to help joints’ health? Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Hi Driss,

      I apologize, I had replied but it looks like it didn’t post. The Now Foods Adam and Eve product uses synthetic folic acid and cyanocobalamin, so this isn’t a product I would recommend.

      For joint health, I recommend a combination of collagen powder (vital proteins is a good one) and vitamin C. This helps build collagen around the joints.

  • Hello,

    My father in law is 80 and has his gallbladder removed. He was very healthy and strong all his life, but now he feels weaker. What would you reccommend for the person with operated gallbladder? Thank you!

    • Hi Monika,

      I’m sorry to hear your dad is struggling. Are you asking regarding his diet or supplementation?

      • more about supplementation, because he already knows the diet, but it’s hard to say how much he is following the rules…

        • Hi Monika,

          The diet is the main focus for a missing gallbladder. His needs are the same in terms of supplementation, but coconut oil is going to be the best fat to use (and to help absorption of fat-soluble vitamins in formulations) because it doesn’t require bile to break it down.

  • Hi Alex,

    Sorry for reposting but I noticed I’m the only one you didn’t answer. Is something wrong with my question. Thanks anyways for all you do.
    Kind regards,

  • Dear Alex, I wondered if you had any comment to make on the subscription website There appears to be criticism of the method of raising funds from companies whose products are tested. On the face of it such a testing company would be very welcome if it could prove it’s impartiality and veracity.

    • Hi Mike,

      That is a great question. I have paid for a subscription to Consumer Labs over the last few years and check their reports myself. I have heard those criticisms as well and unfortunately, I can’t verify it. If you find out more information regarding it, please let me know.

  • Hi Alex,
    My mother is 74 years and she is suffering from Parkinson almost 15 years now. A year ago, she is start-having dizziness, vomiting and having unbearable pain in her thighs. After all diagnostic tests it was conclude that there is having insufficiency of Vitamin D and it was 25 mg and suggested to increase. Further, supply with Vitamin C and D and Calcium. Now the Vitamin D has increased up to 35 mg after supplying it separately. By considering all these factors what brands and what kind of vitamins you suggest her? In addition, she also has cataract. Thank you very much in advance.

    • Hi Rami,

      I am so sorry to hear about your mom. That is very difficult for me to give you an accurate answer without knowing much more than you provided. My recommendation would be to do the Nutrition Genome Report to understand potential underlying deficiencies and toxicities and consult one of the doctors listed on the site that uses the report. I designed Nutrition Genome to figure out the best way to approach cases like your mom.

      Nutrition Genome Report

  • Hi Alex,

    First of all you are pue AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for all the work that you put into this website!

    Also, I have question regarding my mom. She is 72 years old and in perfect help, no meds, watches her food and excercises. I just got her off the multi’ that she was using One A Day and got her on the Mega Food and she loves it! She has even more energy. I can not catch up to her! Lol

    I liked that fact that Mega Food is a whole food Vitamin but so you think that the ones before it on your list are better quality?

    Also, aren’t “while food” vitamins better then synthetic. I read that the synthetic vitamins cause cancer.

    • Hi Olga,

      Thank you! I’m so glad to see that the information is helping people.

      I would say that you can’t argue with results! I think the improved MegaFood supplement is a good product and whole food forms of vitamins are always superior. Tell her to stick with it.

  • Thank you, great informative article.

  • Hi Alex, Your articles are very informative. Forgive me if I missed information you may have already provided on my question. What is your opinion of the Nutrametrix brand? I’m using one of their advisors/sales reps to guide me in choosing supplements for optimum health based on a dna test I did through DNAfit. The rep is very helpful, but I want to make sure the NutraMetrix products are top quality in your opinion. Thank you.

    • Hi Mary,

      Ah, DNAfit is my major competitor (my company is It’s okay I’ll still help you :). Do you have any particular products you would like me to review? As an overview, their prices seem very high.

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