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Best and Worst Multivitamins, and How to Design Your Own

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Who would have thought that the Jetsons were right and we would try to get everything from one pill? Whether you are eating a poor diet and trying to fill in the gaps with a multivitamin, or eating a balanced diet and taking a multivitamin for insurance against deficiency, multivitamins are a part of more than 30 percent of an American’s diet. Are multivitamins necessary? This is a common question for average humans and athletes alike, and a popular topic in the medical field.

How Are Multivitamins Made?

You will find the following processes that are used to make a multivitamin: whole food, naturally derived and modified, synthesized from yeast or fermentation. Typically there isn’t a multivitamin that doesn’t contain some synthesized or “scientifically formulated” nutrients since they cannot be reached to high enough levels from food to hit the target amounts. The majority of “whole food multivitamins” actually use a nutrient rich broth, added synthetic vitamins and the yeast saccharomyces to metabolize and convert them, then use small amounts of fruit or vegetable blends as filler.

The difference is if those forms are in the biologically available and active form. This is where the claims can fall in a gray area. There are certain synthetics like vitamin E and beta-carotene that have performed poorly and at a detriment in studies, whereas L-ascorbic acid has performed very well. Magnesium citrate, malate, and glycinate show superior absorption over oxide or carbonate forms. Folic acid may now be questionable due to gene mutations, with methylfolate being the preferred form (very important during pregnancy and for subsequent generations).

The Major Studies on Multivitamins

1. A large randomized double placebo clinical trial in 2012 looking at 16,451 male doctors over 50 with a history of cancer followed for more than a decade found that those who took a multivitamin had an 8% lower incidence of cancer returning, however, it did not have any effect on prostate cancer or men without a history of cancer. It also did not show any reduction in heart attacks or strokes.

2. A 2006 study looked at the efficacy and safety of multivitamin and mineral supplement use to prevent cancer and chronic disease in adults. In a poorly nourished Chinese population, combined supplementation with beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, and selenium reduced the incidence of and mortality rate from gastric cancer and the overall mortality rate from cancer by 13% to 21%. In a French trial, combined supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium, and zinc reduced the rate of cancer by 31% in men but not in women.

Multivitamin and mineral supplements had no significant effect on cardiovascular disease or cataracts, except that combined beta-carotene, selenium, alpha-tocopherol, retinol, and zinc supplementation reduced the mortality rate from stroke by 29%. A combination of 7 vitamins and minerals stabilized visual acuity loss in a small trial, and combined zinc and antioxidants slowed the progression of advanced age-related macular degeneration in high-risk persons. No consistent adverse effects of multivitamin and mineral supplements were evident, and the conclusion was that it couldn’t be proven or disproven if multivitamins helped prevent cancer or chronic disease.

3. The study from JAMA looked at 68 trials with over 230,000 participants taking different varieties of antioxidants (A, C, E, beta-carotene, selenium) and concluded that “treatment with beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E may increase mortality. The potential roles of vitamin C and selenium on mortality need further study.”

Anyone that has read numerous positive studies on vitamin C might have frowned at that conclusion. A closer inspection shows that the cherry picking of these studies looks like something Inspector Clouseau might have worked on. According to Dr. Houston from Vanderbuilt Medical School, “from an original pool of 815 studies, the researchers excluded a whopping 747 of them (91.5%) for one reason or another, leaving just 8% on which to base their conclusions. Of the excluded studies, 405 were rejected simply because none of the participants in these studies had died. But how can the researchers possibly prove that antioxidants have no effect on mortality if they’ve eliminated almost half of the studies in the data pool specifically because there was no mortality?”

In all the final studies pooled, the antioxidants were synthetic and chronically ill people were mixed in with healthy people. Closer inspection shows a VERY wide dosage from only 60mg of vitamin C to 200,000 IU of vitamin E in a single day! Professor Balz Frei, the Director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University commented on the study saying “all the new study really demonstrates is a bias toward identifying studies or research that show harm caused by antioxidants, and selective removal of research that shows benefits.”

Do You Need a Multivitamin?

A better question is “do you need a multi-mineral?” Dr. Linus Pauling, winner of two Nobel Prizes once said, “You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.” While I cannot find the document online, the chemist Raymond Francis in his book Never Fear Cancer Again states “a 1992 Earth Summit Report suggested that 99 percent of Americans are mineral deficient.”

What about vitamins? Water soluble vitamins like all of the b-vitamins and vitamin C are what I see to be a major problem due to the lack of access to freshly picked foods. Both of these deplete quickly post-harvest, and the majority of clients I see are deficient in these nutrients. Magnesium is also a major mineral lacking in our water and soil. On the other side, people may need to avoid folic acid (synthetic form) in fortified foods and in multivitamins because it blocks folate receptors if they have a slow DHFR enzyme and have a homozygous MTHFR C677T enzyme. Be careful with methylfolate dosage and don’t assume that more is always better.

Top 5 Common Arguments for Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation 

1. Chemical agriculture has depleted, polluted and destroyed the soil and our water supply. If the minerals are not in the soil, they are not in the food. If the water is stripped of its minerals and polluted, and crop rotation and composting is not practiced, then the food is in a sorry state to begin with. Vitamins are highest when foods are freshly picked, and many decline rapidly post-harvest, both chemically and organically grown. Worldwide shipping and storage of fruits and vegetables give us further depleted food. For example:Glyphosphate (potent herbicide on GMO crops) blocks calcium, magnesium, manganese and iron from being absorbed on genetically modified fruits and vegetables

  • Glyphosphate (potent herbicide on GMO crops) blocks calcium, magnesium, manganese and iron from being absorbed in genetically modified grains, fruits, legumes and vegetables  
  • Spinach and asparagus lose 50-70 percent of their folate when kept at room temperature for three days.
  • Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, and green beans typically lose 50 percent of their vitamin C before they reach the produce counter
  • Potatoes lose as much as 78 percent of their vitamin C during long-term storage at 36 degrees.
  • Nitrogen fertilizers used in non-organic agriculture may lower vitamin C content in fruits and vegetables
  • Blanching of vegetables prior to freezing can destroy half the vitamins
  • Freezing meat can destroy up to 70 percent of its vitamins

2. We are no longer growing our own food or collecting it from the wild fresh. Processed food has become a staple for a large percentage of the population, feeding people food that is calorie rich and nutrient poor. Very few people can obtain a daily diet based on our hunter-gatherer and farming ancestors.

3. Sugar, refined carbohydrates, stress, coffee and alcohol consumption has created depletion on top of toxicity.

4. A highly chemical environment, diet, medications and personal care products have put new demands on the human body that it has never had to deal with the history of mankind. Deficiencies of certain minerals increase the uptake of heavy metals. Lead will take the place of calcium, cadmium will take the place of zinc, aluminum will take the place of magnesium, and nickel will take the place of manganese.

5. An indoor, sedentary, high-stress environment puts additional demands on the body that increase the need for numerous vitamins and minerals that are also needed to offset the toxic byproducts of stress hormones.

Top 5 Common Arguments Against Multivitamins

1. They don’t work.

Answer: One standard formula for an entire population is bound to fail for those with individual biochemical needs where it may only take one nutrient or mineral needed in higher amounts to make the difference.

2. You can get all the RDA vitamins and minerals from food. Supplements are not necessary.

Answer: Remember that the RDA is the absolute minimum needed to prevent things like scurvy, not the amount required for optimal health. However, you can get above the RDA for certain vitamins and minerals with a good diet.

3. They cause more harm than good.

Answer: This could be true for formulas using food dyes, artificial sweeteners, toxic forms and high amounts of certain vitamins and minerals. Pharmaceuticals are connected to over 125,000 deaths per year. According to the U.S. National Poison Data System, there were zero deaths linked to supplementation as of 2010. You can find thousands of clinical studies showing the efficacy of supplementation without side effects or toxicity. You cannot compare a cheap synthetic vitamin in the wrong form or toxic forms of antioxidants with the form found in nature and call them equivalent. Each time vitamin E and beta-carotene is brought up to cause harm in studies, people fail to mention the ones used were synthetically made into the wrong form and have no biological activity.

4. Many people consume too many calories, and therefore are able to get the extra amount of vitamins and minerals required.

Answer: Not likely. We are a calorie rich and nutrient poor nation. We are creating more vitamin and mineral deficiencies due the depletion caused by sugar and refined flour based carbohydrates (depletes b-vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and calcium just to name a few).

5. If you need extra vitamins, you should eat fortified foods.

Answer: You will not find dieticians recommending supplements, but you will find them recommending fortified foods. Let the irony settle in for a minute. Why would they say not to take supplements, but to choose food with added poorly made synthetic vitamins? Because the American Dietetic Association is funded by processed food companies. This is how a diet of fortified cereal, fortified orange juice, low-fat dairy and artificial sweeteners became forced on the public. This is also why many will not use the dietician title now due to the loss of credibility.

The Worst Multivitamins 

While supplements are immune from the death statistics, they are not without their problems. While it’s not proven that supplements were the main cause, Consumer Reports states that 6,300 serious adverse events were possibly associated with supplements. I wouldn’t be surprised if some supplements are associated with adverse effects because without regulation and accountability, untested products are going to find their way in mainstream stores. Everyone has different sensitivities, and certain additives and versions of vitamins can cause issues for some but not others.

You need to do your homework on reputable companies that do purity tests and clinical studies backing up their claims. One incident happened to Gary Null, who was almost killed by his own product when Gary Null’s Ultimate Power Meal almost became his last meal with an overdose of vitamin D (2 million instead of 2 thousand IU). Another example occurred with a liquid multivitamin that had 200 times the amount of selenium (40,800mcg) that it should of, leading to acute selenium toxicity in chiropractor patients.

The following matched one or more of the previous criteria for my opinion of the worst multi-vitamins:

1. Flintstones Vitamins

When I was a child, my mom (also a nutritionist) would do lectures using Flintstones vitamins as an example of what not to buy. She would take a lighter to the vitamins and it would melt down to a mound resembling oil, from the coal based artificial colors. The #1 children’s multivitamin in the US and the top vitamin recommended by Pediatricians is produced by the pharmaceutical company Bayer and contains the neurotoxin aspartame, cupric oxide (a potentially toxic form of copper), coal tar artificial colors, hydrogenated GMO soybean oil and GMO corn starch.

2. Centrum Multi-Vitamin/Mineral

Made by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, and brings in close to 1 billion in sales. Centrum uses synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol) and beta-carotene, the same kind that has been found to cause detrimental health problems like prostate and lung cancer. It uses the oxide form of magnesium, which only 4% is absorbed. It contains hydrogenated palm oil, a trans-fat highly correlated to heart disease, not to mention 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).

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.

3. Bayer One a Day 

Vitamin A is labeled (14% as beta-carotene). When the source of the beta-carotene is not listed, that means it may be synthetic. 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 is used and seen as dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate. It has been shown to have little or no anticancer effectiveness, and may even increase prostate cancer. Magnesium oxide and zinc oxide are used, a poor choice for men especially.

4. GNC Ultra Mega Gold

This formula has many carbonate and oxide forms, and in particular copper, magnesium and zinc in oxide form in my book are considered “bad form.” While this is detrimental for women and men for different reasons, men especially need good sources of magnesium and zinc for the heart and prostate. Make sure you are getting citrate, malate glycinate or picolinate forms. There are many ingredients that look added for the wow factor, but almost all of them are so low that they are insignificant. While the tocotrienol complex is admirable, 900 micrograms is not going to do much when the effective dose starts at 375 milligrams or more according to A.C. Grace. On the other ingredient section, it says “sucralose” while below it states “no artificial flavors.” Get the facts straight GNC. These should obviously be avoided, but why would you put artificial flavors in something that you are not even eating? It’s maddening.

5. PaleoBalance All in One WholeFoods Multi-Vitamin

You are probably shocked to hear me put a multi-vitamin with the name “Paleo” in it on the bad list. Well, thou shall not use the word Paleo in vain. As I have learned more about the manufacturing process, I have learned how to spot companies cutting corners to create a cheaper product.

If you look at the label closely, there is nothing impressive about the vitamin and mineral profile. The oxide and carbonate forms are the cheapest to use, and also the most poorly absorbed (only 10 percent of oxide forms are absorbed). Magnesium and zinc use the oxide forms in their formula (both important for neurotransmitter health) and the calcium used is carbonate. Vitamin E should also be used with mixed tocopherols, not just d-alpha. The vitamin D is D2 (often synthetic) while D3 is considered to be much more effective. Iron is missing, so if you are female you will want something with iron. Vitamin K is missing, which is probably the first time I’ve seen a multi-vitamin missing vitamin K.

PaleoBalance uses cheap vitamins and minerals, and from what I can see non-organic blends. In general, blends are usually very small amounts, so I question how effective these are in the first place and I suspect they are added for marketing. If you look at the omega 3 profile, it is plant based (only 11mg of ALA, barely if any will convert to EPA and DHA where 200-300mg are usually standard). After receiving multiple emails about this product, I wanted to set the record straight that this isn’t what I would deem up to Paleo standards.

How to Choose What Vitamins and Minerals You Need

My opinion is that multivitamins may actually prevent people from choosing more nutrient dense foods in their diet and continue bad eating habits, using a multivitamin as false insurance. How do you know which vitamins you are lacking? The way you find out exactly which ones are most likely missing is going to be strictly due to the individual’s food choices, activity, soil, cooking preparation, constitution, genetic biochemistry, stress, environmental pollutants and other factors. In other words, challenging without a professional analysis.

What we do know is that there are certain vitamins and minerals that are harder to get in today’s world and require a much higher need for the majority.

What do the majority of multivitamins lack? Calcium, magnesium, choline, enough vitamin C, K2, omega-3 fatty acids, sufficient iodine, b-vitamins in the active bioavailable form, vitamin E in all eight forms, true vitamin A (not just beta carotene) and enough vitamin D. 

The Guidelines to Designing Your Own Multivitamin

After doing thorough research on the vitamin and mineral ratios, dietary intake and learning more about the process of certain multivitamins from scientists, I believe the best approach is focusing on minerals and supplementing with a select few nutrients based on your needs while getting the rest from food.

Here is the new article explaining my analysis on how I arrived at this conclusion, how you can determine your needs, and a handy chart for what foods should be consumed for each nutrient: How to Create Your Own Multivitamin with Food.

For Macro and Microminerals:

Choose Gerolsteiner Mineral Water and Concentrace Trace Mineral Research drops for your regular water. You can see why I chose Gerolsteiner in my article Best and Worst Electrolyte Drinks.

For one very common mineral deficiency in the population: Magnesium 

See the article “How Have We Become So Magnesium Deficient?”

For B-Vitamins: Avoid Folic Acid 

Choose food with a focus on folate, B6 and B12, or B-Complex Plus for methylated B-vitamins important especially for MTHFR/MTR/MTRR mutations.

According to this review, when consumed in increasing amounts in food, six of these nutrients (folate, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin E, retinol, and calcium) are associated with a reduction in DNA damage, whereas three others (riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and biotin) are associated with an increase in DNA damage to the same extent observed with occupational exposure to genotoxic and carcinogenic chemicals.

Increasing one’s calcium intake further enhanced the genome-protective effect of a high-folate diet whereas a high riboflavin intake further exacerbated genome damage associated with a low-folate diet. This is consistent with epidemiologic studies showing that cancer rates tend to be higher among populations that consume more red meat (which is very high in riboflavin), more alcohol (which depletes folate), and fewer vegetables (a rich source of folate). It is the balance that is important.

If you are homozygous MTHFR 677 or heterozygous MTHFR 1298 combined with a heterozygous MTHFR 677, you may require higher amounts of folate (800mcg in studies) to maintain healthy homocysteine (inflammation) levels. If you are pregnant, you want to make sure to get adequate folate daily (not folic acid!) to for a healthy pregnancy, but not too much.

A new study from John’s Hopkins University looked at 1,391 mother-child pairs in the Boston Birth Cohort, a predominantly low-income minority population. The researchers found that very high circulating folic acid doubled the risk of autism, and B12 levels that were very high tripled the risk of autism. If both levels are extremely high, the risk that a child develops the disorder increases 17.6 times. Since folic acid (not folate) was highlighted, this most likely was due to a diet high in processed fortified foods along with supplements containing folic acid. I explain the mechanism behind how this can be problematic in this article. Cyanocobalamin is the synthetic B12 form found in cheap multivitamins and fortified foods. Both folic acid and this form of B12 could be causing methylation issues, leading to high levels of folic acid and cyanocobalamin in the blood, blocking entry into the cell.

Aim for 200-400 mcg folate most days for healthy DNA and cancer prevention. If you can’t hit the targets of folate with food, supplementation in the right form becomes necessary.

For Zinc:

Zinc deficiency may affect 2 billion people, due to low levels in our food, the major drop in shellfish and organ meat consumption, and the high intake of grains that block zinc absorption. Zinc is concentrated in the brain, adrenals, eyes and prostate, and disorders of these usually are connected to zinc deficiency. If you are older, diabetic, vegetarian, have low stomach acid or take certain medications, you are even more at risk. I recommend Zinc Picolinate.

Vitamin A and D increase zinc absorption. “A sustained rise in plasma zinc concentration (and therefore its potential bioavailability) was obtained only when the zinc was augmented with both vitamins A and D (in RDA concentrations).” Another reason cod liver oil is awesome.

For Choline:

Research shows that nine out of 10 Americans don’t get enough choline. Choline is required for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter of the vagus nerve that enervates multiple organs including the lungs, heart, liver, stomach and temporal lobe of the brain. A deficiency could affect all of these.

One study found that women with higher choline intake have the lowest anxiety. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Syndrome occurs from a choline deficiency. PEMT gene polymorphisms are common in women and increase choline needs even further. Pregnant and nursing mothers require the highest amounts of choline, crucial for a baby’s brain development.

The recommended range keeps changing upward and is currently between 425-550mg for a daily intake up to 930mg for pregnant women in their third trimester. Eggs and liver have the highest amount, followed by meat, fish and smaller amounts in nuts, seeds, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and collard greens. If you do not eat eggs or organ meats, you are likely deficient and may require Phosphatidylcholine.

For Vitamin C:

See the article Is Vitamin C the Most Important Nutrient for You?

For A, D, EPA and DHA: Virgin Cod Liver Oil or Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega for just EPA and DHA.


Best Basic Multimineral and Multivitamin (Updated 2017)

After numerous comments and emails, I have been on the search for years to give a recommendation for a basic multivitamin that is worth purchasing. Not only do you want the right formulation, but you want to see GMP certification and other documentation to assure the product produced has the identity, strength, composition, quality and purity that it is represented on the label. You can choose either a multivitamin or a multimineral based on your needs. The multivitamin contains both vitamins and minerals, while the multimineral only contains minerals, but higher amounts of calcium and magnesium.

The multimineral I recommend is Citramins II without Iron and Copper (2 daily is sufficient), or Purely-Min (with iron and copper) for a lower dose, highly absorbable whole food multimineral. The Citramins II is being discontinued and replaced with Biomins, which will use malate and bisglycinate forms of the minerals. This will be an excellent formula.

If you are looking for a multivitamin that gives a foundational amount of vitamins and minerals in the right form, I have narrowed it down to these three.

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

1. Naturelo for Men and Naturelo for Women
Cost: $44.95 for 120 capsules (4 daily)

The creators of this formula took very careful consideration to utilizing whole food organic ingredients while also recognizing the research for including the optimal forms of certain vitamin and minerals that may not be stable or absorbed well from the plant kingdom. If you are willing to pay more for an organic whole food based multivitamin that also provides the optimal sources and forms of each vitamin and mineral, this is the one.

What I like about this one:

  • Organic, GMP certified and third party tested
  • No harmful additives or fillers
  • Beta carotene from D. salina, a superior source of full spectrum carotenoids
  • Vitamin E as d-alpha tocopherol and mixed tocopherols
  • K2 as a MK-7 from B-licheniformis
  • B6 as P-5-P, folate as methylfolate and B12 as methylcobalamin
  • A higher amount of magnesium (300mg) and the correct ratio to calcium (125mg)
  • Iodine from kelp
  • Correct dosing and use of mineral chelates (zinc 12mg, selenium 70mcg, manganese 2.3mg, copper 0.9mg) for a wider population
  • While small, the addition of rutin, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, grapeseed extract, ginger, choline, and turmeric are a nice bonus
  • Available to be shipped to the UK

What you may need in addition to this multivitamin: True vitamin A which can be obtained from the diet or cod liver oil. Beta-carotene needs to be converted to vitamin A, which varies widely in the population. Vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid is more stable and has extensive research has shown it is not inferior to whole food vitamin C.

*If you are taking medications, make sure that you do not have any interactions with any of the herbs in this formula (mainly Ginkgo).

2. Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2 a Day
Cost: $27.99 for 60 capsules (1-2 daily)

What I like about this one:

  • Contains the right form of B12, B6, and folate for everyone including MTHFR mutations. The therapeutic dose is best for those with digestive disorders or seniors.
  • 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 from L-ascorbate
  • Contains 2,000IU of vitamin D instead of 800IU or less
  • 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.

It should be noted that calcium, magnesium, vitamin C (although 250mg is better than most), choline and omega-3 fatty acids need to be higher in the diet or with supplementation, which is true of every multivitamin. You also may only need 1 a day, reducing the price considerably. While this one is not perfect (there isn’t one) and I still recommend a nutrient target approach along with diet, this will be the best choice for those who prefer a multivitamin.

Further Reading:

The Best Children’s Multivitamins
Best and Worst Prenatal Vitamins
Best and Worst Multivitamins for Seniors
How to Make Your Own Multivitamin with Diet
Best and Worst Electrolyte Drinks
Best and Worst Whey Protein Powders

648 Responses to Best and Worst Multivitamins, and How to Design Your Own

  • I’m looking for a good prenatal vitamin… Any suggestions?

    • Hi Kaci,

      EDIT: Here is the Best and Worst Prenatal article.

      • I have taken Purity Products Super Greens for years; thoughts? Your Site is awesome! Glad I finally discovered!!

        • Hi Brian,

          This product uses synthetic folic acid and is missing the P-5-P form of B6. I am not a big fan of dehydrated greens because their nutrient value depletes considerably. You also always want to see heavy metal testing with green powders because many products have had issues with higher metals.

          • Thx Alex; it is very difficult to find the perfect formula!; I checked out Thorne Research Basic Nutrients that made your cut but can’t understand: Other Ingredients: Hypromellose (derived from cellulose) capsule, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Calcium Laurate, Silicon Dioxide. That lineup doesn’t seem to support a healthy product and unfortunately these extras have become the norms in many products!

          • Hi Brian,

            The hypromellose capsule is made from the southern pine tree. The microcrystalline cellulose is also from the pine tree for the capsule. Calcium laurate is a salt of lauric acid, the fatty acid in coconut oil. Silicon dioxide is produced from the oxidation of silica, a natural element found in plants like horsetail that prevents clumping.

            If these are of concern to you, I would go with Naturelo which only has the vegetable cellulose.

  • How about Melaleuca vitamins? This company says it started out with vitamins and has patented Oligo for optimal absorption. Here is the link to the vitamins I’ve been taking and generally I feel better when taking these compared to cheaper vitamins.

    There are AM/PM packs and you would need to click on each individual one in order to see all the ingredients per supplement. I get the discount because I am a member. (Still expensive with the discount, but seems to be worth it in my opinion. I agree you get what you pay for.)

    Thanks for your help. And for your article. Very informative. 🙂

    • Hi Diana,

      Vitamin packs are typically in a separate category since they often combine multiple products like fish oil and probiotics. I should probably add this category to the article as well. But I looked at the multi for you.

      The oligofructose complex was tested against sulfate, gluconate, oxide and fumarate forms of iron, copper, manganese and zinc. These are typically poorly absorbed forms to begin with, so testing it against citrate, malate and picolinate forms would be a better measure of superior absorption. There is a fairly high focus on copper absorption, going as far as explaining its copper absorption vs. Centrum when copper toxicity is more of a concern now than deficiency. It doesn’t explain its source of beta-carotene (important it’s not synthetic), vitamin D is too low, vitamin E is isolated and should be with mixed tocopherols and B6 is best as its active form pyridoxal 5 phosphate (Beyond Health is one of the few). I don’t know what the price point is for this one, but I don’t see anything that justifies a higher than average price.

      • OK, thanks for looking into that for me!

        • I was looking at thier new product line and was left with a lot of questions. I wouldn’t have found this article with out searching for info on the brand, paleo, and bulletproof options. Here’s the new product line:

          and their price is $80-$100 for a monthly box.

          I don’t want to be like Dave of Bulletproof Exc taking 40 pill supplements a day. But I want the health and brain performance to be greatly improved. Is there a quality option?

          • Hi Kyria,

            I took a look at the Peak Performance Brain Health box, and from my understanding under the label tab, there are 9 products, and if you were taking the serving size of each it would 17 pills a day?

            Most of these type of all in one boxes usually range in the $80-$100 range, and are beyond a multivitamin. The fish oil and the probiotics are probably going to be of the most benefit. Herbal blends are always hard to determine their efficacy base on dosage, and sometimes using just one in the correct dose is much more effective.

            If you are looking for a more affordable/quality option for health and brain performance, I would recommend looking at my article on mental health and scrolling down to the diagram that shows what each neurotransmitter requires.

            For products that are marketed for brain health, you will always see a big dose of b-vitamins. B-vitamins are number #1, along with omega-3’s (I prefer cod liver oil and wild salmon oil for better synergy as a whole food vs. isolated EPA and DHA), magnesium, vitamin C and probiotics (from food or supplements). I would also recommend researching Lion’s Mane for memory (I actually took this to repair nerve damage and it worked, and I continue to take it).

      • I’ve read your comments about Melaleuca but was interested on your input about the Melaleuca Womens Brain Health supplement packs..

        Do you think any of the amounts are toxic from being too high? Are the Vitamin B12 and folate too high to where the chances of autism will go up? Thanks for all your research and information!!

        • Hi Jessie,

          The Acuity AZ has 1,000mcg of cyanocobalamin and 800mcg of folic acid, and the multivitamin/multimineral has 800mcg of folic acid and 12mcg of cyanocobalamin. As you probably know, there are many risk factors associated with autism. Synthetic folic acid and cyanocobalamin are unnecessary risk factors that can be avoided. So yes, I think this supplement pack is too high in both folic acid and cyanocobalamin, and according to the study in this article, increases the risk.

  • Hi, I was wondering if you could research/look into the multivitamin my GF uses, it’s a german make, here’s a link. Sorry, I couldn’t find an English version.


    • Hi Judah,

      I got the ingredients translated. It looks like this particular product contains just b-vitamins, calcium, C and E, so it falls short of being considered a multi-vitamin and mineral. I applaud that Europe specifies L-ascorbate on their labels, that is the source of vitamin C you want. In the US it is just listed as ascorbic acid, and you have to do some detective work to find out if it is 100 percent L-ascorbate. The vitamin E is listed as DL-α Tocopherylacetate. The “L” in DL is what tells you it is synthetic, and synthetic vitamin E is what has been continually found in studies to cause health issues. I would recommend that your girlfriend looks for a different one.

  • Hello I am a 38 year old recovering drug addict who has been clean from drugs for over 1 year now. I have 2 little kids that are 2 and 5 years old. I don’t know the first about proper diet,supplements, vitamins or even what kind of tests i should take to see what i am lacking in. ( which should be most )

    Since my kids don’t do what their told but do what they see I am very concerned that they won’t have a great chance at life unless they start to feed their little body and minds wit the RIGHT kind of Food.

    I really want to get healthier and change my whole life from processed to organic but i honestly don’t know where to stat.

    Could you please direct me to some great websites or books or anything that can help put my family and I on the right track?

    I would also be grateful if you could make suggestions for vitamin and supplements for someone like myself and also great options for mental clarity ect.

    Thanks and I hope that someone has time to help direct me and my little ones.

    • Hi William,

      First, thank you for taking the time to reach out with the openness to make some changes and the foresight to think of your children’s health future. For yourself, I would recommend reading my latest article on mental health: This will give you a great background of diet and supplementation for mental clarity and brain health. Another article is, which lays out 10 steps towards choosing healthy food that has fitness in mind, but could easily be used for general health.

      I have also written many articles on our clinical nutrition website under “topics” and “health issues” as well has designed many healthy recipes you can use. Learning to make healthy food taste great is the first step for yourself and your kids to start making the transition.

      A book that comes to mind is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It is comprehensive, but it will give you a nutrition overview, shopping guidelines and more recipes than you will ever use (including many for children). I hope this helps!

    • William White, congratulations on your sobriety! That is something to celebrate every day! If you’d like, please email me at and I will help you all that I can. I’m a mental health counselor with MS who eats properly and takes vitamins and supplements. Please put “supplements” in the subject line so I won’t delete it.

      • I would also like some info!!! I am a recovering addict who also struggles with ADHD and extreme mental fatigue/brain fog . I’m learning about nutrition, but I have a very low income and am a young single mother of two. My 8 yr old daughter Also suffers from ADHD symptoms as well.

        • Hi Miranda,

          Addiction and ADHD share some similarities in that it is about balancing dopamine and adrenaline levels. The very first step is focusing on your diet. You can see some general guidelines here: It is important for you and your daughter to have steady blood sugar with well-rounded meals. If your blood sugar goes up and down due to too much sugar and flour-based/boxed foods, addictive cravings and poor concentration follow. It is especially important to avoid anything with food dyes.

          If you do have money available for supplementation, magnesium, zinc and vitamin C are all helpful for ADHD and balancing dopamine. DHA is also a major one, but more expensive. These are also the three least expensive supplements. Magnesium deficiency has been found in 72% of children with ADHD, and 95% in another study. Approximately 66% of those with ADHD were found to be deficient in zinc and 23% in copper. Vitamin C may perform an action similar to Adderall by producing and maintaining proper dopamine and norepinephrine levels.

  • Do you have information on children’s vitamins? I’m more concerned about them than myself. (They are 5, 3, and 9 mo. The baby does not get any, though) A friend gave us some Usana children’s vitamins but I have only her word they are good quality.

    • Hi Heather,

      I would recommend using Dr. Mercola’s Children’s Chewable Multi-Vitamin combined with Nordic Naturals Children’s DHA.

      EDIT: I now recommend Thorne Research Children’s Basic Nutrients for children 4 and older, and fermented cod liver oil.

      • I read that there is the Prop 65 warning on Mercola’s Childrens Vitamins, would you kindly confirm? Do you still recommend these?

        • Hi Leenie,

          You are correct. I found out about this over a year ago, and since then I do not recommend the Mercola Children’s Multivitamin.

          • Hi Alex,

            Thank you for a great article. What is your input on Garden Of Life Vitamin Code kids?

            “The Food-Created Nutrients in Vitamin Code formulas are cultivated with their unique Code Factors intact, enabling natural recognition of nutrients by your body.
            The Fruits & Vegetables in Vitamin Code Kids are organically grown.
            Vegetarian – Gluten Free”

          • Hi Carolina,

            Thanks for the feedback. I think calcium, magnesium, zinc and DHA are some of the most important nutrients for a growing child. The Garden of Life Vitamin Code Kids formula is lacking all of these.

          • Hi Alex, What is your opinion of Nature’s Way Alive! Multi-Vitamin Citrus Flavor Liquid

          • Hi Alison,

            This product has the right idea in many ways, but they made a few mistakes. It uses synthetic folic acid and cyanocobalamin for B12, so it isn’t one I recommend. Flaxseed powder should not be used because it goes rancid quickly. They also need to take out the isolated fructose.

      • Thank you so much for all of this information, this article was so helpful! I got the chewable Naturelo kids multivitamin for my kids. What are your thoughts on that one? Or should I switch them to the Thorn version?
        Also, as a 41 yo woman, I am currently taking the Naturelo Whole Food multivitamin for women, an omega 3, and raw probiotics. Should I add an additional magnesium, D3 and calcium vitamin or are those covered? I am concerned about taking too much of things like magnesium, I’ve heard it can be dangerous. Your input is greatly appreciated. Liz

        • Hi Liz,

          I think the Naturelo kids multivitamin is a great choice. No need to switch.

          If you are using the 4 capsule version of Naturelo then you are getting 300mg of magnesium. The need for more magnesium would depend on a lot of factors and symptoms like poor sleep, high coffee intake, leg cramps, intense training, etc. A typical target for magnesium is 400-600mg. The amount of vitamin D would depend on your current vitamin D level. You are getting 200mg of calcium from Naturelo and if your diet contains calcium-rich vegetables, this should be sufficient.

  • Thanks for the information on Paleo Balance. I have been taking it for couple of months and really felt better on them so disappointed that they are not a better vitamin. I have a question concerning the label on the bottle that says contains milk and wheat ingredients. Should that be contains NO since it is Paleo or does it really have those ingredients in it.

    • Hi Nita,

      Yes based on the ingredient list (and being Paleo) you would think it wouldn’t have milk or wheat. The wheat may be from the wheat grass used, and the dairy is most likely due to the probiotics being derived from milk, even though it says “green source.”

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  • How would you compare Nutrilite supplements? I’ve been taking their Daily multi-vitamin, Calcium Magnesium and B-Complex but I’ve recently decided to try the Paleo diet to address some digestive issues. Is there something else I should replace these with?

    • Hi Doreen,

      I wanted to update this because I must have been looking at a different label than I just reviewed. I think there are better products out there. I’m not sure what exactly you are working on for digestion, but probiotics (like VSL#3) and bone broth are very helpful for healing the gut lining along with taking out grains and sugar.

  • It is my understanding that some whole foods vitamin manufacturers feed conventional vitamins to yeast, then use that to fortify their product. Do you know which companies do that and which don’t? What do you think about MegaFood vitamins? How does MegaFood compare to Garden of Life? Which is better? I am looking for a good women’s multivitamin. Thanks!!

    • Hi Heather,

      I want to thank you for pointing this out because I was aware of this process, however I thought Vitamin Code did not do this due to their literature and the way the product is marketed. If you look at the label of Megafood, you can see next to the vitamins the yeast “saccharomyces cerevisiae.” That is the yeast used for bread and beer. However it is also the yeast that is fed isolated, synthetic vitamins that then produce vitamins that are synthesized with the “co-factors.” The fruit and vegetable mixture is just a tiny filler. I called Garden of Life today and it turns out they use the exact same process but do not label the yeast as their medium, and instead the impression is that the vitamins and minerals are from their organic fruits and vegetables. At least, that’s how I perceived the product.

      Your timing couldn’t be better because I have been working on how to create your own multivitamin with food, and how to fill in the gaps. I will be posting it this week with a link under this article.

      • Thank you so much! Is there any vitamin company that does not use synthetics at all? Do the yeasts actually make the nutrients bio-available, or is the whole idea of a whole foods multivitamin just a ploy? Thank you once again! I look forward to reading the article when it comes out!

        • Hi Heather,

          This may be more than you ever want to know, but here is the new article on how to make your own multivitamin with food:

          To answer your question, no I don’t believe there are companies that do not modify ranging from whole food, yeast, naturally derived to technically “synthetic,”, however the difference is the vitamin in question and bioavailability of the final form (like methylated b-vitamins i.e. folate which is the correct form). The yeast medium makes sense for b-vitamins, which is why the yeast sediment in unfiltered beer or wine is so rich in b-vitamins. I’m not however convinced it is a good idea to use for metals and minerals based on the starting material. The answer to your last question may be best answered in the article.

        • Melaleuca does not use any synthetic products. All their products are 100% natural and all ingredients are research based.

          • Hi Kim,

            If you view the ingredients list on many of their “snacks” and “weight loss” bars, shakes, electrolyte drinks, powders, etc. they contain soy, corn syrup solids, and sucralose; there may be more, but those are what I’ve read so far. I recently became a member on behalf of a family member who referred me, but due to these ingredients, I don’t see myself purchasing monthly items from them unfortunately. That doesn’t mean they’re horrible by any means, but I’d prefer to invest my finances elsewhere.

            I think Melaleuca is still a decent company; they have great household cleaning products, their compensation plan is decent, and they seem to truly care about people, the environment, where people spend their money, etc. Just wanted to share fair information regarding consumer products, and clarify that not all their products are guaranteed 100% natural; not all ingredients are research based in context.

  • Hi Alex,

    Could you critique Pure Synergy’s Pure Prenatal vitamins? I am trying to prepare my body for pregnancy and am getting contradictory advice regarding vitamins (to take or not to take). Thank you for your time -Tammy

    • Hi Tammy,

      I looked at the label, and there are a few things they did right. It contains K2 and the food based form of folate, B6 and B12. However, it is missing calcium and magnesium. Two major minerals that you want in adequate supply. I decided to call them to see why these were omitted. The reason was that calcium and magnesium take up a lot of space in a capsule, and if they added them people would need to take possibly triple the amount of capsules.

      I also asked about the starting material for the vitamins and minerals because “whole food vitamin” has not been entirely accurate in my last two calls with other companies. Synergy uses the same process as Garden of Life and MegaFood. They start with a nutrient rich broth and added synthetic vitamins, then use the yeast saccharomyces to metabolize and convert them. I asked if I were to explain these to people could I say “yeast based vitamins with small amounts of whole food blends,” and they said “yes that would be accurate.” So you have to ask the question, are these really whole food vitamins? I think it is misleading for people who think they are just getting blended fruits and vegetables in a capsule. The premium cost really doesn’t seem justified since yeast and synthetic starting material are both pretty cheap.

      Just in case you didn’t see it, I made a multivitamin food chart:

      • Thank you very much for looking into this, I really appreciate the information

      • I was reading all these answers….I use vitamines from the Synergy company and in their website they are saying that they are not using synthetic ingredients…Is this true?
        This is what I found:
        Ingredients from Nature—Nothing Synthetic
        We would challenge anyone to find a supplement company that is as fanatical as we are about using pure and natural ingredients. We don’t mess with Mother Nature! As such, you will not find a single synthetic ingredient in our formulas. That includes our organic whole food vitamins and minerals, our solvent-safe extracted herbs and everything else. We are 100% committed to using pure ingredients from nature, capturing the “life force” that makes each one so special.

        • Hi Amelia,

          Synergy uses a process like MegaFood and Garden of Life, where they make a nutrient rich broth, add yeast and feed synthetic vitamins to the yeast to get the standardized target amounts of each nutrient. So in my opinion, their claims aren’t necessarily true. There also are not any scientific studies that I have seen the proves that this process is superior for absorption.

          I think the important thing to understand with the word “synthetic” and “synthesized” is that the source and end product is what’s important. For example, synthetic beta-carotene is inferior to a natural synthesized beta-carotene from the seaweed D. Salinas. Dl-alpha-tocopherol is a synthetic E that is inferior to the natural synthesized form from soy which is d-alpha-tocopherol with mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols. All of vitamin C as ascorbic acid is synthetic, however 100 percent L-ascorbate is superior to 50 percent D-ascorbate. And the list keeps going. Then you match up clinical research with the absorption, results and safety of each one. Good multivitamins will be a blend of synthetic in the right bioavailable form, and natural forms synthesized from plants. This is how I arrived at the Thorne Basic Nutrients recommendation.

  • I bought the Shaklee Vita Lee and it is making me constipated, what could be doing that? Also what was the other one that you listed as your favorite?

    • Hi Nita,

      Is it the one with iron? Sometimes iron can do that. The company will refund you if you have any problem with the product so I would contact them. I changed my recommendations based on the ratios in multivitamins and the manufacturing process, and instead recommend targeting specific nutrients needed. I have been researching the best fit for minerals, and I still think that it is Citramins II by Thorne Research with or without copper and iron based on your needs. It is also a great deal, easy on the stomach and can be used as a multimineral.

  • Thanks for the comment, no I bought the one without iron, so that is not the problem, can Vit K cause that problem? I see you have Shaklee for sale on your site is that still your favorite?

    • I haven’t heard of vitamin K causing a problem. I checked with my office and we haven’t had anyone report that problem with the non-iron formula. We do have carry it in our office, (EDIT)but we are phasing it out. As I am learning more, I would say that I am more likely to recommend the Citramins now if someone just wanted to take one supplement. The most common deficiency I see is magnesium, and a formula that is lacking that is missing one of the most important nutrients.

      • Thanks for your response but looking at the Citramins it has magnesium citrate and I understand that it is the one the body can’t digest that is why it is taken for a laxative. Can you help me with that?

        • Magnesium citrate is actually a very good form of absorbable magnesium. Magnesium oxide is the one that you only absorb 4% from, and has a strong laxative effect. Magnesium citrate is one that Dr. Carolyn Dean, the author of Magnesium Miracle (excellent book) recommends. Magnesium citrate can be used for constipation, but you need to take a lot more of it to get that effect. The amount in Citramins (270mg) most likely would not be enough to be a laxative.

  • Hey, what is your opinion on Dr. Mercola whole food plus vital minerals? that is the one I am currently taking, although I will probably go with xtend life total balance because It seems so highly recommend. Could u explain to me what makes shaklee any better than any other multivitamin all of the b vitamins are in the isolated forms and the b12 is in the form u recommended not to take the cyanocobalamin. Could u please explain this to me

    • Hi Dylan,

      I think Dr. Mercola does a good job with some of his products, but I have reservations about the sourcing of the multivitamin. First, you need to take 8 pills, so it is similar to making your own combination of different nutrients. Second, we ordered the children’s multivitamin to carry in our office after a long wait, only to see the Prop 65 warning on the label regarding lead. I called customer service and they said this is common with multivitamins and that they wanted to be honest with their product by labeling it. That is unacceptable, especially for children. There is a review on Amazon that is claiming that the company revealed a lot of the ingredients in the Mercola multivitamin are from China. So while a lot of the right forms of the nutrients are used, the sourcing sounds problematic. In terms of Shaklee, this is the one we have used for decades based on the raw materials used, safety testing and clinical studies. However, we are seeing that the different forms of b-vitamins need to be used due to increased gene mutations, and higher amounts of the right form of magnesium are crucial for example. Vitamin A and D may also need to be higher, or other minerals, but to try to apply one standard formula to everyone just doesn’t make sense. Especially poorly made ones. So we are currently using specific nutrients based on the client and phasing out multivitamins. This is why I created the multivitamin food chart in the other article so you can be more accurate with your exact needs.

      • Thanks for responding back to me. What is the prop 65? Mercola is made by Douglas labs do they contain the same warning? One other thing, what is your opinion on xtend life? Looking at there ingredient profile and costumer service they seem top notch to me.

        • Prop 65 is a warning to customers in California that a product may contain chemicals above a certain threshold known to cause cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm. I’m not sure if Douglas Labs contains the same warning. It would depend on the product. I would put Xtend life on a similar level as Perque. Higher quality that are most suitable for those requiring higher dosages of specific nutrients, like older populations or those on multiple medications. General health would be on the lower end of dosing. You have to be careful with high dosages of certain nutrients when combined with your diet. The multivitamin is too low in magnesium and magnesium would need to be added. But as stated in the article, individual nutrient targeting may be more effective (and affordable) based on your needs and diet.

  • Hello!

    What do you think about total balance from xtendlife product’s?

    • Hi Kenyen,

      I think it has a lot of beneficial extracts, but with soooo many in this formula, you are bound to have some things that work for some, and potentially detrimental for others. For example, it contains folic acid, a synthetic form which is showing to be problematic in studies, especially with people who have certain gene mutations like MTHFR. Cobamamide (B12) may also not be the best form of B12 depending on the person. Green tea extract can be positive for one person, but a potential problem for another if they have trouble eliminating catechols or sensitive to caffeine. Magnesium (68mg) is way too low for everyone, especially for a 7 pill serving size. I prefer simplicity and the correct dosages with certain nutrients based on the individual for the best results.

  • Cyanocobalamin is not used in xtend life, but that is what shaklee uses. I agree with u Dylan I don’t understand the shaklee hype they use oxide as the form of magnesium, and all the b vitamins are isolated as well as synthetic folic acid. in my opionion I think source naturals in way better then shaklee and 1/3 of the price. Xtend life is the best overall in my opinion. Jigsaw makes a pretty good multivitamin also.

    • Hey Kaleb,

      I agree which is why I updated this article and created the new one How to Make Your Own Multivitamin with Food with ways to target needed nutrients. The Xtend Life product I reviewed however also uses folic acid and is a poor source of magnesium. That should have said cobamamide not cyanocobalamin, I edited it. Source Naturals makes some excellent products.

      In my opinion, a standard formula for everyone who’s needs may vary dramatically while missing one of the major common deficiencies (magnesium) isn’t the best the approach. It’s not a popular opinion because every vitamin and mineral you need in one pill is appealing, but I can tell you from clinical experience that giving someone a $12 dollar magnesium supplement or cod liver oil based on needs will outperform a multivitamin with results every time.

    • Hey Kevin,

      Thanks for the feedback. Heed would probably be the best one to use for everything. Personally I like to dilute it more during lifting and use the regular serving size for sports.

  • The sad truth is that these days nearly 100% of ingredients used to manufacture vitamins (even the so-called natural and expensive ones) come from China and Mexico and are rife with contaminants and improper potency. As a result, your supplements may be doing more harm than good. A recent study found that people taking supplements have a higher incidence of cancer. I feel it is very likely that this is from all the carcinogens that are contaminating our vitamins from Chinese and Mexican based source materials. It’s nice that you gave people some advice, but the best advice would be a recipe to make your own supplements from organic and locally grown and raised plants, herbs, and animal sources.

  • Hey, what do u think of Douglas labs ultra preventive x?

    • Hi Dylan,

      I think the raw materials and many forms of the vitamins and minerals are excellent. I agree with the dosages of vitamin C, iodine, folate, vitamin D and magnesium. However, this is at the dosage of 8 capsules. The amounts of niacin, manganese and B6 are – in my opinion – way too high and risk potential problems at that level. I would recommend using 1/4 of this dose for most people (2 capsules), which unfortunately reduces the amounts of all of the vitamins and minerals. It is also missing vitamin K and iron; good for people taking blood thinners due to the lack of K, but many people will want to focus on K1, K2 and iron rich foods. Overall if you felt more comfortable taking a multivitamin, this would be one of the better choices. Hope this helps!

  • How would u rank 1-5 out of source naturals life force, Douglas labs ultra preventive x, xtend life total balance, garden of life kind organics, and dr mercola whole food plus? And do these companies make there own vitamins through chemical reactions or buy already made from other pharmaceutical companies?

    • Granted, this is coming from someone who wrote an article about why you should make your own multivitamin.

      Source Naturals: 3
      Douglas Labs: 3
      Xtend Life: 3
      Garden of Life MyKind: 3, 4 if you add vitamin C and magnesium to it and they can prove the vitamin potency and amount is retained after storage.
      Dr. Mercola Whole Food Plus: 2, questionable sourcing.

      I don’t know the complete answer to your last question. The best thing to do is call the companies you are interested in and ask.

  • Hello, what companies do not make there b vitamins with petroleum by products or coal tar? Does Douglas labs? If they do not use petroleum by products then what is used? Thank you!

    • There are a lot of companies that use yeast derived/bacterial fermentation versions of b-vitamins including Thorne Research, Pure Encapsulations and Douglas Labs.

  • I was wondering how you would rate Nutrilite (Amway Daily Multi-vitamin)? I have taken the Women’s Pack for over 10 years but am just now learning a lot about nutrition and Paleo and making a lot of changes to my diet. Turning 50 has made me think twice about a lot of nutritional choices. I am also curious about Dr. Axe multi-vitamin. He is newer on the market and there for I don’t see any research or comparisons to other supplements.

    • Hi Kathy,

      I would put the Nutrilite multivitamin is a similar category as the others. I have reservations about folic acid, magnesium oxide (only 4% is absorbed), zinc oxide (poor absorption) and certain types of calcium. There are also a lot of other additives (sucrose, dextrose, corn starch, carnuba wax) that I think you could do with out.

      The Dr. Axe multi-vitamin is very similar to the Garden of Life Vitamin Code and Megafood. They use synthetic vitamins fed to yeast plus a broth to reach levels of different vitamins and minerals. I think your money would be better spent on your Paleo grocery list with lots of leafy greens.

  • Hi Alex! Iam a pregnant mama with 7 other children.I have been searching for years for a good vitamin source for our children.I prefer to buy a ready made vitamin n mineral source due to the fact that my time is full caring for and educating our children.we have previously used a product called Reliv but due to the expense we quit using it;as I did not have time to work the buisness side of this product.I did feel alot better on this product but when I’m pregnant i have a really hard time taking enough of this product. have you heard of this product and what is your opinion of it?

    • Hi Miriam,

      I would be happy to research it. Could you provide a link with the exact product you would like me to look into?

  • Sure I can give you a website. I’m pretty new to internet use so I’m not sure about a link. The website is are 2 products to look at that I used to take together.One is called “Now with LunaRich” and the other is called “Fibrestore” I hope this is enough information.This company has many other products;some I have taken and some I have not.The company’s number for information is 636 537 9822.thank you for taking the time to look into this product for me!

    • Hi Miriam,

      Regarding “Now with LunaRich,” there are a lot of conflicting opinions about the benefits/detriments of soy. Traditionally, soy has always been consumed in the fermented form (miso, tempeh, natto) due to the many anti-nutrients it contains. This is where I believe soy has a place in some diets. However, I don’t agree with the use of a daily shake containing isolated soy protein. This product contains “artificial flavor,” which I would avoid. It also contains synthetic folic acid, when methylfolate is the preferred version, especially for pregnancy. I would recommend looking at Dr. Ben Lynch’s Optimal Prenatal Protein Powder from Seeking Health to take the place of this one.

      The Fibrestore also contains artificial flavor, which is a reason I would avoid it. There are a lot of good fiber products out there to choose from that could easily take the place of this one.

  • I’m sorry, that website is

  • I am curious on your thoughts on Calton Nutrition, their new book about Micronutrients and their liquid multi? Lots of Paleo authors are pushing their book and I am currently reading it. Lots of good diet advice but not certain about their multi.

    • Hi Katherine,

      I haven’t read their book, but I have read others on micronutrients and I agree that they are extremely important. That is why I outlined how to get each nutrient with food on the follow-up article, because it is easy to be deficient in some very key micronutrients.

      Regarding their multivitamin, I think they have done a lot of things right. My only critique would be that their calcium is part carbonate, their magnesium is carbonate and the ratio is wrong. It is generally accepted by practitioners that carbonate is poorly absorbed compared to others like glycinate, citrate, malate and taurate (which are all used for different reasons), however I can’t find research backing that up. Dr. Hyman also recommended their book, but he also makes a point on his website to avoid magnesium carbonate.

      I think magnesium is one of the most important micronutrients missing for even those following a very healthy diet, so I am very particular about it. The ratio of magnesium/calcium should be the same or higher than calcium (Nutrience is 600mg calcium to 400mg magnesium). This is especially true for men, coffee drinkers or those with elevated calcification scores.

      I think you can take the concepts you learn from the the book and apply them to your diet. If you find yourself missing certain key micronutrients, that’s where you can fill in the gaps with supplementation.

  • Thank you for looking into that for me! I wondered about all the soy but I didn’t know what to believe because I’d heard so many conflicting opinions on soy.

  • Hey alex, is the synergy company’s multivitamins made through yeast cultivation like garden of life vitamin code? Or is it actually from the food source like kind organics from garden of life? Thanks you

  • Hey Alex, i know u are mostly against multivitamins and creating our own probably is best, but in your opinion what is the best one on the market? Thanks!

    • Hi Kaleb,

      I only recommend products I use myself or recommend clients use. Therefore the best multivitamin I recommend is a multi-mineral like Citramins II as posted in the article. You are more likely to get the vitamins from your food, but if the trace minerals are depleted in the soil, they are not in your food. Our fish and seaweed consumption has dropped dramatically, so iodine and selenium are a major priority. Magnesium has dropped off the charts, is practically non-existant in multivitamins, and is the most important mineral in my opinion. Molybdenum is starting to become clinically relevant.

      I know many people here want a multivitamin with everything, but until I see one that is up to my standards and I would use myself, a multi-mineral is the best and most affordable approach.

  • Thanks Alex! One more thing would u take a look at this aor ortha core and tell me what u think. Thank you!

  • Thanks Alex! One more thing would u take a look at this aor ortho core and tell me what u think. Thank you!

    • Hi Kaleb,

      This one looks better than most. Note that you need to take 6 capsules to get the amounts labeled on the back.

  • Alex, I asked xtend life about the folic acid in there supplements and they said this The folic acid used by Xtend-Life is the form of folate that is generally used in food fortification and in nutritional supplements. This form is also known as pteroylglutamic acid (PGA).

    This form of folate is absorbed more efficiently than the naturally occurring 5-MTHF and 5-FTHF (also known as pteroylpolyglutamates (PPG), because these forms must be hydrolyzed prior to absorption by the small intestines. So they say one thing and everyone else says something different. I don’t know what to believe anymore. Could u clear this up?

    • Hi Dylan,

      Folic acid must go through various steps to enter the folate cycle, including the enzyme FOL2 and DHFR. As you can see from this diagram, folic is actually taking two extra steps, while folate can enter with one less step. What can happen – especially with people with a decreased DHFR activity- is that folic acid can end up bottlenecking, and blocking folate receptors.

      The main form of folate from leafy greens and other vegetables is 5-MTHF. It is also important to know that certain probiotics in the gut produce folate as well. It is true that folate exists mainly in the polyglutamate form and must be hydrolyzed to the monoglutamate form before absorption. Absorption of folate monoglutamates then proceeds via a specialized, carrier mediated system mainly in the proximal part of the small intestine. Unless the person has a damaged intestinal system, this process shouldn’t be a problem. If it is, then green juicing is an alternative because it supplies folate in the monoglutamyl form.

      It can get even more complicated when understanding the importance of minerals and nitrates from vegetables in the balance of folate for healthy nitric oxide levels. This is why my research has lead me to the conclusion that food is superior in many instances.

    • Hey Dylan and Kaleb,

      EDIT: Just wanted to update you guys that I decided on the Thorne Basic Nutrients 2 a Day as our recommendation at Swanson Health Center for those who still want a multivitamin. This was even better than the Ortho multi with less pills, less money and people noticed a difference. My approach is still the same as stated in the article, but for people who make the decision to take a multivitamin as a base, this is better than most.

      • Can you take the Thorne Basic Nutrients 2 a Day with the Citramins II without iron or copper?
        Thank you

        • Hi Brandie,

          No, you wouldn’t want to take both because you would be getting too much selenium and manganese. It would be better to combine calcium and magnesium with the Basic Nutrients 2 a day.

  • Hello Alex, what is your opinion on drucker labs intramax organic trace minerals?

    • Hi Sandra,

      There is way too much going on in this product, while being overpriced. With that many vegetables, herbs, grasses and roots, it is a recipe for numerous people to react poorly to it. Especially with the addition of SAMe. It also uses sodium benzoate while combining vitamin C, and in warm storage conditions can create benzene (carcinogen). I wouldn’t recommend it.

  • I have just purchased Jigsaw Health’s Jigsaw Basic mainly because of the Magnesium that is time released. My husband has had some heart issues so I researched what vitamins he should be taking and this came up. I’m now wondering how they manufacture their products after reading this. We are both 40 and want to make sure we are getting enough nutrients and a supplement seemed like a good option.

    • Hi Amy,

      The vitamin packets are typically designed better than a standard multivitamin, with more vitamin C, magnesium, a probiotic and fish oil often used. There are 11 pills total with this packet, so this is much like creating your own combination. Based on the versions of the vitamins and minerals used, these appear to be designed well and there isn’t anything negative that is standing out to me. However I am not familiar with the company.

      You and your husband might be interested in an article I wrote on heart health, including a food and supplement chart at the end.

  • Hi Alex. Thank you so much for the great article. Please can you look into the following wholefood multivitamins: Mineralife wholefood Multivitamin and Viridian organic multivitamins.

    • Hi Shaazia,

      I contacted Mineralife to find out the source of their seaweed and if they do heavy metal testing, and I am still waiting for their reply. The vitamins A, D, E, C and b-vitamins are most likely very low and I question the stability of the B’s and vitamin C. For minerals, I think this is comparable to Concentrace by Trace Mineral Research as a liquid multi-mineral, which is about half the price.

      The Viridian Organic seems to do a good job on raw materials, but has very low calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin A, uses a form of molybdenum that is attached to ammonia (which isn’t good for people sensitive to high ammonia levels), cyanaocombalamin in some of the formulas and methylcobalamin (the right form) in others, but each one uses folic acid when it should be methylfolate.

      • Hi Shaazia,

        I received an email back and the seaweed comes from Ireland, with heavy metal testing for mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic. As a multi-mineral, this is most likely a good source.

        • Thanks so much Alex!!.. I have been using the Mineralife one, and felt a huge difference in my all around energy levels but it is abit pricey.
          .I Have one more query,theres a local wholefood multivitamin here in South Africa, It’s called Amorganic superfood multi nutrient dose…it’s a mix of hydrilla, camu camu, kelp, moringa and blue-green algae . Apparently high in B Vitamins , vitamin C as well as iron and plant based calcium. Would you recommend taking a superfood dose like that would it be a waste of time?

          • Sorry, last one. Metagenics phyto-Multi , also abit’s fairly a new one to come into south africa but supposed to be very good.

          • Hi Shaazia,

            Metagenics makes some quality products. It could be improved by having mixed tocopherols for vitamin E at a lower dose, vitamin D at a higher dose, including K2 with K1, selenium in the form of selenomethionine not aspartate, molybdenum as a glycinate chelate not aspartic acid, and containing at least some calcium (does not contain any). Vitamin D is best absorbed with magnesium, calcium, K2 and vitamin A. Another note is that 800mcg of methylfolate may be too high for some people, and can cause anxiety/inflammation as I have found doing genetic analysis programs at Nutrition Genome. I prefer 400mcg. I do like the phytonutrient extract profile, which is a nice addition. I think the Thorne Basic Nutrients is a better formula at a better price, if available for you.

          • I think the dehydrated superfood mixes can be good for mineral sources, but are poor sources of the water soluble B-vitamins, vitamin C, and compounds like polyphenols and anthocyanin because they degrade quickly during processing. This is why many dehydrated mixes often add b-vitamins and vitamin C back to it as seen in the ingredients. If you have unique superfood plants in South Africa that you can get fresh, that would be best! Something you may have access to fresh or dried is Baobab, which is an excellent source of minerals including calcium.

          • Thanks a ton
            Will see if I can get Thorne this side

  • I have a double polymorphism (MTHFR) and although simplistic, I was searching for a multivitamin not for me but for my family because I assume they have inherited 1 or both mutations. Im just looking for something balanced, bio available high quality and addresses the b vitamin mutations. Can you recommend a multi ?

    • The homozygous MTHFR 677 or heterozygous 677 and 1298 responds best to 600-800mcg folate, along with methyl-B12, B6, zinc, magnesium and riboflavin. I created a diagram on Nutrition Genome to better illustrate it found here.

      I finally updated this article with the multivitamin recommendation after researching, comparing and testing it. As you will see above in the article, Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/Day is the best foundational multivitamin.

  • Hello Sir Alex.
    While I do admire your diet protocol, as it’s seems effective, the reality is that given the relatively hectic lifestyle of humans today, finding the time to consistently organise and consume this potentially effective diet is limited.
    While Thorne Research seems reputable, I don’t believe their formulations are as thorough compared to Xtend Life’s products. Xtend Life’s basic multivitamin called Multi-Xtra seems more comprehensive in the ingredients than the Thorne Research version you recommended, and their Total Balance range are pratically in a league of their own at this time. Their website is extremely informative as to the quality of raw materials and various processes used to create their products, among other extensive info. Unmatched in my opinion.
    My personal recommendation for a practical balanced nutrition base is their Total Balance range combined with their omega 3 products and a greens powder from the Macrolife company called Macro greens. I have personally used this combo and the experience is better than words could ever describe.
    Supplements can provide a solid nutrient foundation if the best combos are implemented with a highest quality and comprehensive ingredients approach, which usually takes the form of a less is more mantra; as in individual products.
    A dietary protocol such as yours would be complementary; like icing on a cake so to speak. If a busy lifestyle causes one to miss the icing sometimes, the cake is there as a foundational backup. Great supplements may be a bit costly, but the convenience, consistency and benefits are strongly worth it.
    Good article man.

    • Hi Neil,

      Thank you for taking the time to give your input and experience. I have researched Xtend Life’s basic multivitamin (Multi-Extra) and conversed with them regarding the formulation. I agree with you that it is a fairly good formulation, however I picked Thorne’s Basic Nutrients over Xtend for a few reasons.
      -Xtend uses folic acid instead of methylfolate. I wrote an article in more detail at Nutrition Genome on why folic acid should be avoided.
      -Vitamin D is 2,000IU vs. 500IU in Xtend. This is significant since many people are low in D.
      -Vitamin E is 20IU vs. 103IU in Xtend. When you look at vitamin E content in food, it is naturally very low and is regenerated by C. I think this particular fat soluble vitamin should be in the 20-30 range. Xtend does have the right idea of going lower than other formulas and makes a note of it.
      -The use of lecithin in Xtend is from soy, which many people try and avoid.

      If they can keep their price point and make these few changes (esp. folic acid), they would have a very competitive multi. Thanks again for the feedback, and glad you have a system that is working well for you.

  • Hey Alex, the vitamin a in the basic nutrients 2 day seems to be synthetic. Is that correct? I was thinking that was linked to birth defects and cancer. Thanks!

    • Hi Dylan,

      I discussed this very question with a research doctor at Thorne. The vitamin A palmitate is synthesized into a bio-identical vitamin A compound attached to the saturated fatty acid palmitic acid, and is not linked to birth defects or cancer. The dose is also very low (2000IU), and many multivitamins that only use beta-carotene as vitamin A, are not really providing vitamin A. The beta-carotene needs to be converted to vitamin A, and this ability varies quite a bit based on people’s biochemistry and may be not be providing much vitamin A at all. Accutane as an example however, is a derivative of vitamin A (isotretinoin) and has been linked to birth defects which is why there is a warning not to use it while pregnant.

      If this is still a concern for you, I would recommend using the virgin cod liver oil for vitamin A and supplementing with other targeted nutrients.

  • Hello, I’m curious as to why u choose Thorne basic 2/day over garden of life my kind organics, considering all of the kind organics comes from food. Thank u!

    • Hi Kaleb,

      I think MyKind Organics is a solid choice for many people, but not for those with histamine and/or sulfur sensitivities may have reactions to it due to the daily dose of the blend (cruciferous vegetables, garlic, onion, spinach and tomato). Stomach aches and skin rashes can occur for example. I work with a lot of these types of clients, so it isn’t one I can utilize. I also question the stabilization of the vitamin C and the bioavailability of the zinc, that may need to be higher for many people. But if your body responds well to this one, then I think it is fine.

  • Hey Alex, thank you for always replying to our questions and all the info u provide us with! I seen this posted on another website about what synthetic vitamins are made from. I wish u would take a look at this and tell me if its true and if Thorne and others use chemicals like these. Thank you!

    • I didn’t see any cited sources backing up any of the statements on the page. I agree that nutrients from food (fresh) is preferable. I would disagree with many of the claims made however without citations, as the process, purity, final form and therefore safety varies manufacturer to manufactuer. The only citation I did see was when someone questioned the crystalline vitamins claim, and it was an article only about folic acid (which I have addressed why to avoid).

      The ascorbic acid studies alone negates the argument that these forms are all harmful or ineffective. The one company sponsored product that is recommended at the end to be “raw and without synthetics” uses methylcobalamin, which is a synthesized form of B12. Nothing wrong with it, but their claim isn’t accurate.

      Remember that the b-vitamins, vitamin C, carotenoids, polyphenols and other compounds from dehydrated foods deplete after processing, storage, light and temperature. That’s a fact. This is why you often see folic acid, ascorbic acid and carotenoids added in the ingredient section to many dehydrated greens or fruit powders. Also remember this article is written on a supplement company website with only one product in mind. If you have more questions, I recommend contacting Thorne Research regarding their manufacturing.

  • Here is the link I don’t think it worked the first time tried

  • Great website, I’m glad I stumbled across it! I did read the article on making your own vitamins, but I did have a question about Usana Mega Antioxidents and their Chelated Minerals. I have a friend who found research that showed studies that proved Usana supplies the best vitamins to take, especially for athletes. That I guess for whatever reason, it has the right amounts and the body absorbs it best, or something like that. I tried looking around for product reviews and mostly found articles about their selling issues, not the vitamins themselves. Is Usana a good brand? Thanks!

    • Hi Katie,

      I think the Usana Mega Antioxidants is overpriced and underwhelming. It uses folic acid/cyanocoboalamin, poor form of B6, only K1, and the beta carotene source is not labeled. The Chelated Minerals seems okay, but also does not have anything that would set it apart from many other mineral products. I’m not crazy about the added soy, which can be allergenic.

  • Hi, I’m a heart patient age 50, had 2 stents inserted last year. I also have macular degeneration (not advanced stage). I need a good multivitamin recommendation without beta carotene. Which do you recommend?

    • Hi Tony,

      Great question. I don’t know of a multivitamin that doesn’t contain beta-carotene, since every one I have seen uses it as part of vitamin A. With your combination of health issues, b-vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, selenium and fish oil are most needed. You would most likely need to get a multi-mineral like Citramins II without copper and iron by Thorne Research, and add other nutrients like B-complex, vitamin C and fish oil depending on the rest of your blood work. Dark greens and bright colored fruits and vegetables are also key.

      Heart issues and macular degeneration have been found to be connected in studies. A Rotterdam Study performed in the Netherlands found that plaques in the carotid bifurcation were associated with a 4.7 times increased risk of macular degeneration, and lower extremity arterial disease increased the risk by 2.5 times. I added this in because it shows the important of vitamin C, zinc and magnesium in both disorders, two of which are too low in multivitamins. Here is an article I wrote on macular degeneration.

      This is probably more than you were looking for in an answer, but I felt like might benefit from this information. Hope this helps!

      • Hi Alex, i was reading your replays. thanks for the information. however, is it really required to do supplement?? and in current market many brands says they are herbal and natural. which one you recommend ? do you think garden of life and megafood are safe? or similar like other brands. appreciate your replay.

        • Hi Ashwin,

          Excellent question, and a contemplation of mine that resulted in two related articles. The short answer is yes, everyone has different requirements, but we share common deficiencies that we all face. If we were all growing our own food, eating it fresh and had mineral rich water and soil, you most likely would not need to. However a young farmer in Washington I talked to was eating 100 percent off his farm and still ended up with a very bad magnesium deficiency. Simply put, if it is depleted in the soil and water, it is depleted in the food. The farther a food has to travel and longer it sits in the store or at home, the less vitamin rich it becomes.

          Companies like Garden of Life and Megafood use a process that involves a broth and feeding yeast synthetic vitamins. My opinion is that this is misleading because many people purchase these thinking they are just getting powdered fruits and vegetables. Whether these yeast versions are better or more bioavailable is debatable. We need more rigorous studies looking at the safety, purity and bioavailability to determine this. What I like about Thorne Research is that they use natural sources and plant extracts, and starting this year are in the process of doing double blind, placebo controlled clinical trials.

      • Hi Alex and Tony – I’m also looking for a Multi without beta carotene and I’ve found one (so far)
        Unfortunately the recommended dose will be at least 100mcg vitamin K2 MK-7 and I’m one of those reacting to MK-7 (heart palpations) if taking more than 50mcg. There is always something wrong… Sigh. Alex what do you think about this one?

        • Hi Lena,

          Nice find! This is a good company, and their formula is well designed for those needing one without beta carotene. Sorry to here that the K2 MK-7 isn’t a fit for you, otherwise this would be a great match.

  • Hi Alex, Unfortunately I cannot fet Thorne multi vit this side… my options are the mineralife liquid, the viridian range and one more, Patrick Holford optimum nutrition. Would you please check out the Patrick Holford range and let me know. I know with the Viridian, a separate calcium/mag supplement would hav to be taken but this supplement seems to stand out to me since they don’t use any fillers. I have read alot about the harms of magnesium stearate, which is commonly used in multivitamins so thought it would be better stay clear. Would love to hear your thoughts.
    Thank you

    • Hi Shaazia,

      If I was in your position, I would choose the Minerallife Liquid. I checked out the Patrick Holford product and wasn’t that impressed. As I talked about in this article, I think a good multi-mineral is more important than a multi-vitamin. Liquid natural sources like this one absorb well, and therefore are more effective.

      • I am starting up a health store, so Wanted to keep both the liquid and a pill form.. but might just stick to the liquid. Thank you so much.

  • Ok, I read every post, plus the article above. I have learned so much that my head is now spinning. Anyway, I am sure that I am lacking in vitamins and minerals. I am not overweight and am still pretty limber and strong at 47. Reality is what it is though and getting older is not kind. What would you recommend for me? I have 7 children, from 9 yrs to 28 yrs. I am pretty active. People always peg my age at around 35 to 37. I know we cannot stop the aging process but we can slow it down. I have no desire to just stop living or to become weaker simply due to my age. What can I take to maintain inner health and skin and eye health? Also, I have fybromyalgia and EB due to an adult case of mono about 8 years ago. Both of these bring on chronic fatigue. My budget is limited and I live in the mountains of WV so there are not a lot of shopping options. Thanks for any advice you may have !

    • Hi Keri,

      My head is still spinning from writing it, so we are in this together. That is wonderful to hear that you already appear to be slowing the aging process. With seven children, that can’t be easy! The 96 year old fitness buff Jack Lalanne once said “Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you have the kingdom.” Being active plays a major role for slowing the aging process.

      West Virginia is actually known for having some of the lowest levels of calcium and magnesium in their soil in the United States. Skin and eye health requires mainly vitamin A, C, E, zinc and carotenoids. Patients with fibromyalgia have responded very well to magnesium malate in studies, and EB responds well to vitamin A and C since they are both anti-viral.

      In case you didn’t see it, I created a food/vitamin and mineral chart. This also has the magnesium map of the US. It would depend on your budget, but I would make calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and C a priority.

  • Hi, thank you for the information on this great article. Can you please evaluate and let me know how are the NUTRILITE Double X multivitamins? They come in 3 tablet forms (Gold, Silver and 1 phytonutrient) – are they worth taking or do we have better supplements in the market? Please suggest and advise thank you

    • Hi Himan,

      Nutrilite uses synthetic folic acid, while the preferred form is methylfolate. The magnesium used is oxide, which only 4% is absorbed. Calcium carbonate is also poorly absorbed. B12 is cyanocobalamin, and is best as methyl of hydroxo. B6 should be P-5-P. The vitamin D is only 200IU, and should be 1,000-2,000IU. Corn starch, magnesium stearate and soy protein isolate in the other ingredients is also not ideal. I’m also not impressed by the added fruit and vegetable powders/extracts because they are very small and can deplete quickly.

      My conclusion has been that the Thorne Basic Nutrients is the best version of a multivitamin, or that you should target the main potential deficiencies separately based on your individual needs.

  • Alex, do u know much about MPB and does natural supplements like saw palmetto, beta sitosterol, stinging nettle and reishi mushroom work well in your opionion? What is your thoughts on propecia? Do u think natural supplements work just as good? Thanks

    • Hi Dylan,

      Good question. If I had a consistent successful natural regime for MPB, I would be a billionaire. As you have probably read, saw palmetto/beta sitosterol and Propecia both use the same mechanism of action, which is blocking 5-alpha-reductase from converting 5% of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) targeting the hair follicles and prostate. Reishi and nettle also inhibit 5-alpha-reductase, along with many other plants and minerals like zinc. Propecia and other drugs like it are more potent versions, and seem to be more successful than natural solutions for men’s hair growth. Propecia however has some potential side effects that seem concerning to me like sexual dysfunction and high grade prostate cancer, but perhaps only occurs in a low percentage.

      This is curious because natural 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors are beneficial for prostate health, and even the drugs showed a reduction in low grade prostate cancer in studies, yet they also found a higher percentage of high grade prostate cancer. Low grade really isn’t something to be concerned about, since 70% of men over 70 have it, and only a very small percentage will actually die from it. High grade however is aggressive, and that is something to consider.

  • Have you looked into prenatal vitamins at all? And brand you might be able to recommend?

    • Hi Erica,

      I currently do not have a recommendation, and I am considering dedicating a whole article to the subject. If you have any you would like me to review, I would be happy to give you feedback. Main tips to look for are 600-800mcg methyfolate, 4000IU vitamin D, choline, DHA and EPA from fish, K2, sufficient calcium and magnesium and probiotics. Make sure it does not contain food dyes, synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopoherol), synthetic beta carotene, artificial sweeteners and has been tested free of PCB’s/heavy metals for the fish oil, and tested free of lead.

  • Could you please recommend the best B complex?
    Thanks Alex

  • Alex, i am taken Thorne research 2/day now, if I take cod liver oil also will that be two much vitamin a palmitate? I was thinking of just getting Carlson liquid fish oil. Do u recommend a certain brand of fish oil or only cod liver oil?

    • Hey Kaleb,

      If you are taking the Thorne Multi, yes you would be better off doing isolated fish oil on its own. If you already bought the cod liver oil, you can keep it on hand if you start to catch a cold/flu for extra vitamin A and D. I think Carlson is a good brand for fish oil.

  • Two of the best supplement companies are
    1. The Synergy Company – tablet form Vitamin/ mineral/herb complex. They have other completely organic and 100% natural. There are men’s and women’s formulas. About $47 for a month’s supply.
    2 Mother Earth Labs- liquid based and 100% organic with no synthetics. A great addition is fulvic and humic acid. About $38/ month if you buy a gallon. This whole food complex lacks iodine and copper. That was disappointing. They are working to fix this. Both companies give good support.

  • Alex Swanson Thank You So Much for doing all this work & sharing this info and for replying to all questions !!

    • Hi Lena,

      I appreciate that! It is the inquisitive and appreciative community here that makes it well worth it.

  • Hey Alex, my sister struggles with anxiety and she said at night it sounds like her heart is beating in her ear and blood pressure goes up. She was on medication but wants to get off of it. What are some natural ways beside like magnesium glycinate to help her. Thank you so much.

    • Hi Kaleb,

      It is always best to figure out the source of anxiety first, since they are many and multiple ways it can occur biochemically. Since her blood pressure goes up, this shows the dopamine/adrenaline pathway is affected. Take a look at the diagram here:

      The adrenaline pathway requires vitamin C to modulate dopamine (racing mind), and magnesium to breakdown dopamine and adrenaline. Heavy metals can affect this pathway, especially lead. Vitamin C helps lower lead. This is just one way at how anxiety can be occurring based on your sister’s description. Depending on her medications, serotonin, estrogen and progesterone levels may also be off. I wrote an overview on anxiety that you can read here:

      I highly recommend having your sister check out and consider genetic testing. It is one of the most accurate ways to figure out why anxiety is occurring biochemically.

  • Dear Alex,
    Thank you for your dedication and all the effort you invest into helping people to be healthier! I’m so impressed and appreciative of your work. I live in York County, Pennsylvania. I just looked over the geographical map of average concentrations of elements in the soil and I am concerned to see we have the potential for some extremely high lead levels in the soil (maximum 147.95, Mean 27.9). I am currently trying to improve my health and have been trying my best to find supplements that will help reduce anxiety, increasive cognitive function and increase energy, I have been very lethargic. I am 45 years old and when I was 28 I had cervical cancer resulting in a hysterectomy, radiation treatement and chemotherapy (cisplatin and 5FU). Secondary to the radiation I had a bowel obstruction which resulted in a bowel resection removing 12 inches of small intestine and 6 inches of the large ( My apologies if this is too much information, I have never been accused of being succinct 🙂
    Unfortunately the result of this surgery has made it very difficult to eat the foods that I had always loved the most-fruits and vegetables! My Doctor told me that the part of the bowel that was removed is responsible for absorbing vitamin B12 and that I would need to supplement this vitamin. While I know the best way to get the B vitamins is from leafy greens, these foods result in diarrhea (as it is I have to take 4 lomotil everyday for the past 17 years to slow down my system, without it I would be doomed). Can you please give me any feedback on MacroLife Macro Greens? I have read everything I can unearth here on the internet about it and the reviews are wonderful. But what concerns me is that it states “Warning-ths product contains lead”, something I am sure I do not need more of due to the nature of our soil in York, PA. I have not been able to discover any heavy metals analysis of the product online. Is it true that most “Green Super Food Products” will contain some lead due to it being in the soil? For the past many years I have been taking lots of vitamins, especially B12. But to my horror I am now discovering that the “cheap” vitamins I have been consuming (mostly Nature Made vitamins) contain arsenic and other harmful ingredients and I am now increasing my budget to allow for a better quality vitamin. I have made note of the Thorne basic nutrients2 vitamins that you recommend and I thought a Greens product would be a good idea for me to take due to my issues with eating vegetables and greens. Im so sorry for the lengthy posting. Thank you so much, Erika 🙂

    • Hi Erika,

      Wow you have been through a lot! Let’s start with anxiety, cognitive function and energy. I recently posted a new article with a diagram of the energy cycle here. From here you can see that b-vitamins and magnesium are the big ones. Due to the bowel reconstruction, absorption of b-vitamins would be compromised and I assume magnesium has been avoided since it can act as a laxative. Both play a major role in anxiety, and B’s especially for cognitive function. Liquids, powders and lozenges are going to be preferable for each, and I wouldn’t recommend spending money on capsules since you most likely will not absorb much. I am testing out a liquid magnesium right now that you may want to look into called ReMag that is not suppose to have any laxative effect.

      For the MacroLife Macro Greens, lead is going to be in whole foods from the soil. As you saw from the soil chart, it is hard to avoid. The company actually did a good job of explaining Prop 65. Since you are in an area with higher levels of lead, you do want to be cognizant of your overall intake as you mentioned. This makes calcium and vitamin C very important, since calcium blocks lead and vitamin C lowers blood lead levels. I would take a look at the powdered buffered vitamin C I have listed here.

      It looks like the only b-vitamins you are going to get is a little B12 as added methylcobalamin. The reason you don’t see the other b’s is because the water soluble b-vitamins and vitamin C deplete very quickly after dehydrating powders. Overall it looks worth trying to see if your body likes it. But you will still need more B’s from other sources.

  • Dear Alex,

    A big thank you for taking the time to reply. I have been busy reading articles that you have authored all morning and I am learning so much from them. Your article “Mental Health Starts in the Gut …” has been is a big eye opener! I am reading and taking notes. I have a list of products that you recommend and it is growing. Very thankful that I stumbled upon your website and I will be following your advice to the letter! Blessings to you and yours~ Erika

  • I read your article and the entire comments section on this page. I’m learning so many new things about vitamins and minerals. I’m 35 and trying to get pregnant. I’m currently taking Fertiligreens powder, Pure Encapsulations Nutrient 950, and Royal Jelly and bee pollen in raw honey. I’m especially curious of your opinion on Fertiligreens. It’s pricy and it upsets my stomach a bit but I want to do everything I can to become healthier and get pregnant. I know fertility is not your field of expertise but do you think Fertiligreens is worth taking for my overall health? Also, I see that you advise the Thorne supplements, are Pure Encapsulations very inferior or are they ok? Thanks so much for all the info on your website.

    • Hi Bernadette,

      That sounds like a great combo! Royal jelly and bee pollen are amazing foods. I think Pure Encapsulations is a very good company, and I recommend their B-complex. The reason I chose Thorne over the Pure Encapsulations Nutrient 950, was that it was 2 capsules vs. 6 for the same month supply, and less expensive for a pretty similar profile.

      Make sure you are eating vitamin A rich food (esp. pastured eggs), because Pure only contains the carotenoids. I do some work with fertility, and based on your genetics (work I do at Nutrition Genome), you may or may not be converting beta carotene to vitamin A due to the BCOM1 gene. I began writing a full article on vitamin A to clarify the confusion in relation to pregnancy, but it turned out to be very long and I may not publish it. Let me know if you would like more info. Also, only 10-15 percent of women are getting enough choline, which is in Royal Jelly but you need much more. In my opinion, choline should be at the same level of importance as folate. Egg yolks are the best source.

      In terms of Fertiligreens, water soluble vitamins and antioxidants are not going to hold up well unless added back in. It it worth taking for the fiber because that helps SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) for estrogen, and it is a good broad source of minerals.

      • Alex,

        Wow, thanks so much for the comprehensive reply! I really appreciate your input. I didn’t know anything about problems converting beta carotene into vitamin A. I just assumed I was getting plenty. I just now did some quick searching and read some articles about beta carotene conversion. Both recommended cod liver oil, though I see that some sources say it should not be taken during pregnancy because it contains retinol. Would you advise taking cod liver oil while trying to conceive? I have a three year old daughter who was born via emergency c-section. I have suffered from frequent bouts of indigestion and bloating since she was born though I could not figure out the connection. Two months ago, I went to the emergency room with severe stomach pain and was diagnosed with a small bowel obstruction which the doctor told me must be due to scar tissue from the c-section. Surgery is not advisable so this problem will persist indefinitely. Anyway, I’m a little concerned that I’m not absorbing nutrients properly and that’s why I have frequent indigestion, though maybe my logic is flawed. I don’t understand much about digestion and nutrition. Sorry for the rambling. I guess my question is would you advise cod liver oil and do you think I might have difficulty absorbing nutrients and therefore need additional supplementation (I’m taking the Pure Encapsulations Nutrient 950 plus Fertiligreens and Royal Jelly/bee pollen)? Thanks again for your time!

        • Hi Bernadette,

          I do think cod liver oil is a good addition when trying to conceive. It contains A, D, EPA and DHA in a liquid form, which is why I recommend it throughout my articles. It is possible your absorption is somewhat impaired, but hard for me to know for sure. If it is, the best approach is to get extra nutrients through liquids, powders, lozenges and gels since our digestion begins in the mouth.

  • HI Alex! Wow, how kind of you to research all this! My doctor reccomended I start pure encapsulation women’s pure pack as we found out I have the mthfr 667 mutation. I also have hypothyroidism and take wp thyroid, a natural dessicated thyroid. I am curious as to your thoughts on this vitamin pack, particularly the amount of minerals. Could a seperate multi mineral also be take along with the pure women’s pack, like the one your reccomend from Thorne? Is there anything else you would reccomend for hypothyroidism? Thank you! Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’m glad people are finding it helpful! I would agree with your doctor that it is a good choice in terms of vitamin packs, however it may come up short for magnesium, vitamin A and zinc. You will definitely require more magnesium. The conversion from beta-carotene to vitamin A ranges quite a bit per individual, and zinc would be better at 15mg not 7.5mg. The main needs of the thyroid include iodine, selenium, riboflavin, magnesium, zinc and vitamin A. If choosing this pack, I would consider adding a separate magnesium supplement and focusing on vitamin A rich food. Adding sea vegetables to your diet helps boost your overall iodine intake.

      MTHFR C677T requires adequate riboflavin, and enzymatic function is normalized with 400-800mcg of methylfolate, depending on whether it is heterozygous or homozygous, and other factors in the methylation cycle. Both Thorne and the Pure pack provide 400mcg. Your homocysteine levels and other symptoms determine if you need to be on the upper end as well.

      The Pure Pack with extra magnesium may be sufficent depending on the factors listed. Otherwise Thorne Basic Nutrients, extra magnesium and fish oil would be a good similar combination. I wouldn’t however take another multi-mineral on top of the Pure Pack since you could get too high of certain minerals like selenium and manganese which can be toxic in high amounts.

  • Hello,
    Awesome information! I just wanted to get your opinion on Standard Process and Medi Herb. I have used their immune products with good results and B complex as well. However, their recommended joint supplement seems to have ultra high doses of manganese. What are your thoughts on this?
    Thanks for all the great info.

    • Hi Cam,

      It would depend on the product in question. I think that Standard Process and Medi Herb have some quality herbal and mushroom products. There are certain formulations that Standard Process uses that I do not agree with, and one of them is the high dose of manganese used for the B12/Manganese and Ligaplex product. My opinion is that a daily dose at that level is potentially problematic long term.

  • Hey Alex, is the vitamin k in Thorne research 2day in the mk-4 or mk-7 form? Which one of the two is better? Thanks!

    • Hi Dylan,

      Thorne uses mk-4. Mk-4 and mk-7 are both vitamin K2, but mk-4 is absorbed quickly and lasts for a few hours, while mk-7 remains bioavailable for up to 72 hours. Both have reported health benefits. For the general population in my opinion, mk-4 is sufficient, while people with extensive calcification or bone loss may want to consider both mk-4 and mk-7.

  • Hi Alex,
    First off thank you for the work you do in terms of helping people live truly healthy lives.
    I have a question since I’m new to the whole vitamin/mineral supplement thing.

    Is there a multi mineral that I could take which would give me the minerals I need? There probably isn’t one that would have everything but I’m looking for something that meets basic needs for the body. The rest I know would be built up via diet.
    Would it be one or multiple ones for specific things?

    Thanks again.


    • Hi Bob,

      Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. There are two that I know of and have used. The first one is Citramins II without Iron and Copper by Thorne Research. It is affordable and effective. The second one I have been testing is called ReMyte, and it is a liquid pico-ionic multi-mineral, but twice the cost of the Citramins II. Both of these would cover most of your mineral requirements, however ReMyte is low in calcium and magnesium and you would require another source for these.

      • Alex,

        i see you talked about magnesium:calcium ratio, but what about zinc:copper ratio, or is that just unimportant? i am a serious athlete who works out for 3 hours on some days. i read that the zinc:copper ratio is important, and noticed that some companies like Nature’s Life sells the zinc-copper in the 15:1 ratio, while others like PURE, provide the two independently (although in the same ratio) as separate products. Any feedback from you would be appreciated by every one here, for sure, because some sites make a big deal about the ratio.

        • i think i know the answer to my question: most foods are pretty high in copper, especially nuts and seeds, which i consume daily. however, unless i eat more red meat and eggs (which i currently dont), my diet would be relatively deficient in zinc, definitely higher in copper. therefore, i dont think i need any more copper, just zinc by itself would suffice. others’ needs may differ of course

          • Hi Bill,

            You beat me to it. The zinc/copper ratio is very important. There are many factors involved for higher copper and low zinc levels including diet, copper pipes in homes, women using IUD’s/low progesterone, etc. Vitamin C helps chelate excess copper and zinc pushes excess copper down. Of course, low copper can also be an issue for some people. So it depends on the person.

  • Hi Alex,
    ReMyte seems good, I’ll try them and see. What would you recommend for calcium and magnesium? I read your article on magnesium and had a look at the one you recommend by Thorne research, but was a little put off by some Amazon reviewers who mentioned the lack of any information on the bottle suggesting it was not exactly authentic. Any thoughts on this?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Bob,

      I have never heard anyone discussing that the Thorne Magnesium Citramate was not authentic. I looked on the US and UK Amazon for those reviews and couldn’t find them. Thorne is one of the most respected companies for purity and testing. Magnesium Glycinate by Pure Encapsulations is my second favorite. The liquid ReMag is good, but has a pretty strong taste and I’m not sure is most people would like it. Or if you want something straight from the source, use the transdermal magnesium oil spray.

      For calcium, I recommend getting it from food and mineral water like Gerolsteiner. Unlike magnesium, it is much easier to obtain from the diet and most people end up having a ratio that is too high in favor of calcium over magnesium.

  • Hi Alex,
    Perhaps I was reading the wrong product reviews. Anyway, thanks for clarifying that up.
    Two more questions if I may. Firstly, what is better to take, Cod liver oil or Omega 3 fish oil? Secondly, which brand/s would you recommend?
    Once again, thank you so much for helping. It’s great to have someone who can give truly honest professional advice, especially in this day and age.

    Stay Healthy!

    • Hi Bob,

      Happy to help. That is a question where the answer ranges based on the goal. For the purpose of this site, I recommend cod liver oil over fish oil because along with omega-3’s, vitamin A and D play a special role in testosterone, zinc absorption and immunity. Vitamin A is also depleted by heavy exercise and high protein diets common in athletes. Vitamin A in particular is needed by those who do not convert beta-carotene to vitamin A well, avoid eating liver and eggs, and have skin (eczema), lung (asthma) or eye issues. In the cod liver oil I recommend (Virgin Cod Liver Oil and Rosita) there is approximately 3,000-5,000IU per tsp. of vitamin A. This isn’t an amount where people start getting concerned about high vitamin A intake. They also haven’t been tampered with it by refining the oil and tinkering with added vitamins like other cod liver oils. Both also have a higher DHA content than many fish oils.

      Fish oil also has its place for those who are getting vitamin A and D elsewhere, are more interested in the properties of EPA/DHA, may want to dose higher, and can’t stomach cod liver oil. Both cod liver oil and fish oil should have very strict standards on heavy metal and PCB testing, and use natural vitamin E to protect oxidation. Carlson and Nordic Naturals are two brands that have a good reputation in this department for fish oil.

  • Hi Alex,
    Appreciate the information.


  • Hi Alex. My husband and I currently take the Melaleuca Vitamins. He takes the Vitality Multivitamin and Mineral. I take the Prenatal Pack which includes the Vitality Multivitamin and Mineral, Prenatal Omega 3, and Calcium. We both take the Florify Probiotic. What do you think of Melaleuca vitamins? We were thinking about switching to something else where we’re not required to order every month if we don’t need to or want to. And plus we were wondering if they were really that good. I was looking at Solgar Vitamins. What do you think about these? It seems hard trying to choose what’s “best”!
    Male Multiple Tablets (
    Prenatal Nutrient Tablets (
    Omega 3 *they have 3 different types*
    Probiotics *they have several different types, but here’s 2 that I was looking at*

    • Hi Kim,

      I’ll see what I can do! It absolutley is hard to find the best. In terms of Melaleuca, there isn’t anything that you can’t find from other companies if you are wishing to switch. If you want me to look at a specific formula from them, let me know.

      1. Male Multiple: Contains folic acid and cyanocobalamin. Best as methylfolate and methylcobalamin.

      2. Prenatal: Same issue. This can be a problem with a slow DHFR and MTHFR 677 gene. This can be known through genetic testing.

      3. Each fish oil product is molecularly distilled, contains natural vitamin E and doesn’t have any additives. These are all fine.

      4. With probiotics, the types of strains, diversity and refrigeration are important. It is difficult to say how potent any probiotics are that aren’t refrigerated. The Advanced Multi-Billion Dophilus looks like the best of the three.

  • Alex, could u please recommend me what u believe is the best probiotic. Thank u!

  • Hi Alex,
    Thank you so much for the information. Do you recommend taking Thorne’s Basic Nutrients 2/Day together with Citramins II® without Copper & Iron?

    • Hi Catherine,

      No, I would choose one or the other. The Basic Nutrients is a multivitamin and mineral, but is low in calcium and magnesium. All multivitamins are due to both of them taking up a lot of room in a capsule. Citramins II is just a multimineral, and contains higher amounts of calcium and magnesium. The choice depends on your diet and supplement (or medication) regiment.

  • Alex,
    Thank you for your reply. I was wondering if you’ve reviewed Thorne’s EXOS Multivitamin Elite? Thank you!

    • Hi Catherine,

      If you put the Basic Nutrients II next to the EXOS Multivitamin, they are almost identical except for green tea, curcumin, 150mcg of choline (equivalent to 1 large egg), lutein (can get it from your leafy greens) and bark extract in the PM dose. You are paying $32 more for those additions. The AM is to promote energy and the PM is to promote recovery. I like Thorne, but I think the EXOS is overhyped and too expensive, and you would be better off purchasing a bottle of magnesium in addition to the Basic Nutrients for recovery, sleep and a whole lot more.

  • Alex,
    Thank you so much!!!

  • Hi Alex,
    Thank you for taking time to help so many people and the wealth of information on this vital subject. Wanted to know your considered opinion of the Beyond Health multivitamins, in terms of purity, efficacy and composition please.
    Many thanks,

    • Hi Adil,

      I have tried the Beyond Health multivitamin, and while it is high quality, I’m fairly certain it is made by Perque and re-labeled. If I’m wrong, someone let me know. But Perque would be the less expensive version. I think the purity, efficacy and composition is excellent, however I don’t think the price is justified.

      • Alex,
        Thank you for your reply. I’m 51 and have been taking the Beyond Health multivitamins for almost 2 years now because of its reported purity and potency, but also and equally important for me, because it is free from the common allergens (dairy, wheat, gluten, corn and soy). I’m on the highest allowable dosage of statins (my LDL is around 380 before medication due to heterozygous familial hyperlipidemia) with LDL reduction to around 190 after statins, diet and exercise. I suffer from regular muscle pain after exercising. Do you think there will be better options (multivitamins with powerful anti-oxidative properties) for me considering my condition? I have a sensitive stomach and can only tolerate the buffered form of vitamin C. I take aspirin daily (100 mcg) for anticoagulation (2 heart stents in 2009) and not sure if vitamin K would negate the anticoagulation benefits of the aspirin?
        I would highly appreciate your views and recommendation.

        • Hi Adil,

          The regular muscle pain after exercising is most likely due to CoQ10 deficiency that is induced by statins, and low levels of magnesium. Vitamin K is usually only a concern if you are taking coumadin, and shouldn’t be an issue with aspirin. I would run CoQ10 and magnesium supplementation by your doctor and see if that relieves your muscle pain. Also don’t forget to stay hydrated with electrolytes during your workouts, because statins affect mineral homeostasis as well.

          • Hi Alex,

            Thank you very much for the your reply and suggestion; most appreciated. I will try that, but the problem with CoQ10 supplements here is that they almost invariably either contain soy (the soft gel form) or corn (the capsules), which I’m allergic to – unless there are other brands that you can recommend. Can magnesium be taken alone or have to be together with calcium? I should obviously avoid calcium supplementation due to calcification.

          • Hi Adil,

            I know there are soy free CoQ10 formulas, but I’m not sure about corn free with the capsules. The precursors to CoQ10 include the b-vitamins and magnesium. The main ways calcification occurs is from low magnesium (since it is a natural calcium channel blocker), low K2, high sugar, high caffeine and high glutamate/low GABA. Calcium intake isn’t the problem; it is the balance with the other factors. So since magnesium is low in our soils (and deficient in up to 80% of people), supplementing helps keep a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio in favor of magnesium to calcium in the diet.

  • Hi Alex,
    I stumbled upon this post while trying to find the seemingly impossible ‘perfect’ multivitamin for my son. He has sensory processing disorder (and possible adhd, but he’s only 4 so only time will tell) and we have found success with eliminating casein from his diet, fish oil (we use barlean’s high potency omega swirl) and epsom salt baths most days. He also gets a probiotic (NOW! Foods berrydophilus) and calcium (blue bonnet super earth rainforest animals). We notice behavioral issues if he doesn’t get his fish oil, epsom salt baths (we originally tried naturally calm powder but he refused it), and his multivitamin – currently natures plus animal parade. He takes all his vitamins easily except the multivitamin so I’m on the hunt for a better one that isn’t such a fight to get him to take. Because of his sensory issues, he gets few vegetables, so we feel he needs it; because we’ve noticed behavior issues if he doesn’t take it, we know there is something in it that’s helping him beyond nutrition (zinc? B vitamins?). I looked at Thorne research’s children’s multivitamin, but it’s not chewable and he’s not ready to swallow a pill – any recommendations of a children’s chewable multivitamin? We were thinking of trying Douglas laboratories children’s ultra preventative – what do you think of this one? Also, which probiotic for children do you recommend?
    Also, any recommendations of a multivitamin for adults that doesn’t have iodine (it causes major skin issues for me)? I currently take natures made multi for her.

    • Hi Rachel,

      I haven’t seen a chewable that I would recommend. The Douglas Labs multi uses folic acid, and this may be an issue with your son’s methylation cycle. The best approach would be to use Thorne or Seeking Health’s children’s multi starting with small amounts, and open the capsules into food so he doesn’t notice it is there. I learned recently of a probiotic called Inner-Eco, which is a liquid coconut water probiotic that appears awesome for kids. If you are sensitive to iodine, you may be having issues with sodium/iodide symporters. This can be due to low vitamin C levels. It may be worth looking into so that you can absorb iodine. Otherwise, Perque Life Guard is one high quality multivitamin that does not have iodine, but expensive.

      • Thank you so much for the suggestions and quick reply! I just read your article about making your own multivitamin and think I’ll go that route (I have no issue with taking multiple pills and overall lead a healthy lifestyle – exercise 5/6 days a week, homemade food, lots of organic fruits and vegetables, etc. – but I know I’m not getting everything I need and I feel better when taking supplements). Very interesting about the iodine/vitamin c – I’ve always just avoided iodine as it causes horrible inflamed acne for me, I will definitely look into it (as well add try the probiotic you suggested).
        You said that folic acid isn’t great for my son due to his methylation issue – I’ve never heard of this? Could you point me to some information on this? I want to do everything I can to help him be his best self. Also, due to my son’s oral sensory issues, what do you think about juicing for him? It kills me that he won’t eat anything green and would obviously love to get him his nutrients through his diet if I could.

        • Hi Rachel,

          Of course! Traveling for work and waiting in airports gives me a good chunk of time to get back to everyone. Yes, iodine is an important mineral for the thyroid and breast tissue, so it would be wise to understand why your body is reacting to it.

          There is folic acid and there is methylfolate. Folic acid is a synthetic version of folate that does not exist in nature. Methylfolate is the food form. Genetics play a role in the importance of methylfolate supplementation. Here is some info on both. Folic acid and methylfolate.

          Juicing is an excellent idea, especially folate rich greens. Make sure it is low sugar and he is getting enough fiber in his diet. A good combo would be romaine lettuce, parsley, lemon, apple, carrot and ginger.

          • Thank you so much for the info! Good news is that my four year old was able to swallow the thorne children’s multivitamin- he struggled with the six capsules though (and because he’s just leaning to swallow a pill, sometimes he only takes four or five because he’s ‘all done’). Would taking three in the morning and three after dinner work?
            Also, while trying to find vitamins that don’t contain iodine, I came across Thorne basic nutrients V – if I also took an iron supplement, calcium/magnesium, fish oil, and probiotic would that cover the basics?

          • Hi Rachel,

            Glad to hear the capsules are working for your son! Based on his age and the dosage, I would say it is perfectly fine if gets 2-3 a day total.

            Yes, that combination would cover everything. I recommend getting iron from your diet, unless you do not eat red meat.

  • Hi Alex,
    Thank you so much for your reply and enlightening feedback. Most appreciated.

  • Hi Alex!

    Just randomly stumbled across your site (and SO glad I did – vitamin research can be so overwhelming!) while looking for new multi-vitamins (I was taking New Chapter’s Organic Whole Food Women’s One a Day). I guess I’m curious to hear on how those stack up as well as your thoughts on Dr. Weil’s vitamin packs – not much ingredient info is provided from what I can see on their website.

    Also, I have a child with food allergies (dairy, wheat, gluten, egg, peanut, treenut – as well as seasonal allergies) and he currently takes Yummi Bear Organic chewables – any thoughts on those or what you would recommend and any additional supplements you’d recommend? Furthermore, I’ve been reading a ton on how gut-health is key to your overall health but many probiotic supplements are dairy-sourced which my son cannot have – what would you suggest?

    One last question (for my mom). How do Nature Made vitamins stack up?

    Best regards,

    • Hi Sarah,

      New Chapter was sold to Proctor and Gamble, so it’s not a company I’m excited about. But bias aside, like Garden of Life, they put yeast into a nutrient rich broth, add synthetic vitamins to the broth for the yeast, then synthesize the final product. The question with this process that I would like to know is, if it is more, less or the same absorption rate than comparable vitamin and mineral forms? And how stable is the final product against degradation? New Chapter also uses very small amounts of herbs for marketing purposes that are most likely not doing much. If you can find the Dr. Weil’s Vitamin Packs ingredient list, I would be happy to look at it.

      The Yummi Bear Organic chewables seem fine from a clean ingredient standpoint, but is missing some key players. Certain people do not do well with folic acid, and should use methylfolate (which is the food form). Most kids are not getting enough DHA, zinc, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium, which this product is lacking. Gut health is a major one for health and allergies. Seeking Health makes dairy free probiotics.

      I see a lot of older clients using Nature Made for some reason. I recommend avoiding them due to the use of synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopherol), folic acid, a poor form of zinc, and some undesirables in the other ingredients section.

      • Thanks, Alex! Do you still think Thorne is the best all around multi vitamin? Also, I see a lot of people commenting on their various conditions or genetic mutations (not sure if I’m describing that correctly or not). But is it common to get tested and if so, is this something a PCP would offer?

        • Hi Sarah,

          Yes, I do think Thorne is the best all around multi-vitamin. It is becoming much more common to get genetic testing done, and I highly recommend it. The genes people are referencing here are MTHFR C677T and MTHFR A1298C, and your PCP might offer it. These can help establish folate requirements, however it is best to get more genes in the methylation cycle tested to see how it is working as a whole. PEMT is another one that can tell you if you require more choline for example. If your PCP does not offer it, I do a genetic analysis through Nutrition Genome using the DNA file from 23andme or

          • Hi Alex,

            In reviewing the Seeking Health probiotics that are dairy-free, I see that the strains of probiotics are primarily “lacto”, “lacti” or “casei” based? This does not appear to be dairy-friendly but defer to your nutrition expertise – kindly advise.
            Also, the cal-mag levels in Thorne vitamins do not appear to have 1:1 ratio, but Seeking Health’s do? Thoughts?
            Thanks, Sarah

          • Hi Sarah,

            The Probiota 12 is the dairy free one. The bacteria all have the same name, however how they are cultured are different. For example, sauerkraut contains lactobacillus, but it does not contain any dairy. The Probiota 12 is not cultured with dairy, and therefore is dairy free. The Thorne Calcium/Magnesium CitraMate 90’s by Thorne is a 1:1 ratio (80mg of each per capsule). The Seeking Health one that I am looking at is not a 1:1 ratio. I’m seeing the opposite, so let me know if I am mistaken.

  • Do you think that Seeking Health’s optimal brands of multivitamins are as superior to Thornes? In both brands prenatals, Thornes had less vitamin d, calcium and magnesium and no k2. In your opinion, which prenatal is better? And what else should I supplement along with a prenatal? Thanks for your input!

    • Hi Kristin,

      I think they are both very high quality. I have had more positive feedback for the Seeking Health Prenatal, both the powder and multi. The challenge is taking 8 capsules, which is why the powder may be a better option. Like multivitamins, most prenatals are lacking omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, probiotics and choline. The Seeking Health Prenatal however is covering most of these fairly well except fish oil and probiotics. Increased calcium/magnesium may be needed starting the second trimester. Dietary choline should also be increased for the entire pregnancy. This should all be reviewed by your health care practitioner since these are general guidelines.

  • Hello Alex,
    I, like many other, are overwhelmed with the amount of multi-vitamin choices that are available out there. I was recently informed that I should not be taking a mulit-vitamin with Vitamin A as beta carotene because I am a smoker–although a light smoker–one pack a week. I was really shocked to hear this information. I have been taking Rainbow Light for women- which I purchase from Whole Foods- for many, many years. So now I’m panicked I have been taking Vitamin A as beta carotene for so many year and have now increased my chances of getting lung cancer even more so.
    On the label it states Vitamin A (as natural mixed carotenoids from D. salina) 5,000 IUs on the Rejuvinage 40+ I was thinking of getting today. On the Women’s One Multi-Vitamin it states Vitamin A (as Beta-Carotene, Palmitate) 5,000 IUs.

    I also have Hypothyroid (Hashimoto’s Disease) and am currently on a low dosage of the generic for synthroid.

    Other than that I am a pretty healthy at the age of 45, but confused as to what I should be taking for vitamins.

    I have been taking Olive Leaf extract every day now for a few months and notice a real improvement in my energy level. I read it is really helpful in keeping up the immune system.

    So, knowing this much, what would you suggest? I have not been able to find a multi-vitamin that does not contain Vitamin A at all so I’m wondering which Vitamin A would be ok for someone like me with a smoking history.’

    Thank you for your time.

    • Hi Pauline,

      Based on wanting a multivitamin without beta-carotene, I would look at ProThrivers Wellness Multivitamin. Vitamin C is a big one for smokers. One study found that supplements of vitamin C can largely stop the serious depletion of vitamin E that occurs in smokers, which is a possible mechanism by which smoking can cause cancer. Vitamin C is also important for the thyroid, along with magnesium, selenium, B2 and iodine. Vitamin C recommendations are found here.

  • Hi Alex,

    Sorry should’ve been more specific – I was researching the Thorne and Seeking Health basic multivitamins thinking I would supplement with magnesium (although there’s 3 or 4 different kinds?), pro-bio 12 and cod liver oil with oil butter. It appears what’s already in the basics is not the 1:1 ratio (but I’m sure very low levels as well)?

    • Hi Sarah,

      Ah, now I see. The calcium/magnesium in Thorne is small, so that ratio not being precisely 1:1 isn’t as important because I factor in people getting these outside of it. The Seeking Health is 1:1 for 250mg of each, but you are taking 8 capsules and paying twice as much. If that works for you, then yes it is a good choice. However, magnesium and calcium are optimally in the 400-600mg range when factoring in diet and supplementation. I have found calcium easier to obtain from the diet, and magnesium much harder, so magnesium supplementation with calcium rich foods in the diet tend to balance out.

      • Awesome! Thank you so much for all of your answers/help! I feel like I could pick your brain all day! 🙂

  • Hi,
    I loved your article as I am in the midst of a huge research effort to find adequate supplementation due to my special needs because of Celiac disease and hypothyrodism. I would like maybe to do a create your own vitamin pack as the dosages I need are quite different from just maintenance supplementation and just taking two or three of a multi isn’t a great idea because then I would go WAY over on things like vitamin E and A that should not be over supplemented. Do you know of any companies that use good quality ingrediants meaning: gluten free, all the “good forms” (for example: methylcobalamine instead of cycanobalamine, K2 instead of K1, zinc picolonate, mixed tochopherals etc.) and no artificial colorings etc? I would like to dictate the dosages so that I could create something that would include the high doses I need but in a flexible format but don’t know what companies are good quality. I would just buy it all seperatly myself but that is such a HUGE investement in time and money and means having tons of bottles all over the place so I prefer to have a vitamin pack made that would be a 3 time per day dosage.

    For example I would like to do something along the lines of: (I don’t have all my doses worked out yet as I haven’t got all the research figured out and all my labs back yet but this is my general idea).

    -2000 IU vit D: 1000 am: 1000 pm
    -3000 mcg methylcobalamine B12 3 times per day
    -400 mcg selenium 2 times per day so that I can start at 200 and work to 400 if necessary( treating immune problems)
    -150 to 200 mg of heme iron dosed 3 times per day
    -L- ascorbate 3000 – 4,000 mg vit C
    -Folate (don’t know yet how much still working on that but probably a therapeutic dose)
    -600 mg combined magneisum malate et glyconate
    -good probiotics (where I can shoose the strains known to treat IBS)
    -Digestive enzymes
    -of course all the minerals you talked about in the correct forms
    -the basics that need supplementing like A, E and K2 but in their good forms (though i was unclear from your article if A and E in their good forms should be supplemented or not. I am inclined to say yes since our food quality is sooooo poor and FRESH from the garden eaten immediatly food is not really available)

    so do you know of anyone or heard of anyone who could put this together for me so that i can just keep reordering?

    thanks for your help and for the great article!!!

    • Hi Melannie,

      Glad you liked the article! If I’m understanding you correctly, you are looking to have something custom made? I’m not sure if that is available, and you will most likely need to combine several products. You can have custom probiotics made, and the company is called Custom Probiotics.

      Since you have Celiac, I would get lozenges, liquids and powders due to poor absorption. For the majority of what you are looking for, I would consider Thorne Research, Pure Encapsulations and Seeking Health. For vitamin C, I would use C-Salts. I would look into cod liver oil for fish oil and vitamin A (contains small amounts of E) with extra liquid D. For liquid minerals, I would also check out ReMyte.

      Let me know if I can be more of help.

      • Thanks so much for the advice. I will check all those out as I agree that to get the best quality, i would need to just improvise my own. I have seen some companies that will do the packs of vitamins, but i have NO idea if their quality is up to snuff, so best to go with what we know is good I think. Thanks for taking time to reply 🙂

  • I just wanted to update everyone that I just included a new John’s Hopkins study in this article that found high folic acid levels from supplements and processed fortified foods doubled the risk of autism. Evidence keeps mounting on how problematic synthetic folic acid may be. It also appears that cyanocobalamin could be as well. You can see it under the B-vitamin section.

  • Hello, is seeking health multivitamin made by Douglas labs? The profile looks the exact same. I see u recommend Thorne basic 2/day as for as multivitamin goes and it’s the one I am currently taking, but just out of curiosity what multivitamin would u rank second? Thank you!

    • Hi Sandra,

      No, I don’t think Seeking Health is made by Douglas Labs. Seeking Health, Perque and Douglas Labs do have very similar formulas though. The Thorne Basic Nutrients 2 a day is currently the only recommendation I have for a multivitamin, and I am still looking for other options. I will let you know as soon as I find another multivitamin option that fit the guidelines.

  • Hi Alex,

    Great information here. I have spent several months looking for the best (high quality and bio-available) multivitamin/mineral I can get in my hands and found your recommendations regarding Thorne Research 2/day basic nutrients, which I found very sound after reading the arguments for it. I got curious and look into the company and found a variety of products and multivitamins/minerals there. I noted that Thorne Research has a performance nutrition line (called Exos), and being me someone who weigh train I got curious about the multivitamin-elite (AM and PM capsules). Those are NSF certified by the way. My long search for multivitamins resumed into these 4 and I would love your thoughts:
    1) Thorse Research 2/day (the ones you recommended)
    2) Thorne Research (Exos multivitamin Elite)
    3) Biovite (by RSP nutrition):
    4) Garden of Life, myKind Organic (Men 40+)

    • Hi Felipe,

      I like the Thorne Basic Nutrients II for the reasons listed, but also because it gives you a solid base (without breaking the bank) to add on magnesium, fish oil and vitamin C for example, to hit all the targets at the right dosage in conjunction with your diet.

      EXOS is formulated very close to Basic Nutrients II, but with higher amounts. More may seem better, but you can go too high with certain vitamins and minerals. This combination contains 1,000mcg of folate, and this may be too high for certain people. I recommend 800mcg of folate for people with a homozygous MTHFR 677, and they require the most. Too much can push certain pathways too hard. It also contains choline (equivalent to about 2 eggs), green tea extract, curcumin and bark extracts. Since the magnesium target for most people (esp. athletes) is in the 400-600mg range, this formula falls short at 170mg. If you wanted to use this one, I would still take extra magnesium to hit the 500mg magnesium target found in studies to optimize testosterone.

      Biovite looks like it is decently formulated, but has a few issues. It is missing K2, missing mixed tocopherols for vitamin E and uses caramel coloring (potential carcinogen). Ignore the dehydrated food blends. It is very small, they deplete quickly and are most likely for marketing purposes.

      I like the philosophy and intention behind the myKind line. The issue I have with it is that there are many potential digestive sensitivities from cruciferous vegetables, high histamine foods, and fruits/vegetables together in the mix. Since this is a whole food mix (one of the few), I would like to see how well the water soluble vitamin and carotenoid profile retains its value after packaging. Just like real food, the nutrient profile can decrease quite a bit after harvest, processing and storage. I have been reaching out to companies to test their product weeks and months after storage to ensure potency, but I haven’t seen any results yet.

      • Hi Alex,

        Thanks for your fast response! I will certainly now look to buy the Thorne Basic Nutrients II with more confidence. The argument you made about the possibility of going too high on certain vitamins/minerals made me rethink about Exos since my diet is far from being poor. And because I already supplement with magnesium and fish oils the Thorne basic nutrients II seems to fit better into my daily needs.

        Again, thanks for your response and congratulations for your excellent website. BTW, during last year I went into the same long search for the best whey protein I can get and now I realized I found the information needed here in your site (Promix was a great choice).

  • Alex, I am in the sun a lot, especially since it is summer time now. I am taking Thorne basic 2 day am I getting to much vitamin d u think? Thank you!

    • Hi Dylan,

      No 2,000IU is not an issue if you are getting a lot of sun. The vitamin A also protects against excess vitamin D, and your folate requirements go up with more sun exposure, provided by the Basic Nutrients.

  • Hi felipe .
    what is the best whole food vitamin do you think
    i dont want synthetic.

  • Hi,

    Can you suggest me multivitamins without Vitamin E, please. I have retinal issues and cant have vitamin E in the supplements.


    • Hi Navya,

      I’m not aware of a multivitamin without vitamin E. The Basic Nutrients has one of the lowest doses of E since many have 400IU. I would recommend using a multimineral, and supplementing vitamins (like vitamin C and D) separately as needed.

  • Hi Alex,
    Thanks a bunch for the response, would you recommend any particular brand of multiminerals as Thorne research doesn’t seem to carry one.
    Do you have a opinion on –


    • Hi Navya,

      I have one listed by Thorne in the article called Citramins II. I have been talking with the company you linked back and forth the last few months because I have been considering recommending it. My only criticism would be that they make the calcium to magnesium ratio 1:1 instead of favoring calcium, and I’m looking into the absorption of calcium from coral.

  • Hi again, Alex!

    I screenshotted the last response you gave me in my initial comment; I can’t seem to locate where I originally posted it. I wanted to keep it within the same thread, but instead, I’ll briefly review. In response to my inquiry regarding previous (regretful) experimentation with SSRIs a few years back, hormonal birth control, hypothyroidism, and post-op laprascopy from stage 3 endometriosis, you recommended taking basic nutrients by Thorne, Ashwagandha, magnesium, and answered your preferences regarding probiotics and fish oil.

    I am trying to develop a supplement regiment to combat/improve the health complications it seems have suddenly flooded my body (Hypothyroidism, endometriosis, 2 different types of horrific eczema) at 29 years old. I’m quite active and intend to stay that way (running, swimming, Crossfit, yoga). Ultimately I would like a consultation, but I’m in a rather large transition time at the moment prepping for graduate school and temporarily getting out of the Army. I will return upon completion of the program.

    My thyroid bloodwork (finally) came back normal after taking 75 mcg of Synthroid for about 5 weeks. My TSH level is now at 1.05, so that’s good news. However, is it possible to utilize a certain dose of Ashwagandha, or substitutional herbal equivalent every day as opposed to taking a synthetic medication? What are your thoughts on this? I really don’t want to be on this pill for the rest of my life, but so be it if necessary. It doesn’t seem like many conventional doctors are willing to explore or even listen to me regarding this.

    Does the thyroid medication effect birth control? Vice versa?

    It has been 40+ days since I’ve had the mirena IUD put in, and it is awful. I am removing it today. I don’t want to be on any hormonal oral contraceptives of any kind, but doctors have warned me that this is concerning because the endometriosis is bound to return with a vengeance (although there is no guarantee when or how severe). There doesn’t seem to be any scientific support that proves OCs prevent it’s return; it simply slows it down. It is still there microscopically. If there is no cure, what is the point of me suffering all these other side effects while I wait for it to “come back” (i.e. completely absent libido, depression, weight stall/gain, horrific skin issues, etc.) I just want to be in my own body and be left alone. I understand that the purpose of these treatments are to prevent the estrogen from further aggravating the condition, but I’ve also read that OCs can raise estrogen levels. I am tired of experimentation. I just want to be in my own, natural body.

    I know that a plant based, whole food, minimally processed/refined diet aids a great deal in this, and I do my best to follow it, but life without an occasional glass of red wine or chocolate is a bit sad. 🙂 Do you recommend anything to regulate hormones, estrogen, etc. in regards to this situation? Is there a holistic/naturopathic doctor you recommend either near DC/Winchester, VA area or online that would hear my case? Perhaps that is something to consider?

    Thanks for reading.

    • Hi Megan,

      I want to make sure that I am able to answer all of your questions accurately and thoroughly, so let me know when you have some free time to sit down for a consultation. I can go over all of your health history and blood work, and help you devise a plan to meet your goals.

  • Hi Alex,
    Stumbled upon your blog by chance and I am soo glad I did. All this is soo overwhelming.
    So I have been facing an imbalance in my hormones (my lh(11) fsh(6) to be precise).After doing a lot of research I realised I will need some vitamins and minerals to balance the hormones. Can you suggest a multi vitamin or multi mineral which can help achieve that balance. Also I read that you suggest Citramins but which is low in magnesium and calcium. so in which case do I need a magnesium supplement as well. Also do I need a multivitamin and multi mineral. I have a decently rich diet of fruits, veggies, curds and pulses but I am a vegetarian.

    Also can you suggest a natural herb for hormonal balance.

    My symptoms and deficiencies:
    low D3 B12
    lh to fsh ratio 2:1
    massive hair thinning inspite a good diet
    Facial hair
    Low energy
    thin skin on face
    looking dull and pale

    • Hi Archa,

      I would be happy to help you, but it would require doing a consultation to gather more information before making any suggestions. I would especially need to know what is causing the imbalance of your hormones.

      • I think its stress.. i have been going through some stuff personally.. my gyneac tested me for symptoms of everythin came normal ny ultrasound, testesterone, thyroid..only the lh fsh values. Even my periods are regular.
        I am based out of india..i dont know how to go about the consultation except write to you here. Suggest alternate options.

        Thanks Alex.

        • I am 30 yrs old..

        • Hi Archa,

          If you are just looking for a multivitamin, the Thorne Research Basic Nutrients II along with calcium and magnesium is going to help you achieve nutritional balance. If you are interested in digging deeper, we could always do an email consultation through Swanson Health Center. You can use the contact form on PaleoEdge or Swanson Health Center for us to talk further.

  • Hello Alex,
    Like many here I stumbled upon your site when performing a search on non-synthetic vitamins. Your information is exactly what I am looking for. Someone to do all the research… thank you for that!
    My dh is 69 (acts like 30) and has short term memory loss – probably a 10 to 15 min retention then it is lost. We are thinking it is related to moderate/severe sleep apnea that he has had his whole life. We are attempting to address this – but it could also be something more menacing such as frontal lobe dementia – he was heavy into sports when he was younger and got knocked around a lot. In saying this his family physician started him on B12 shots each week for 8 weeks, then supplementation which we are on our own for – just finished a bottle of High Energy Solutions D-3 and K-2 Chewables and Seeking Health Active B12 with L-5-MTHF. In reading some of your articles I believe he needs a multi such as Basic nutrients II supplemented by the Life Extension Magnesium which you suggested for memory on your magnesium page. I was also thinking we need to get him on a probiotic such as the VSL#3 or the Seeking Health again suggested in your articles. I did have him on Lion’s Mane just because I read it somewhere else that it is good for memory support, but probably need to keep it going as well. Can you let me know if you think this should do it for him – maybe a fish oil as well Carlson? – problem is he is also on an anti-anxiety Lexapro – which I would love to get him off – it was the replacement for him to get off Paxil which he was on for 10 yrs (lot’s of side effects if you don’t do it slow). Lexapro was suggested by the memory loss clinic, because someone years ago said he may have adult attention deficit disorder with some ocd which I can see a bit, but I don’t think it’s off the charts.
    I am intrigued by your nutritiongenome and may contact you in future to discuss this further. We were on Paleo several years ago and both lost a considerable amount of weight and felt wonderful, but life changes and stress took a hold and garbage food came back into our life and now we are back if not heavier then previously and feel like ‘poop’. Anyways if you could review my husband’s suggested supps then I will be able to get him going on them – problem is he doesn’t remember to take them so it’s up to me 🙂

    • Hi Pat,

      I finished an article last week titled Best and Worst Multivitamins for Seniors that goes in depth on supplementation for memory. I have also provided evidence for prescription drugs that may cause memory loss (or make it worse) in that article including anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. You are right on target with the Basic Nutrients, magnesium, probiotics, fish oil and Lion’s Mane. You may be interested in the research on Ashwagandha as well. Take a look at that article and if you still have questions let me know.

      • Thank you so much – seems I’m on the right track with DH – just need to add the Ashwagandha Root Extract. I’m glad to see the Lions Mane I have is the one you recommend.

        BTW, what is your take on melatonin? I have since a child been somewhat of an insomniac – I know magnesium will help – is there anything else to supplement this with?

        • Hi Pat,

          If B12, folate, B6 (all precursors to melatonin production) and magnesium do not work, then melatonin supplementation can be very helpful. There is another product called Kavinace that is basically B6 and taurine that people have had a lot of success using.

  • Hi Alex,
    In addition to the Thorne Basics 2/day, I’m taking additional magnesium (Concentrace Trace Mineral Drops), calcium (Douglas Laboratories Calcium Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite), fish oil, (Carlsons EcoSmart Omega 3), and probiotics.

    However, I’m also taking CoQ10, B-Complex (Life Extension BioActive Complete B-Complex), and Chromium Picolinate. I was also thinking about buying Alpha Lipoic Acid and ECGC. I’m not sure if this is all overkill. Your thoughts?
    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Catherine,

      Your base program in your first paragraph is very good. I don’t think CoQ10 is necessary unless you are on a statin drug or there is some mitochondrial dysfunction because b-vitamins, magnesium and manganese all help produce CoQ10 endogenously. Your B-complex is covered in the Basic Nutrients, so an extra B-complex may be overkill. Chromium is also covered in the Basic Nutrients. I don’t think ALA or ECGC is necessary unless you are working with a health care practitioner that has more information than I do and has suggested it.

  • Hi Alex,

    This is a really great, informative article. Thank you so much for sharing!

    I apologize if you’ve answered this already- I’m wondering if it would be ok to take both of the recommends you listed (the multi-mineral plus the multi-vitamin by Thorne Research), or is it best to just choose one or the other? I’m not sure if you can over do it or not.


    • Hi Lorene,

      Not a problem! I think I need to clarify that part of the article better. You would choose one or the other. The Basic Nutrients includes both vitamins and minerals. The Citramins II is just the minerals, but higher amounts of calcium and magnesium. The Citramins II would be for people who want to dose their vitamins and minerals separately.

  • Hi Alex,

    Thank you for the great article.

    My question is, does the Synergy company use Saccharomyces? Do you have that confirmed? In your answers so far first you mentioned they used yeast, then an unnamed micro-plant, so I’m bit confused. Why wouldn’t they state like others if they used Saccharomyces?

    Also, what do you think about the multivitamin from Sunwarrior, Daily Multivitamin For Him? The company that supplies them is Orgenetics, and on their website it says:

    “Orgenetics pioneered a revolutionary and innovative new concept in the nutraceutical industry: 100% USDA Certified Organic and All Natural vitamins and minerals from water based extracts of fruits, vegetables, and botanicals (along with naturally occurring co-factors and co-nutrients of the same plants).

    That means no synthetic vitamins or minerals are added. No fermentation of any sort is used, and no solvents/excipients/carriers are used in the process, giving rise to Orgen® brand functional ingredients.”

    Are they hiding something as well? You have to take 3 pills and for that you get some pretty low scores in certain areas (esp. minreals), but if the vitamins are legit…

    Thank you for your insight.

    • Hi Antonio,

      Good questions. Yes, Synergy uses saccharomyces and I had it confirmed over the phone. It is the same process as Garden of Life and MegaFood. Their literature states they use a micro-plant, but that is actually brewer’s yeast. Why they wouldn’t just state they use brewer’s yeast is a good question because it appears that some of these companies don’t want people to know that it isn’t just powdered whole foods. To be fair, powdered whole foods do not hold up their nutrient value well after harvest, processing and storage, and some concentrated greens powders have been found to have higher amounts of lead. But I have yet to see any clinical evidence showing an advantage to the feeding yeast USP vitamins/minerals in a broth process in comparison to other supplements.

      I have reached out to Sunwarrior multiple times and have yet to get clear answers. Another reader attached a link to a blog article on their site that made a lot of claims that didn’t have any sources to back it up. The formula appears to come from plant extracts except for the b-vitamins which must come from yeast at those levels. I like the blend of adaptogens, but it doesn’t say how much of each. Typically these blends are very small. The formula is missing boron and molybdenum, very low amount of K2, low amount of zinc, low amount of vitamin C, and low calcium/magnesium. It does use synthesized methylcobalamin (B12), but nothing wrong with that. The questions I would like answered are:

      Is the folate methylfolate or folic acid?
      How much of each adaptogen is used? What is the total amount in milligrams of each blend?
      Is any of the formula derived from yeast?
      If the formula is from whole foods, have you tested the product after weeks or months for stability?
      Is the maca root raw? (Maca shouldn’t be consumed raw)
      Any clinical blood tests for absorption?

      If I could get more answers, I could give a better overall assessment.

      • Thank you for the reply. I guess the jury is still out on the Sunwarrior, but the fact they don’t reply or provide explanations doesn’t bode well.

        I’ve ordered a bottle so I’ll see if i feel any effect. The lack of minerals doesn’t really bother me as i use Thorne’s Trace Minerals anyway. Somehow the idea of synthetic vitamins just makes me sick. So far I’ve been taking a combo of Sonne’s natural vitamin C, brewer’s yeast for B’s, D from lanolin and A from cod liver, but it’s a lot of pills and a bit to pricey for long term. The search continues i guess!

  • Hi Alex,
    Thank you for your in-depth article. I have been looking for information similar to this that would be of interest to the readers on my alcoholism website.

  • HI Alex,
    Concentrate Trace Mineral Research Drops contains Fluoride and isn’t it bad for health??

    • Hi Jackie,

      When I originally inquired about this to the company, I was assured that it was very minute. The same with other less desirable metals. But upon further investigation, I think that there are better products out there that just have the major trace minerals without any fluoride. However, I would need to see a full profile of mineral water to see if the same minerals and metals are present in minute amounts, and if they are indeed a problem at those levels. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and I’ll keep digging.

    • Hi Jackie,

      I did my homework on fluoride thanks to your question and wrote an article on it:

      Trace Minerals Research sent me their specs on Concentrace, and the fluoride content does fall way below what is in our water, and is comparable to what we would get naturally in food. In a full serving for a gallon of water, you are getting 5-10.75 micrograms. In food, you will find it below .1 milligram per liter (mg/L). Black tea is a high source and has 3-4 milligrams/L. In the US water supply, the range is .07 milligrams to 1.2 milligrams per liter, with some sources being potentially higher. So I think Concentrace remains a good source of minerals with a profile similar to food, but is a special source of lithium. This is lacking in our water supply (also found in mineral water) and is an important B12 carrier.

  • Hi Alex, You are definitely a wealth of information, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your articles! I had Gastric Bypass RNY 4 years ago, and a side effect of the surgery is malabsorption. Because of the malabsorption issues, I need to take vitamins/supplements for the rest of my life. I’ve been searching for a chewable multi vitamin, and just can’t seem to find a good one. I know that you recommend the Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/Day, but that is in capsule form (I don’t see a chewable or liquid option), and my body won’t absorb it as well. I’m not opposed to taking a kids chewable, and just doubling or tripling the dosage as required (price isn’t an issue for me – as I just want to be able to find a really good chewable, and feel that the cost will justify itself with the right vitamin). I’m also anemic (have needed several IV iron infusions), and even though it’s not the greatest, I currently take Feramax.
    I know that you don’t promote many vitamins other than the Thorne Basic Nutrients, but, at this point, I really need to take a chewable multi, and I am just at a loss as to where to begin. At this point, I am not taking a multi vitamin, and I’m afraid that not taking one is doing more harm than good, as with my malabsorption issues, I can become quite deficient very fast. What is your recommendation in my case? Should I just be looking for separate chewables for each vitamin that I need, or would that be way too many pills per day? Thanks so much, and looking forward to your response!!!!

    • Hi Tracey,

      Glad to hear it! Sure, I would be happy to give you some options. My standards are extremely high, which is why you don’t see a lot of other options. But I can give you alternatives that will be better than most.

      Since you have been anemic, B12, folate, vitamin A, iron and vitamin C should be priorities. Vitamin A helps mobilize iron from its storage sites, so a deficiency of vitamin A limits the body’s ability to use stored iron.

      For a chewable, the Seeking Health Chewable Multivitamin is one of the only good options that I am aware of. For a liquid, I am still vetting the Organic Liquid Multivitamin and Multimineral by Mary Ruth. I have been talking with them and waiting to see the stability tests of the b-vitamins and vitamin C. While it isn’t complete, you are getting most major nutrients. I don’t have a recommendation for a good chewable or liquid iron supplement, but this would need to be added and shouldn’t be too hard to find.

      Let me know if this helps answer your questions. If you come across others that you are interested in, post them here and I’ll research them for you.

  • Please give your opinion on puregenomics multivitamin by pure encapsulations. I am homozygous for the mthfr c677t mutation. I took this vitamin before, switched to methyl -life multi but did not feel as well as when using puregenomics. I did note however, that it has been reformulated since last year and no longer contains lithium orotate. Do you still recommend The Thorne multi to the puregenomics when mthfr definitely comes into play? Thank you for your knowledgeable and most informative articles.

    • Hi Deborah,

      Thank you for reaching out and letting me know that the PureGenomics has been updated. For a homozygous MTHFR 677, 800mcg is the dosage used in studies to reduce homocysteine. So yes, I think the PureGenomics is a preferable choice when 800mcg of methylfolate is needed, as is the case for many with a homozygous MTHFR 677. However, it is important to look at the other pathways of the methylation cycle to see how BHMT/choline, CBS and MTR/MTRR/B12 are functioning because sometimes the alternate routes are working well and 400mcg may be enough. Care needs to be taken that you aren’t taking too much methylfolate as well, and you can get a good amount in your diet. It is important to look at your homocysteine levels first along with the other genes.

      Lithium is a B12 carrier and plays an important role in transportation and for mood. High doses of B12 can lower lithium levels. Supplementing with it is a little more challenging and my preference is to get it from mineral water and certain foods if possible. Variants in the gene TCN1 and TCN2 are both related to B12 transportation, and may provide a clue for lithium needs.

      • Thank you so much for your response. I am familiar with too much methyl folate beng too much of a good thing. I was placed Ina compounded vitamin when I was first diagnosed and got better slowly over a year but then started to feel extremely anxious and agitated. That is when I began trying a multi that would keep me leveled out. However I just had a hormone panel run and my estrone levels had increased and my progesterone was very low. My dr feels I may not be methylating adequately again, I had a full hysterectomy when I was 42 and use a hormone pellet and progesterone supplement . I do feel I may have a cbs mutation as I have reactions to sulfa drugs and too many sulfur foods make me feel horrible. I was only tested for mthfr though so I don’t know for sure – just going by symptoms. I think I am going to try the Thorne vitamin. Thank you so much for your help and really quick response. People like you are a godsend to so many trying to muddle our way through so much info .

        • Hi Deborah,

          That is very kind of you to say, thank you. Another strategy is to only take it 2-3 times a week. I have seen this work for people who are sensitive to methylfolate.

          If you are ever interested in getting a full genetic panel done, I do a comprehensive analysis at Nutrition Genome. There are also articles there that are focused more on nutrigenomics.

          • Thank you for all the great information Alex. I have alternated days with my methylation vitamins in the past and it has helped with the over-methylation side effects. If I continue to have issues with my estrone, I am going to run my 23&me. If I do this, I will definitely run my numbers through your site. Thank you again for helping with my health questions, and requiring nothing in return. You are a rarity!!!!!

  • Hey Alex, I was going to buy the life extension 2/day because it is more widely available, but I called them and they told me the beta-carotene is synthetic and I thought that was a not good. What do u think about that? Thanks

    • Hey Dylan,

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Life Extension has more research articles than any other company I have come across, and I am shocked that they do not use a natural beta carotene. The lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene are from plant extracts, so this is strange. I got on the phone with them this morning and their explanation was that the studies have been mixed, the raw materials for the product may make it too expensive, and their dosage is well below what was used in the negative findings. I brought up the study I linked and my own explanation, and they are sending it to their research and development team and clinical team to review. I will be removing the Life Extension product from Best and Worst Multivitamins for Seniors article and will only add it back if the formula is changed. I will need to find a new one without vitamin K.

  • Hi Alex,
    I am in awe of your research and the time you take to actually respond to all of us searching the complicated world of supplements. My mother was a patient at the Pottenger/(Price) Clinic as a young woman so I was raised with that paradigm – and raised four grown sons without ever needing to see a doctor. The gospel of organic gardening, raw milk, cod liver oil etc. So now entering into non food supplements seems counter intuitive and having read all the comments here I see I’m not alone. Everyone seems to be disappointed that “whole food” supplements are like the wizard behind the curtain in OZ!
    The only thing I ever took was the Pure Synergy green drink until I started taking their multi and B’s. I’m very grateful to reading your explanation of how Synergy’s vitamins are actually yeast based.
    Last year I had a health crisis of near death from a strangulated femoral hernia and surgery. That was my first experience with any doctors, drugs or medical tests except for giving birth four times and each birth was completely non intervention – no IV’s or drugs. Now am restoring my digestive system; make my own kefir (grass milk low temp.pasteurization) and Einkorn bread with my kefir starter, we live in Alaska so lots of salmon, some grass fed meat, pretty good organic produce, and I love my grass fed ghee. Am taking OrthoMolecular Methyl CpG, Reacted Magnesium and Vit.K2wD3. You suggested ProThrivers Wellness Multi instead of the Thorne for people not wanting beta carotene. Do you think the retinyl acetate is ok in the ProThrivers? And is the Annatto Seed Mixed Tocotrienols vitamin E? And it doesn’t have any Choline – maybe I get enough in my diet…(?) It would be great to just take a Multi and Magnesium. I like the OrthoMolecular Magnesium because it uses Malate, Citrate and Glycinate and I’ve been unable to find another Magnesium that has all three. Thank you so much for reading this….to sign up for a consultation do I just go to “Contact” on the consultation page?
    One more thing, it seems strange that Nutraceutical Corp. has bought SO many companies up and all within the last few years, maybe it’s ok, but what do you think?

    • Hi Jill,

      Sorry for the late reply. I didn’t receive an alert that I had comments waiting. I am very sorry to hear about your scary experience with the strangulated femoral hernia. It sounds like your diet is very ideal, especially having access to all that salmon! As for the Pro-Thrivers, it was the only one I could find that didn’t have beta carotene and used methylated b-vitamins. The majority of formulas will use a mix of beta-carotene and retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate. There is a lot of conflicting research and disagreement with these forms. From my interpretation of the studies, it appears that vitamin A in the form of supplements given at a large dose, during a time of key embryonic development is the key understanding of toxicity. Most supplements only use 2500IU, and the potential toxicity may be 10,000-25,000IU.

      To give you a reference from food, approximately 3.5 oz. of liver has 52,000 IU of vitamin A and was consumed once a week by many generations, even during pregnancy. Taking 1 tsp. of virgin cod liver oil daily would be equivalent to approximately 3,000-5,000IU per day. Three bright orange pastured eggs per day could give you up to 3,000IU per day.

      I think choline is best from the diet when possible, and salmon does contain choline. Some people do not respond well to choline supplementation and it affects their sleep. If you have access to caribou in Alaska, 3.5oz of shoulder meat has 130mg. Yes, the annato seed mixed tocotrienols is vitamin E.

      With your diet and food access, I wouldn’t see the need for a multivitamin. Great find on the magnesium, I will have to check that out. As for Nutraceutical Corp., I think you do always have to pay extra attention to the quality when it switches hands. New Chapter being bought by Proctor and Gamble comes to mind.

      If you are interested in a consultation, you can send me a note through the contact form. Look forward to speaking with you.

  • Thank you so much for this information! I appreciate all of the work you put in.

    Have you had a chance to examine the (0 for Life, Youngevity products? The Healthy Body Pak formulated by Dr. Joel Wallach has the 90 nutrients our bodies need. This is the claim and I was wondering if you have any evidence. They say the supplements are organic, natural and made with whole foods.

    I look forward to your answer.

    • Hi Rosemary,

      Thank you! I wasn’t able to find a lable on the products to analyze. Do you have a lable I can look at?

  • 90 for Life …sorry about the typo

  • Hi Alex,

    I was looking for a multivitamins and came across your site and it was very helpful. Can you give your thoughts on Supreme Multivitamins by NBI Health?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Mark,

      The Supreme Multivitamins by NBI Health has some pros and cons. The pro is that it has 1,000mg of vitamin C, 1000mg of vitamin D, methylcobalamin and a 1:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium in a higher amount than usual (150mg each). The con is that it only contains vitamin K1 (K2 is best), folate is in the form of folic acid (best as methylfolate), B6 is not in the form of P-5-P combined with pyridoxine hydrochloride, and iodine is very low (25mg, should be 100-150mg). With these improvements, it would be a good one.

  • What do u think about pure encapsulations o.n.e? And will u look and tell me what u think about this one.


    • Hi Kaleb,

      I considered the Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. for the senior’s multivitamin article because it doesn’t have vitamin K, but decided against it because the beta-carotene is synthetic from Blakeslea trispora. I had to call four companies to confirm that is a synthetic source.

      I spent a lot of time on the Whole Earth Sea multivitamin because it looks like it has potential. You are bridging the best of both worlds by including organic food while also using the right forms of synthesized vitamins and minerals. I spoke with the company at length this morning, and found out that the organic plant mixture is dehydrated, not from yeast-fed vitamins like others we have discussed. The amounts that you see on the label are “topped off” with extra vitamins and minerals to hit the target on the label which is why you see other forms beyond food. That is a point to remember when looking at whole food vitamins, because they have to hit consistent amounts for each batch. In reality, each label would range quite a bit based on the soil, season and harvest if it was truly just dehydrated food. My only hesitancy with this one is that they use folic acid, and once again for people with sulfur issues or any other allergies that may be in the mix. But I told them that if they would change the folic acid to 400mcg of methylfolate, it would be a good product. We will see if they do it.

    • Hi Kaleb,

      I got an update from Pure Encapsulations. They now use D. salina for the beta carotene, and the spec sheet on the website hasn’t been updated. So that is good. This formula also only has B6 as pyridoxine HCL and is missing P-5-P, and the vitamin E would be best with mixed tocopherols, however it has many other strengths that make it a good fit for the senior multivitamin article.

  • I was wondering if MegaFoods one daily is okay? I have a bit lower iron levels due to IBS and Megafoods was the supplement I saw that was popular among people who have anemia. But I did further research because when I looked at the ingredient list I always make sure to look at the Folic acid, Mangesiam, and B12 types used, and the only thing listed was something like a yeast. They didn’t even list what type of iron was used.

    A lot of these so called whole food vitamins and expensive ones all contain the bad forms of folic acid, magnesium and b12.

    • Hi SiscoKid,

      I had to do some investigating because the MegaFood formula has changed. I talked with the company for a while, and it turns out as of June 14th 2016, they have changed their formula to include methylated B12, methylfolate and active B6. They do use a delivery system of feeding USP vitamins to yeast in a food matrix that creates a yeast bound vitamin or mineral. Some of it is directly from whole foods like the beta-carotene in carrots. The choline is synthesized. It does not contain any calcium or magnesium, but that is common because they are bulky and take up too much room in the capsule. They could not give me any of the original forms of iron or other minerals used because they are altered by the yeast.

      There is no research on yeast-bound vitamins or minerals being superior for absorption or utilization to other forms. If we had clinical trials, it would be extremely helpful. I think the MegaFoods formula would be the superior one to try now that they are using the right form of the b-vitamins and do not contain high sulfur or histamine dehydrated mixes. It ranges in methylfolate (100-400mcg), however for people that are sensitive to methylfolate or do not have variants in MTHFR that create a higher need, a lower amount is sufficent. The 200mg of choline could be very beneficial for those with multiple PEMT gene variants or do not eat choline rich foods. Everything in general is a lower dose, which could make it a good alternative multivitamin to the more potent Thorne Basic 2 a Day. I will consider adding it to the article now for those seeking another option.

  • What do you think of balance of nature fruits and veggies. They claim they are real food flash dried to retain all the nutrients and it’s like getting at least 10 servings of fruits and veggies a day from a total of 3 capsules each.

    • Hi Janet,

      I spoke with a doctor at the company who was very pleasant and helpful. They claim that their flash-drying process retains 99% of the nutrient value which is impressive. The fruits and vegetables are organic and they do testing for heavy metals. My question for them is when the testing occurs and if they hold their value weeks or months later. Also how the b-vitamins and vitamin C remain stable since the water is removed. He said they would email me back with answers to those questions.

      The other issue to consider (at least with the veggies) is that you haven numerous high sulfur foods (broccoli, garlic, onion), soybeans, cayenne and spinach among others. While these are all beneficial, these can be hard on the digestive system at once in a dehydrated, raw state for some people. So it is up to you how well you tolerate the mixes.

      • Thank you Alex. I look forward to hearing their response to your questions. Thank you for the info on the sulfur issue that could be a problem for some. I have done a lot of reading and research on supplements and health but haven’t come across anyone with the knowledge and actual true facts as you. Most are very uninformed and just repeat what another website said whether it is right or wrong. Thank you and I look forward to reading more of your articles.

        • Hi Janet,

          I really appreciate that, thank you. There is so much misinformation online and my goal has been to be a reliable source.

          I still haven’t heard back from Balance of Nature. I will call again on Monday. I have asked this question to multiple companies, and often times I do not receive an answer back. It is very important that testing takes place weeks or months after a dehydrated whole foods product has been processed to ensure its stability. Since they do not have a label but have done testing, I think that the consumer should see what they are getting in a sample batch even if it changes batch to batch. Liquid formulas are also vulnerable, and the latest Consumer Lab report found that a Pure Encapsulations liquid multivitamin only contained 17% of the folic acid listed (same has been true of methylfolate).

        • Hi Janet,

          I received an email back on Monday and have been waiting to hear back regarding a test batch to verify the amounts of b-vitamins and vitamin C. Here is the email.

          “The stability of our fruits and veggies is due to the process we use of what is called flash drying and sublimation. We do no use any heat or air drying that can destroy nutrients. The nutrients are preserved through the freeze drying process. There is a difference between a chemical and more of a physical process like we use. The flash drying creates a vacuum where the water acts differently creating a change from a solid to a gas called sublimation. Water in it’s liquid phase acts as a solvent and insures that their are no chemical changes in the Fruit and veggies.
          It’s interesting that in the initial research we did freeze drying of a pea and it actually sprouted following the process.”

          I thought this was very interesting and hope to see the data from a test batch.

          • That is extremely interesting. If I am understanding this right they have sent a batch to be tested and will be letting you know the results. If this is true I have to say I am impressed with their willingness to follow thru. I am looking forward to their results. Thanks for the update.

  • Dear Alex,

    I am trying to conceive and wanted to start taking prenatal (1st pregnancy). I started taking My kind Organic Prenatal Once Daily with Nordic Naturals ultimate omega for a week at bedtime and got terrible headaches. I am not used to taking multivitamins as they usually make me feel shaky. What do you think of Actif Prenatal? What prenatal would you recommend for someone sensitive like myself.
    Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Hi Cannelle,

      Do you know what your sensitivites are? You may be sensitive to b-vitamin supplements if they are making you feel shaky. The Mykind Prenatal has a lot of potential allergens for people due so many different foods in the blend. If you can help me narrow down what you might be reacting to, I can help you navigate the best options.

      The Actif Prenatal has a lot of good things going for it. I’m curious why they used cyanocobalamin instead of methylcobalamin since they are using methylfolate. I sent them an email with that question. Also, vitamin D2 is also not absorbed as well as vitmain D3.

      • Did you find anything out? I’m researching this brand, are they legitimate?

        • Hi Amanda,

          I can’t get them to return my emails and they don’t have a phone number. Try to reach out as well and see if you can get a response.

      • Hi Alex,
        Sorry never saw your answer 🙁 I am intolerant to lactose but I know they do not contain any. What about the synergy company prenatal? I did a blood test and I have very high level of folate which is a good thing I guess 🙂
        Just wondering the healthiest and easy to digest prenatal in your opinion. I am also pretty light weight so that might be relevant not sure.
        Thank you so much for your help so appreciated! There’s so many information out there it’s hard to figure out what’s best.

        • I got an answer from Actif when I wrote on amazon. Also any opinions on Frontrunners health prenatal?
          Thanks again!

          • Hi Cannelle,

            It looks better than most. The only issue I can see is that the B6 is not in the active P-5-P form. B6 needs go up during pregnancy, and B6 is what prevents nausea. I am also curious about the interaction of the iron being used with the other nutrients. I called the company and they said they would get back to me with answers from their lab. I have a backlog of articles that I need to complete, but I think I need to make a best/worst prenatal article post-haste! It is definitely a challenge to find a good one.

        • Hi Cannelle,

          Synergy has done a poor job of being transparent with their formulation and testing, so it isn’t a company I currently recommend. Most B12 and folate blood tests don’t reveal intracellular absorption, so it can be difficult to know without genetic testing of the methylation cycle. But if you eat a lot of folate rich food, it is definitely possible to get sufficient folate.

          I get this question a lot and will get to work researching prenatal vitamins for you and others.

          • Thank you so much Alex for your prompt answer and your help. It will be wonderful if you could do a prenatal article, I’m sure a lot of women out there (including myself) will benefit from it. I won’t be ordering the synergy one then and I will wait to hear back from you concerning Frontrunner Health.
            Thank you!

          • Hi again Alex,

            So sorry about all the questions. What about Pure Encapsulations Prenatal Nutrients?
            Thank you!!

          • Hi Cannelle,

            Looks like a similar formula to Front Runners, however, for some reason they decided to use 40% as folic acid. I would say that if you like the Front Runners product, it is worth trying to see how you feel. I have seen women do fine with that form of B6, while others do better with P-5-P to prevent nausea. I don’t see anything harmful and it is one of the better formulas I have come across.

          • Hi Cannelle,

            Just wanted to follow-up and let you know I just got off the phone with the company. I was very happy with their customer service and answers to my questions. The iron is a good form and they are going to forward my P-5-P suggestion to their lab. This is your best option that I can see so far.

          • Oh amazing thank you so much for the follow-up Alex. So helpful!! I will go ahead and order their prenatal right now then.
            Last question I promise 🙂 do you have any suggestion on a DHA supplement for pregnancy. Are Nordic Naturals a reliable one?
            THANK YOU!

          • No problem, happy to help. Yes, Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega is a good one.

  • Hi – I was taking Dr. Mercola’s Wholefoid Multivitamin but after cintacting the company I cannot get a Certificate of Authenticity and also sone of the ingredients are from China! I feel cheated and misled! Dr. Mercola stresses purity and transparency si it is a bit frustrating. What do you know about Dr Mercola’s products? Do they cut the grade on Consumers Labs? Also I am going to switch to Garden Of Life nens multivitamin whuch is an all organic multivitamin. They have a once a day and also a mens 40+ multi. Garden of life is a very highly rated company. They also will not provide a Certificate If Authenticity. Is Garden Of Life a good honest company? Thank you

    • Hi Scott,

      I came across the same problem with Dr. Mercola’s multivitamin. Originally I had an issue with his children’s multivitamin due to the lead content, then discovered the sourcing of the multivitamin and was surprised. I think some of his products are very good like the Pure Power whey protein, but I don’t know why he would formulate his multivitamin product with ingredients from China. In terms of Consumer Labs, according to the last report in July/2016, his multivitamin did pass the heavy metals and contaminants test.

      For Garden of Life, the Vitamin Code product uses USP vitamins fed to yeast in a nutrient rich broth. I think that product is a little misleading because many people are under the impression that it is just a powdered whole foods vitamin. I tried Vitamin Code myself for a few months and wasn’t impressed. Their myKind brand is the only one that uses nutrients directly from whole foods. As long as you do not have digestive sensitivities due to the high amount of sulfur-rich food, this one should be okay. I think they strive to be an honest company, but they need to do a better job of formulation transparancy.

  • Can you please recommend a multivitamin for small children? Would seeking health be a good choice? Thanks!

    • Hi Lea,

      I haven’t had a chance to due any thorough research yet for children’s multivitamins and prenatal multivitamins, but I would say that Seeking Health is a good choice for both.

  • Hello
    I am 46 have trigeminal neuralgia with lots of pain…. I am looking for a multiple vitiman to address nutritional needs and help with any deficiencies I have. Im thinking probiotics for overall health, fish oil for joints, saw palmetto, ginseng and mood and immune support all in one. Is that possible?
    Please advise as to recomendations.

    Thank you so much …. I almost spent a bunch of money on the wrong products. Your information is a great find for many.

    • Hi Chuck,

      I’m very sorry to hear about being in lots of pain. Since I am not your doctor and do not know your health history/medications, I can only share the research that I have and I would check with him or her first. The focus for trigeminal neuralgia is to build the myelin sheath of the nerve and to keep the muscles relaxed. Vitamin B12 is involved in the maintenance of the myelin sheath and appears to be a major player for those with TN. New research has found that gut flora plays a role in expressing genes for myelin construction and formation for never fibers. Choline has also been researched to enhance myelin repair, as well as Lion’s Mane for generating Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). However I am not aware of any research with choline or Lion’s Mane for TN. I credit Lion’s Mane to fixing a damaged nerve in my back. Magnesium is the most important mineral, which has also been studied to show relief in pain for TN. Essentially, B12 at the needed dosage, probiotics and magnesium would be the place to start.

  • I am looking between Plexus multivitamin and probiotic and shaklee ‘s multivitamin and probiotic. Which company would be better?

    • Hi Rebekah,

      I looked at the Plexus XFactor and it uses methylfolate and methylcobalamin which is good. However, it is a strange multivitamin formula because it doesn’t contain any minerals, beta carotene, vitamin A or K. It just contains b-vitamins, C, D and E. So I wouldn’t qualify this as a multivitamin if you are looking to get foundational amount of vitamins and minerals. Vita Lea is more complete, but they need to update their formula to use methylfolate, methylcobalamin and K2. I would choose the Basic Nutrients 2 a Day over both of them.

      Both the probiotic by Plexus and the probiotic by Shaklee are too low in diversity and quantitiy of probiotics.

  • Hi there, as I continue to look into Juice Plus I specifically wanted to ask a prefessional as yourself WHY does this company have the backing of so many physicians?
    If the research is mostly from the added vitamins which until I was not even aware of then why the big push from the health care industry? They seem to have backing by some pretty big names like MD Anderson as well. However it can be a very costly supplementation for a family. Thanks

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Good question. It is a multi-level marketing company and perhaps the ones promoting it heavily are also selling it? They may also not realize that the vitamins are added because it isn’t that obvious upon first glance. I have heard doctors claim supplements don’t work, but then sell Juice Plus. That’s when I like to highlight what is actually in the formula and what the Juice Plus studies are really saying. As far as I’m concerned, it is just an expensive low dose vitamin C, E, beta carotene and folic acid (a cheap synthetic form I have talked about in depth) supplement with a little powdered fruits and vegetables.

      Juice Plus is not a multivitamin and is missing crucial nutrients like magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, selenium, iodine, folate in the right form, and all the other b-vitamins. All their research really shows is that antioxidant supplements work in higher dosages (6 capsules used daily in some studies, which would be really expensive to maintain). These type of companies also need to be transparent about testing weeks and months after processing to see the intial nutrient profile from the plants, and how the compounds holds up weeks and months later on the shelf.

      • With the 16/8 fast does that mean I am unble to tale my mulivitmin in the morning due to some vitamin being fat soluble as I break my fast at 12pm

        • Hi John,

          It would depend if there is starch or any type of carbohydrate in the multivitamin you are taking. I would wait to take it at noon to play it safe.

  • Thank you Alex,
    One last qeustion can you recommend a brand of HMB to take before exercising during fast or would you just take Leucine.
    The multivitamin is the Thorne basic nutrients 2 a day.

    • Hi John,

      I would use the BCAA’s with a slightly higher ratio of leucine. And yeah, I would wait to take the multi with your meal for absorption reasons as well.

  • Hi Alex,
    Thank you for writing such an informative article. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. My husband and I are in preparation for starting a family and I have been recommended Thorne – Basic Prenatal (1x day) as well as the Ethical Nutrients Fish Oil Capsules (2x day). I have been taking these for about a month in preparation. I was just wondering what your thoughts are on staying with the same pre-natal vitamin and dose once I do fall pregnant or switching to something different? I am concerned that they have folic acid instead of folate which, if I understand your article correctly, isn’t proper? If you have any other recommendations I would love to look into them further. Thanks for your help!!

    • Hi Steph,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. If we are looking at the same Thorne Basic Prenatal, then it actually uses methylfolate, not folic acid. It looks like a good product to me to continue if it works well for you. It is a good idea to focus on choline rich food (eggs), since prenatals do not provide this and your needs for it will go up with pregnancy. Extra magnesium and calcium may also be necessary.

  • Thank you in advance for your help, it’s awesome you providing your knowledge to others. I used to take solgar multi nutrient but they have changed they’re formula and now I am considering Rainbowlight one a day,Garden of life, Vitamin code for men I also plan on taking Fish oil or krill oil and a B complex as well as a probiotic but have no idea which ones are good ones. I had a drinking problem for a while and I’m sure my body could greatly use supplements how ever I have not drank in 5 months. Thank you!

  • Hi Alex,

    After reading your article I would like to start taking Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2 a Day together with the following:
    1 big spoon of cod liver(for omega 3) and Vitamin D3 5000ui(Extra).
    You also recommend taking extra calcium, magnesium, vitamin C. Do you recommend this supplement, Thorne Research, Cal-Mag Citrate, to supplement the multivitamin?

    This was my supplement plan before reading you article, dosing per day: 1 big spoon of cod liver(for omega 3), Vitamin D3 5000ui, vitamin k2 as MK-7 200mcg, magnesium 600mg chelated,

    For dosing, I’m a guy at 90kg, and 26 years old.

    What do you recommend as a supplement plan for me?

    • Hi Robin,

      My opinion is that calcium can be adequately obtained by a diet that has dark greens, mineral water, nuts, and dairy (although dairy isn’t necessary). Calcium is tightly regulated and magnesium is more likely to be too low. If you do not eat these foods or drink a lot of coffee, then supplementation may be necessary. In that case, the Thorne 1:1 Citramate product is a good one. You can read more about calcium if you are interested in the article How Much Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin D Should You Take?

      As a young guy, you most likely do not need to take vitamin K2 outside of the Basic Nutrients product. Check your vitamin D level periodically so you can adjust your vitamin D as necessary since 2,000IU in the Basic Nutrients may be sufficient as well. Typically, you can take less during the summer and fall. 500-600mg of magnesium is the right target. Overall, that is a pretty complete program.

  • Great! Thank you so much for the reply Alex:)

  • I noticed in the Nordic cod liver oil there is vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopherol from soy). Having soy in it concerns me. I also want to give my daughter the Nordic omega 3 gummies. What are you thoughts on taking this daily on the paleo diet? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi Lisa,

      Vitamin E is derived from soy, however, the soy oil and soy proteins are removed and there shouldn’t be any soy in the final product. I can’t speak for every company making vitamin E from soy, but higher quality E is produced this way. It is different from ingredients like soy lecithin or soy oil. Vitamin E is used in fish oil and cod liver oil to prevent rancidity and the amount used is extremely small. Rosemary extract is also often used.

      The Nordic gummies have tapioca syrup and sugar, which isn’t ideal, but taste can be an issue for kids and these ingredients are standard for gummies. I think the pros outweigh the cons and this would be a fine choice.

      • Thanks you so much for your prompt reply. Very informative and exactly what I needed to know to make a good decision for my family and I. So, I checked the ingredients for the Nordic naturals omega 3 for kids and the list of ingredients don’t contain sugar or tapioca syrup. The ingredients are
        Cod liver oil, gelatin (calf), water, glycerol, D-Alpha Tocopherol, rosemary extract, strawberry flavor.

  • Dear Mr. Swanson
    I am a greek woman 48 years old and my way of living leads me to start taking multivitamins. I would like to ask you what multivitamin to choose and if it is necessary to take some extra metals or omega 3-6-9 caps. I also want to give some vitamin or cod liver oil to my kids 7 and 10 years old. Thank you very much

    • Hi Agalia,

      I would need to know more about you to make an informed decision, but either one of the multivitamins listed on this article would be a good foundational choice. Extra minerals like calcium and magnesium are beneficial, and the amounts of each would depend on your health needs. Fish oil is important if you are not eating much fish, have inflammation, or have markers on your blood work that show a higher need. The virgin cod liver oil listed on this article is a superior product for kids and adults, and the taste is better than any other cod liver oil I’ve tried.

  • Hello.
    I’m 28 years old and I do gym 3 times a week for 1 hour. And I got to thinking about the multivitamins and found Thorne Extra Nutrients, my weight 38 lb.
    Thorne Extra Nutrients good choise or better Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2 a Day? And i think that for my weight 6 capsules per day don’t big dosage, maybe enough 3-4 capsules per day?

    And i want to ask about multivitamins for my mom( 50+ age) and dad (50+ age) i see Thorne Research Meta-Fem 40+ (but use 4 Capsules , not 8 Capsules per day) for mom and Thorne Research Al’s Formula 40+ (but use 4 Capsules , not 8 Capsules per day) for dad will be better than Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/Day?

    I will be very glad to have your help. Thanks.

    • Hi Aleksandr,

      The Thorne Extra Nutrients is going to give you more antioxidant support in the form of 50mg of CoQ10, 100mg of choline citrate, 100mg of hesperidin, 50mg of reduced glutathione and 5mg of R-Lipoic Acid on top of the Basic Nutrients 2 a day formula. You are also getting higher doses of certain vitamins and minerals and a blend of methylcobalamin/adenosylcobalamin for B12 for those that really have a hard time absorbing B12. Vitamin D, however, is lower than the Basic Nutrients 2, with only 1,000IU in the full 6 capsule dosage.

      My opinion is that if you are willing to take another 2 capsules, I think you would be better off using the Basic Nutrients 2 a day and adding more vitamin C for antioxidant support. The Thorne Vitamin C capsules also include hesperidin. Your body will produce enough CoQ10 at 28 and vitamin C will boost glutathione. Choline is sufficient from eggs, and lipoic acid from meat.

      I have outlined multivitamins for seniors in my article Best and Worst Multivitamins for Seniors. This also includes other supplementation that can be very beneficial based on their needs.

  • If at all possible could you delete my comment after responding to me?? It just hit me that I was instructed to not share anything I was doing on social media. Thank you so much!!!

  • Hello.
    Can you help, if to choose between “MegaFood Multi for Men” and “Garden of Life MyKind Organics Men’s Multi” which will be better? Or they can be alternated among themselves?

    • Hi Aleksandr,

      I think the MegaFood Multi for Men is superior to the Garden of Life MyKind multivitamin due to being higher in zinc, vitamin C, manganese and containing choline. MyKind may also cause digestive issues due to the high sulfur content if you are sensitive. But you could definitely alternate between the two.

  • Also i want to know about Vitamin A in Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/Day: Basic Nutrients 2/Day – Vitamin A (3,000 IU from Beta Carotenes and 2,000 IU as Palmitate), Palmitate – synthetic vitamin?

    • Hi Aleksandr,

      The vitamin A palmitate is synthesized into a bio-identical vitamin A compound attached to the saturated fatty acid palmitic acid and is not linked to birth defects or cancer. The dose is also very low and many multivitamins that only use beta-carotene as vitamin A, are not really providing vitamin A. The beta-carotene needs to be converted to vitamin A, and this ability varies quite a bit based on people’s biochemistry and may be not be providing much vitamin A at all. Accutane is an example of a derivative of vitamin A (isotretinoin) that has been linked to birth defects.

  • Alex, Big thanks for help!
    I talk with “Garden of Life” by email and ask they which form vitamins they use for Vitamin Code, natural or synthetic and from which countries raw supplements?
    I got answer:
    “Thank you for your email and interest in Garden of Life’s products. We offer whole food supplements and do not use synthetics in our formulas. The vitamins and minerals included in our Vitamin Code formulas are delivered in a whole food form as RAW Food-Created Nutrients. The vitamins and minerals are produced through a fermentation process prior to going through Grows process as described below.

    We “grow” the vitamins via our proprietary dual cultivation process using yeast and probiotics. This process utilizes a single isolated vitamin or mineral that is fed to the yeast or probiotic. A specific peptide designed for that particular nutrient is then introduced in order to allow the nutrient to be metabolized (or absorbed) through the yeast’s cell wall.

    This process mimics nature, just like when a plant takes an inorganic mineral salt that is naturally occurring in the soil (selenium for example), and absorbs it into its roots, the plant becomes rich in selenium. This process is conducted with two distinct organisms – S. cerevisiae (baker’s yeast) and L. bulgaricus (probiotic culture used in traditional yogurt recipes which is non-dairy). RAW Food-Created Nutrients are delivered “body ready”.

    I apologize, however we do not have a list of the forms/sources of each of our vitamins and minerals unless otherwise stated on the label. The isolates that are used are transformed into RAW Food-Created nutrients, which is why we do list the sources.

    All of the ingredients that are included in our Vitamin Code formulas (aside from AlgaeCal RAW and Red Algae) are sourced and manufactured in the USA. AlgaeCal RAW washes up on the pristine shores of South America and the Red Algae is sourced in Ireland.”

    True or False it, i don’t know because they don’t show forms of vitamins on label.

    • Hi Aleksandr,

      The MyKind multivitamin is the only true whole food multivjtamin from Garden of Life. Vitamin Code starts with USP vitamins – of which some are synthetically made – and given to yeast in a nutrient rich broth. As I have mentioned in other comments, the finished metabolized product qualifying as a “whole food vitamin” is debatable.

  • I’m looking for a good multivitamin, I’m 59 years old male. Have used Shaklee Vita Lee in the past. Was informed to use Shaklee Gold, I want to make sure I have something with very little filler and additives. Shaklee reps always say they have the best product. If there is something else out there I would appreciate you assistance. When I try and compare it just gets confusing. Thank You

    • Hi Kevin,

      You have come to the right place! The two multivitamins I recommend are listed in this article. If you want to do a side by side comparision with the Thorne Basic Nutrients and Shaklee, you will see that the vitamin and mineral forms used in Thorne are superior without any fillers or additives.

  • I read that once any food has been heated above 118 degrees, the heat begins to destroy vital enzymes–a major benefit in consuming whole foods in the first place. Tablets are pressed under big temperature.
    Does it mean that the vitamins in tablets will be worst than capsules?

    • Hi Aleksander,

      It is true that enzymes are destroyed with heat over 118 degrees. I can’t confirm the exact heat used with tablets, but when it was explained to me by a manufacturer it seemed clear that capsules are superior.

      • I also wanted to add that the water soluble vitamins (B-vitamins, vitamin C, and carotenoids) in whole foods degrade post-harvest. So a major criticism of mine is that I do not see testing on MyKind months later to confirm the true amounts of these vitamins.

  • Hello, I am looking to get my health back in order, I am 22, 5’9″, and currently weigh 215 lbs. At the beginning of 2013 I was 304 lbs and at risk for diabetes (I have not yet been checked since :[ ). I went pescatarian for that whole year and would workout occasionally. At the beginning of 2014, I began taking in more whole foods, supplements, but I picked up meat again (very hard to break for me but working on it) I also began working out more consistently. These 2 years helped me remove alot of the body weight I had and I noticed my overall quality of life begin to elevate. The year 2015 consisted of very long work hours and not much sleep, compounded with maintaining a social life. This caused me to sleep less, eat less, and work out less. The weight I lost this year was not due to good nutrition and regular activity but simply because I went from eating 3-4 times a day to 1 or 2 times a day. I feel this has caused me to lose more than just weight but depleted a large amount of the nutrients stored in my body. In 2016 I began cutting out dairy, processed foods, and sugars. I also began juice extraction and using supplements, like the Full Body Cleanse by DHerbs, I’ve also started taking B-Complex because a deficiency caused a spur of anxiety for a while. For the 20 days of DHerbs supplementation, I was required to change my diet to raw foods only. This was extremely effective. In 2016 I am still learning about ways to increase my vitamin/mineral intake. While searching for whole, adequate supplements I stumbled upon this amazing source of information. The only supplements I user are B-Complex by Garden of Life, Alkaline Formula and Anti-Viral Formula. I use a variety of Dherbs products but those two are my current choices. Could you review some of DHerbs products and tell me if you think its an adequate choice. I’ve also started using VegaOne All-In-One Shake – French Vanilla and I would like your insight on this product also.

    Thank you so much for your time!

    • Hi Terrance,

      Congrats on your hard work! It takes a lot of discipline and drive to make those changes. I looked at the Alkaline Formula and Anti-Viral Formula, and both look like good whole food products. Since the Anti-Viral Formula contains St. John’s Wort, you always want to make sure you aren’t taking any medications that may be contraindicated with this herb.

      I just finished an article on the best plant-based protein powders. You can find it here:
      The VegaOne All-In-One-Shake has a lot of quality ingredients. My criticism – as described in the article linked – is that milled flax seed can go rancid quickly. I spoke with Vega and they said that they flash pasteurize the milled flax seeds to prevent oxidation. To my knowledge, this does not prevent oxidation of an oil and simply reduces the microbial count.

      • Thanks a lot, it definitely is not easy but I try to take it 1 step at a time. I did not know that about milled flax seed oxidation, I do grind and eat flax with other dishes so replacing the VegaOne shake with one that does not have milled hemp seeds instead sounds like a plan.

  • Dear Alex,

    I regard your articles very informative and useful, but one thought disturbs me. I find repeatedly at various websites on the internet some of the information about structural comparison between synthetic vitamins and whole food vitamins – extracts. From perspective writed by the autor, only vitamins from whole foods are considered as helpful, whereas synthetic isolated vitamins are useless and sometimes even harmful. Therefore, the autor reccomend only a few supplements from multivitamin category, e.g. Garden of LIfe mykind Multi, Whole Earth & Sea Multi. Dear Sir, based on your professional and personal experience, what do you think about it? Where is the truth?

    Thank you very much for your opinion.

    Link here:

    • Hi Stanislav,

      Great question and thank you for the link. The article is well written and cited. The author of the blog is selling a product he created that provides a whole food form of vitamin E and carotenoids, and therefore the focus of the article is on the negative consequences of using the synthetic versions of these two. This includes synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol), isolated alpha-tocopherol without the mixed tocopherols and synthetic isolated beta-carotene. Synthetic vitamin E and synthetic beta-carotene have performed very poorly in studies.

      These are also the synthetic forms I have highlighted in this article to avoid and are commonly used in poorly made multivitamins. You will see that both the Basic Nutrients and MegaFood product use vitamin E in the mixed tocopherol form and natural mixed carotenoids. So I am in agreement with him with those two ingredients.

      Folic acid is another example of a synthetic nutrient that isn’t found nature and has performed poorly in studies, yet continues to be used in most multivitamins. However, methylfolate is often synthetically made but is the bioidentical form found in food like broccoli and has been performing well in studies and in clinical practice.

      Vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid is another example of an isolated synthetic bioidentical nutrient that has performed overwhelmingly well in studies with dosages over 500mg. Extremely high dosages have been used without any negative effects and thousands of studies have reported a positive benefit. I have personally and professionally seen the amazing benefits of vitamin C supplementation. However, the isomer which is D-isoascorbic acid has very little biological activity and perhaps at larger dosages could be harmful.

      So to answer your question, my opinion is that you have to look at the form of every vitamin and mineral and the research behind it to find the truth. This is how I arrived at the conclusions in this article and the recommended formulas. If you prefer to try and get most of your vitamin and minerals from food while just supplementing the gaps, I would check out the article How to Make Your Own Multivitamin with Food.

  • Hi,

    I was wondering if you did some research about the best/safe vitamins for children ?

    I am reading a lot about it but it still very difficult to choose …

    Thank you so much !!

    • Hi Caroline,

      I haven’t done an in-depth analysis yet for children’s multivitamins. I’ll make sure to add it to the queue for articles to write. If you any you would like me to review, I’m happy to do it.

  • Hi Alex,

    thank you so much !

    I just found this comparison of 88 Multivitamins designed for Kids. We can see that three vitamins win the battle, but I am curious to know your opinion and I am sure that many parents would like too !

    Thank you a lot ! 🙂


    • Hi Caroline,

      The first product – Xtend – uses folic acid and A LOT of little extras that are unnecessary and may even cause issues (like SAMe). Mercola’s children’s multivitamin has had problems with lead levels and I’m not sure what the latest testing has found. It also requires 8 capsules. As for the third, I had a reader ask about the Garden of Life Vitamin Code Kids, and I pointed out that some of the most important nutrients for a growing child are vitamin A, vitamin D, DHA, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. If you look at the formulation, it does not contain any vitamin A (beta-carotene is not A) or DHA, has low levels of calcium/magnesium and only 1mg of zinc. I should note that all multivitamins are lacking calcium and magnesium.

      It looks like SmartyPants and the Thorne Children’s Basic Nutrients are probably the best choices. For the Thorne product, the dosing will need to be adjusted based on the age and weight of the child.

  • Hi Alex,

    Thank you VERY much for taking time out to read the multivitamins guide and for giving us a better understanding about what it’s important for children when we choose a multivitamin ((by the time I learn how to design our own !).

    Caroline 🙂

  • Hi Alex,

    thank you ounce again for the previous reply! Suppose that multivitamin use brings to the body certain benefits. Alex, I have last question for you. Why most multivitamins on the market contains so high amounts of some individual vitamins? I talked especially about B vitamins. As far as I know, these products belongs to the category of therapeutic supplements. Of cource, based on the studies, most of the B vitamins are found to be safe, even at high doses. Why? Simply because the excess vitamins are readily excreted from the body. Therefore, tolerable upper intake level for these vitamins hasn’t been established. But, it is really wise to take these supplements, especially long-term? I want to say, if would not be more advantagenous to take supplement, that contain amount of easch vitamin closest to 100% of the RDA? From this perspective, the philosophy of individual manufacturers differ significantly (e.g. MegaFood vs Thorne).

    I really appreciate your help. And thank you.

    • Hi Stanislav,

      Another good question. Yes, the B-vitamins are in the therapeutic dosage range because they have been found in research at that level to be effective along with a high safety profile. I have not seen research showing any long-term issues with these levels. I have also had the unique experience of reviewing the long-term health of the clients from my mom’s 40-year nutrition practice, many who have used therapeutic dosages of supplements for decades. That being said, you are always going to find individual biochemical differences where one person thrives while another feels worse on any supplement. Some people feel a night and day difference with a therapeutic B-complex, while another may feel anxious. One person who has poor stomach acid, digestive issues or takes an acid blocker is going to require a therapeutic dose of B12 to get any benefit, while someone with good digestion and health will likely be able to get sufficient B12 from animal foods.

      To answer your main question, the RDA is set for a population to prevent severe deficiency and is never going to be an accurate marker for varying individual requirements. Your diet, environment, genetics, current health issues and stress levels play a role in the need for a therapeutic dosage or a lower dosage of certain vitamins and minerals. The great thing about the two options listed here is that it allows you to choose from either philosophy based on your needs. Or, you can use the target nutrient approach instead of a multivitamin. You should always notice a benefit from anything you take. If you don’t notice anything or it makes you feel worse, it is not a fit.

  • Thank you for doing all this research! I recently got the bariatric sleeve and would like to take vitamins, but the ones I currently use, Melaleuca Vitality Essentials:, make me feel sick to my stomach. I’m wondering if you know of a good liquid or chewable vitamin to give me the extra nutrients I need without making me feel ill. I have always used the Melaleuca vitamins and have had great success with them. But I would prefer not getting the sensation to throw up every day.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Good liquid or chewable vitamin and minerals are hard to find. I don’t have recommendations for either that I can completely endorse, but Seeking Health makes a chewable and MaryRuth Organics has a liquid multivitamin and multimineral. I have talked with the MaryRuth Organics company on a few occasions regarding the stability of the B-vitamins, vitamin C and carotenoids in liquid when exposed to light and oxygen. I know they did testing but they never returned my emails for the results. Minerals, however, are stable in liquid.

      If you would come across any that you would like me to review, I would be happy to do so.

  • Based on your recommendation, I am ordering Thorne Basic. Could u take a look at Fulvimax by Epigenetic Labs. It has much lower amounts of everything, but has added Fulvic and Humic Acid to the formula. Also since their process is fermentation, does that mean the body might use the lower doses better (so the lower mcg’s and mg’s are not as important?). Should I purchase Fulvic Acid to add with Thorne Basic? My body does NOT assimilate vitamins properly and needs all the help I can give it. I’ve been battling yeast overgrowth, thyroid / adrenal exhaustion and fibromyalgia for years. Spent over a year on a yeast protocol and low carb/high protein diet. I’m 5′-8″ and barely hanging on to 100 lbs. Very active, eat healthy, have arsenal of supplements, goat whey protein, alkalized water, etc etc., but my body, especially muscles, are being eaten alive. Can’t keep up hiking with my friends anymore. I’m early 50’s and skin looks like an 80 yr old. Recently started back eating more carbs which helped energy level but feeds the yeast and parasites. At my wits end….friends tell me I look like a starved POW even though I’m constantly eating. Any other advice greatly appreciated.
    God Bless, Kay

    • Hi Kay,

      The parasites need attention by a professional because the supplementation is going to be a waste of money if that isn’t addressed. Cortisol, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone levels need to be measured. If you are experiencing adrenal exhaustion, yeast overgrowth, and thyroid insufficiency, all of those pathways need support. The increased aging of your skin shows you that DHEA has been getting robbed by cortisol. Carbohydrates should not be avoided if you are muscle wasting.

      I looked at the multivitamin and it looks similar to Garden of Life’s formula but with fulvic and humic acid. I think you need much more support than a multivitamin and if you do not have a practitioner you are working with, you can send me a note through the contact form if you would like a consultation.

  • Dear Alex, thank you so much for your research!
    I hope you can help me with the following: My mother is 73 and has Alzheimers disease and she starts to get a bit restless and anxious. I am sure she has quite a lot of shortages of vitamins and (trace) minerals. So I want to give her a good multivitamin. I myself prefer powders, because I dont like magnesium stearate, If the multivitamin doesn’t contain everything she needs, we could give her a few things extra, but not too many different things. I am thinking about a high dose of choline, D3, magnesium, Vitamin C…and probably she needs some more. What can you suggest, that is also affordable? I saw that Vitacost’s own brand sells choline in Phosphatidyl (840mg) and D3 in cholecalciferol (5000IU). I hope you can give me some good advice. Thank you very much for your reply!

  • Alex, very great article. I have a couple of questions, if I may.
    I have a 13 year old son. Diagnosed ADHD. He is on Vyvanse and Clonidine for this.

    I give him 1000mg Omega 3 per day and 300mg magnesium. Both from Innovix Labs.

    I want to add a multivitamin. Would the Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2 a Day be appropriate? Is there any other suggestions? I saw in some of the comments about the selenium being too high. Is this a concern?
    I was going to get him the Hardy Nutritionals Daily Essential Nutrients marketed towards kids like my son, but cannot come up with $130.00/month for their product.

    I was considering adding Viva Labs Krill oil Capliques 2/day. Could I add this to the fish oil? Or would I replace the fish oil with the krill oil? Thank you in advance

    • Hi Denise,

      Studies have found low levels of copper, iron, zinc, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids in children with ADHD. I believe vitamin C is also very important because it modulates dopamine and adrenaline to the right levels, which is different from spiking both which is the case with Adderall. For boys, magnesium, omega-3’s, zinc and vitamin C are the most effective to supplement, while iron and copper are easier to get from the diet. I would be more inclined to supplement these separate instead of a multivitamin.

      There are a few comments on Amazon regarding the upper limit of selenium being lower for adults in Australia and that 200mcg is too high. The safe upper limit is the same in Australia is the same as the US, which is 400mcg, not 150mcg. 150-200mcg would be equivalent to 2-3 Brazil Nuts or 6 oz. of tuna. But, teenagers or people that are lighter in weight could take one capsule instead of two.

      Krill oil is naturally lower in EPA and DHA. Since DHA is the main nutrient needed in higher amounts, I don’t think it is necessary if taking fish oil.

      • Alex, thank you.
        So, if I don’t give him the Thorne multi, do you have any specific doses you would recommend for the above supplements? It appeared that the Thorne multi had all the vitamins in the doses recommended for ADHD from what I’ve read. He’s already taking the magnesium and Omega, if the doses are ok.

    • Hi Denise

      Yes, I was thinking mainly of the vitamin C, magnesium, and omegas that the multivitamin wouldn’t provide enough of (or any with omegas). The only other addition would be zinc. Depending on his weight, the zinc dosage would likely be 15mg. The magnesium is also by weight, 6-8mg per kilogram of body weight. Vitamin C ranges based on requirements, with 1000mg 2x a day a normal dose. The problem is that some nutrients are using shared pathways with the medications, so they don’t always work well together. Check with your doctor on any of these in conjunction with the medications.

      I think the Thorne Basic Nutrients dosage of the B-vitamins (and some other nutrients) may be too strong for a 13-year-old on Vyvanse and Clonidine due to pushing the shared pathways too hard. If it helps, here is a visual of the dopamine and epinephrine (adrenaline) pathway:

      • Thanks for the info Alex. What would you think about the Naturelo
        Multi that Felipe was asking about for my son? Good option? I ask because I don’t know anything about whole food supplements.
        I’m sorry for all the follow up questions, and I appreciate your time so much.

        • Hi Denise,

          Whole food supplements can mean a variety of things depending on the company. Some companies use yeast-fed USP vitamins in a nutrient broth, some use only dehydrated whole foods (which have problems with stability and poorly absorbed forms of certain minerals), while another may only have tiny fruit/vegetable blends and use poor forms of synthesized vitamins/minerals. All may be classified as “whole food based.” Naturelo uses 90% from whole foods and 10% for the vitamins that need to be in a methylated form or minerals in a chelated form. This is the superior version of the classification.

          The B6 and folate amounts are actually close to Thorne, with B12 being less (30mcg vs 600mcg). The zinc is less than Thorne (12mg vs. 15mg). I think there still runs a risk of interactions with the medications, especially with the addition of turmeric and green tea extract which influence MAO-A and COMT, two enzymes is the previously mentioned pathways. You can always check with your doctor and see if you can get the approval if you would prefer a multivitamin.

  • Hi Alex,

    Have you heard about Naturelo (for Men) whole food multivitamins? they are ranked #1 on Would like to know your opinion..

    • Hi Felipe,

      I think we have a new winner. I have been vetting this one and your question prompted me to spend more time researching it and speaking with the company. It looks like a very good formula and they are GMP certified plus independent third party testing. It is about 90% whole food based, with synthesized B-vitamins in the right form (P-5-P, methylfolate, methylcobalamin) via bacterial fermentation and other additions like mineral chelates (similar to Thorne).

      I think people get a little too excited about the fruit and vegetable blends when the largest amount (250mg) is equivalent to .008 of an ounce. These are mainly for marketing purposes. The other blends, while small (choline is only 30mg), are well formulated and do not raise the price considerably like other supplements. It has 300mg of magnesium which I obviously like, but the total dose is 4 capsules. So this is just like adding 2 capsules of magnesium to a multivitamin.

      Overall, I think this is a superior formula. I will give it the new #1 place for this article.

      • Thanks for your fast response Alex..I suspected you were going to like these ones (Naturelo) but wanted your input to be sure before I tried them!

        • Happy to do it. Thank you for bringing it up. Let me know what you think after you have tried it.

          • Hi Alex, I have been using Naturelo (Multis for Men) for the past few months with no issues at all (feeling good and no stomach upsets of any kind). However, I noted the formulation recently changed with the following:
            1) Noted the B complex (B12 and others was significantly reduced, by 50% at least).
            2) Vitamin E source was changed, but also reduced by 50%.
            3) Magnesium reduced by 50%.
            4) Folate reduced from 550mcg to 400mcg
            5) Organic fruit and vegetable blend reduced from 250mg to 200mg
            6) Digestive enzyme blend (changed) and amino acids eliminated (overall milligrams reduced too).
            7) Brain health blend reduced from 170mg to 120mg.

            I did found some additions but I think they are relative minor compared to the reductions I just mentioned. Would like to know your opinion about it and if you can contact them and get some information then better.

          • Hi Felipe,

            I contacted Naturelo to get some more details regarding the formula change. While I thought their formula was very good, they inquired a few months ago about any improvements that could be made. Some of these changes were based on suggestions I made then, including the B12, pantothenic acid, methylfolate, and vitamin E reduction and the increase in zinc (now 15mg from 12mg), vitamin C (now 300mg from 175mg) and iodine (now 150mcg from 100mcg). It looks like they changed more ingredients over to organic (vitamin E, iodine, green tea, ginkgo, ginger, turmeric, vanadium, grapeseed, and resveratrol) and added 50mg of organic cinnamon. The combination of curcumin and cinnamon is great for post-workout inflammation, and cinnamon helps blood sugar levels.

            1. The reason for the reduction in B12 was to provide a better ratio with the other B-vitamins in the formula closer to the ratio in food. I think something more people need to be aware of is that B12 stores in the liver, and if they have high B12 levels out of range on their blood work, they are getting too much B12 and depleting lithium. Lithium has numerous roles including B12 transport, nerve protection, and improved mood. Excessively high B12 has other ramifications as well, so I think people can get carried away. This new B12 amount provides a better target without tipping the scales for the average omnivore already getting B12 from food or for vegetarians.

            2. Like B12 and B6, vitamin E comes packaged in small amounts in food and therefore is our guide for supplement formulation. Research has found that for people with normal variants in a gene called GSTP1, higher amounts of vitamin E can actually be inflammatory. So 30IU is a balanced amount of vitamin E.

            3. Naturelo said the calcium and magnesium change will be reversed next month for the men’s formula. They said that was due to a temporary shortage.

            4. For folate, I see no reason to go over 400mcg since too much methylfolate can actually cause issues as well. Even those with a homozygous MTHFR 677 can keep homocysteine in range with 400mcg of folate along with the other B-vitamins and choline.

            5. The fruit and vegetable blend is a meaningless amount (picture a pinch of dehydrated fruits and vegetables), so I wouldn’t worry about that.

            6. The changes to the digestive enzyme blend make it look more complete, but I think they should add the bromelain and betaine HCL back. The amino acid part was flawed in my opinion, and shouldn’t contain isolates (especially L-glutamic acid).

            7. Very small reduction.

            Naturelo claims the changes increased their costs by 10%, so the formula change definitely wasn’t done to cut costs. Once the magnesium is brought back up to the previous level, I think the formula looks improved.

          • Hi Alex, Thanks for your detailed response. I now better understand the formulation changes. Also, knowing that Naturelo is listening to your recommendations is enough reason for me to continue using their product as I know your standards are very high.

          • Where can I get the Naturelo (Multis for Men) with the new formula you are talking about?
            “Increase in zinc (now 15mg from 12mg), vitamin C (now 300mg from 175mg)”. This doesn’t fit the supplement fact on the amazon page.

          • Hi Robin,

            I just checked the link and it is the updated formula. It shows zinc as 15mg. Sorry, I must have written down the vitamin C amount wrong. It is 180mg (300% of daily value).

          • Thank you Alex for clarifying.

            Just wanting you to know, I’ve been in contacted with customer support and gotten some information you may like.
            Naturelo Multivitamin for men:
            Old formula: Magnesium was 350mg (some of our customers were experiencing side effects at this level of magnesium, so we decided to reduce the magnesium slightly)

            Current formula: Magnesium is 200mg (this is a temporary decrease due to supply chain issues)

            Future formula (available after June 1): Magnesium will be 300mg going forward

          • Hi Robin,

            Great! Thanks for the updated info.

  • I was wonder what you think of the following multi-vitamins? I cannot handle Methylcobalamin, I have spent countless hours looking at multivitamins that have another form of B12. There are not many that are good quality. I would love to get your thoughts.

    • Hi,

      Yes, it can be challenging to find one that only uses hydroxocoblamin and adenosylcobalamin. I think that the Pure Genomics looks fine as long as you can tolerate 800mcg of methylfolate. I’m assuming you are having trouble clearing the excess methyl groups? It is important to also have niacin with methylcobalamin (like in a B-complex) to help prevent that reaction. I’m not a fan of taking high doses of isolated methyl-B12 for that reason.

      For the All in One product, I’m confused with the formulation. For folate, it uses a combination of folic acid, folinic acid and methylfolate, but only 23.5mcg total? Only 100IU of vitamin D and 3.75mg of zinc? It also uses SAMe, which really isn’t a good idea and commonly causes reactions.

  • Hi Alex,

    I saw that Naturelo are ranked #1 on and you confirmed they are the new winners.
    It seems to be another story for the kids multivitamins. I have read on internet that mercola kids multivitamins have some issues. Idem for some of the first ranked multivitamins.

    Can we trust the multivitamin Guide for Kids ? Why the first one (first 10) are not necessarily the best ? Maybe it’s more complicated to classify kids multivitamins than adult multivitamins ?

    And I saw that you suggest Thorne (# 33) instead of the other. Why these one instead of the first 32 ?

    Thank you !


    • Hi Melanie,

      As you can probably gather from my article, my criteria and standards are extremely high. From what I can see, the multivitamin guide website does not factor in heavy metal testing (which has been a problem for Mercola’s Children’s multi and others), allows certain additives (#4 Solgar has fructose, sucrose, and carrageenan) allows the use of folic acid and cyanocobalamin vs. methylated forms, oxide forms of zinc etc. The first recommendation for children is Xtend life, which uses SAMe and an extract from a peanut shell. Many people react to SAMe, peanut allergies are rampant and folic acid is even used, so I would heavily disagree with this recommendation.

      I chose Thorne as a potential recommendation because I have thoroughly researched the company, trust the purity and forms of their products, and have used them in a clinical setting with success. The dosing has to be altered based on the weight and needs of the child, so it is likely it wasn’t ranked higher based on his criteria due to the full dose. This isn’t to say that others on that list aren’t acceptable, although some highly ranked ones are not.

      I have a “Best Prenatal Multivitamin” article coming out this month, but I will schedule the “Best Children’s Multivitamin” article for December. It is definitely is more complicated than the adult analysis.

  • Hey Alex, do u know if the naturelo multivitamin is made pure encapsulations? I was thinking it probably was since they r basically the only ones that do not use any inactive ingredients. Thanks

  • Thank you very much Alex !! 🙂

  • Hi Alex. I’m looking for a vitamin for myself and mostly for my husband to help boost fertility. I have him taking Fertility Blend… not sure what your thoughts are on this particular brand, but would definitely love some feedback and insight. We’ve recently agreed that we’re going to try and get as much minerals and vitamins through our food; I’ve done some research and I know that from the over processed and conventional diet we have been on hasn’t been helping in any way shape or form. Do you have any suggestions on foods, vitamins for both myself and my husband. Also, I was just at the store and saw some Rainbow Light men’s multivitamin and My Kind organics multi…. they looked promising but in all honesty I have no clue. Please help. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Rosa,

      Fertility Blend uses synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol acetate) in the female blend only for some reason, cyanocobalamin (should be methylfolate), folic acid (should be methylfolate), magnesium oxide (only 4% absorption rate), and selenium in the form of sodium selenate, a form found to be toxic in studies. In the men’s formula, it is the L-carnitine, green tea extract and Dong Quai that is most likely responsible for the benefit due to the antioxidant action. In the women’s formula, it is likely the Vitex’s effect on progesterone. I think you can find a better formula of vitamins and minerals, and utilize Vitex separately (if progesterone is the issue) and antioxidant support for your husband. I just published a new article titled Best and Worst Prenatal Vitamins that also gives you a dietary chart.

      The short answer for infertility is that optimizing estrogen and progesterone in women (too low in both is an issue), cutting down chemical ingestion/exposure while increasing antioxidant support in men (important for women too) and addressing potential deficiencies linked to infertility in both are all important. Here is an article I wrote called How Nutrigenomics Can Help Infertility that I think will help. Precise suggestions would not be accurate without doing a full analysis.

  • Very informative article. I’ve been trying to research the best vitamins for my family for days. I am wondering what your opinions are on:
    Garden of Life – mykind Organics?

    • Hi Laura,

      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.

      Naturelo basically took this concept and perfected it by doing a 90/10 split of whole foods and stable/higher absorbed forms, reducing the overall sulfur/histamine load while keeping the most nutrient dense ones.

      • Wow Alex, I am learning so much here! Important info you pointed out for me. I love that the ones you recommend are not only cheaper, but you only have to take 1 a day, as opposed to 4! Now, I see they have different ones for men and women, so my question left is, what about for my triplet teens – 14 years old?
        I am assuming my 19 year old (girl) can take the women’s. But not sure about the triplets. I’ll wait on that answer.
        THANK YOU so much for your time and knowledge.

        • Hi Laura,

          The Naturelo does require 4 capsules a day. The Basic Nutrients are 1-2 a day, and the MegaFood one is 2 daily. The extra capsules in Naturelo are giving you more important minerals like calcium and magnesium, missing in most multivitamins because they don’t fit in 1-2 capsules.

          Essentially, a 14-year-old can dose the same as an adult depending on their weight. However, based on the amounts, I think a half dosage for the triplets would still be very effective and would save money since you have four kids!

          • Oh ok, I see. Thanks for the explanations and helping me so much to understand these things. I’ll have to figure out the best route here.

          • Ok Alex, I see why I thought it was one a day. The link to the ‘Naturelo for Women’ up in your post brought me to their ‘One Daily MultiVitamin for Women’.
            So I would assume that one isn’t really an option, because it probably doesn’t include the minerals, etc?
            I’m sorry if I am turning into a pain. Just trying to figure out the best option with so many of us.

          • Hi Laura,

            No worries! That one is on me. My link got changed somehow. I just fixed it. The One Daily Multivitamin for Women is too low in certain vitamins and minerals and uses folic acid instead of methylfolate. I’m here to help. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  • Thanks Alex, because you’re really helping me here! So if I went with the 4 a day one, I am already taking a natural supplement specifically for methylation. (It’s Vessel Care – Support for Healthy Methylation & Homocysteine Metabolism). I have bad genetic cholesterol. (So I also take a red east rice supplement and CoQ10). Any reason these multivitamins will conflict? (Just asking your opinion – I know you’ll probably say check with my doctor.).
    What I have been on that has been ok’d, is the doTERRA LifeLong Vitality supplements, if you know anything about those.
    You’ve been great. I’ll leave you alone eventually.LOL. Also, I understand if you delete much of our ongoing conversation for sake of clutter.

    • Hi Laura,

      Yes, I can give you my opinion on that. Methylation supplements are going to contain methylfolate, methylcobalamin, B6, B2, choline and zinc; nutrients needed for the methylation cycle to lower homocysteine. In that case, I wouldn’t recommend using a multivitamin with more methylated B-vitamins. You can take too much methylfolate, and I don’t recommend taking more than 800 mcg, even with a homozygous MTHFR 677 gene (I do comprehensive genetic analysis programs at Nutrition Genome). You would be better off taking a multimineral without the B-vitamins if continuing the Vessel Care product.

      Happy to help :).

  • Hi Alex,

    one of my friend told me about Usananimals for kids. I am curious … what is your opinion about this product ?

    Thank you !


    • Hi Martin,

      I do not recommend the Usanimals by Usana due to the use of folic acid, cyanocobalamin and crystalline fructose. It is also missing DHA, which is an important nutrient for kids.

  • Hi Alex… wow I’m speechless. I just spent roughly 3 to 4 weeks researching about suppliments and then I come across your article.
    I have 3 kids. Two boys age 11 and 5 and my daughter is 6. I try to get our supplemental needs from whole foods but it gets hectic sometimes with picky eaters. We drink Raw cow milk and eggs from Pasture raised hens as well as organic fruits and vegetables and organic poultry and meat.
    I wanted to suppliment the kids just to cover the basis. I had been reading about the importance of vitamin D so I ordered vitamin D3 by Garden of Life, my kind of Organics spray. I try to give the kids roughly 2500 IUS per day with dinner.
    I understand that Vitamin D works better with vitamin K, A, magnesium and Calcium, hence my search for good clean suppliments.
    Can you please advise me on the best course of action to work with vitamin D as well as just boosting the overall health.
    I am thinking of getting
    Thorne Citramins ll
    Fermented Cod Liver oil by Green Pasture Blue Ice
    Is this good or the one you mentioned by Nutra-Pro International.
    I also wanted to get a probiotic for the holiday season whilst traveling. I was looking at these soil based probiotics
    What do you think of these? Or should I get the ones you mentioned by Inner-Eco.

    Will these work with Vitamin D? Do I need to get a seperate Vitamin K. Sometimes they don’t eat eggs, butter or cheese. If I need Vitamin K suppliment, what dosage will be necessary to work with 2500 IUs Vitamin D3.
    Sorry for such a long essay. As you can tell I’m extremely confused. Any guidance will be appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Hi Umber,

      It sounds like your children are eating very well! The vitamin D receptor needs calcium, magnesium, K2, vitamin A, boron and zinc. It is okay if they don’t always eat eggs, butter or cheese for vitamin K2. Our ability to absorb vitamin D and our requirements depend on our genetics and skin tone. I think vitamin D supplementation becomes necessary if you are in a deficient state (below 25 ng/ml), you live in a place with little sunlight, or most time is spent indoors. 1 serving cod liver oil and your current vitamin D supplementation is a good combination during the winter. I have been recommending the Virgin Cod Liver Oil by Nutra-Pro International because of the rancidity issues that have come up with Green Pastures, as well as potential histamine issues for some. The Virgin Cod Liver Oil flavor is also very palatable.

      I think that your kids can get the same benefit from putting their hands in the dirt and that the Prescript Assist isn’t necessary. Inner Eco is good, but you can also get the same benefits with yogurt, kefir, fermented drinks and fermented veggies. Supplemental probiotics have their place for certain digestive disorders, mental health issues or after using antibiotics, but I don’t think are necessary for those who are generally healthy.

      Any additional supplementation beyond the cod liver oil and vitamin D for your kids will depend on their needs, any health issues and diet. Everyone is a little different. The Citramins II would provide minerals for the 11-year-old (use a lower dose) but might be too strong for the 5 and 6-year-old.

  • Thank you so much Alex for replying back. This really helps. Regarding Vitamin D, my whole family (mum, Sister, brothers, cousins etc) is deficient. We belong to South Asia and have medium skin tone. We live in HoustonTexas but still me and my husband are below 20 ng/ml. I wanted to get the kids blood tests done but their pediatrician was adamant that Vitamin D makes no difference. I know my daughter had low levels about 3 years ago and nothing was done for it. I didn’t know much about it back then either. So she probably still is deficient. That’s why I started the 2500IU regime to be on the safe side. I’m thinking of changing pediatrician who is on the same page as me and then get them all checked. My daughter has a few medical issues. She had mild hydrocephalus ay birth causing Charge Syndrome with hearing loss, hypotonia, ASD congenital heart disease (repaired). She’s developmentally delayed in terms of physically as well as learning. She’s 6, in KG and doing great considering the hurdles. She has acquired the B trait Thalassemia from me and on 37mcg Levothyroxine for Hyperthyroidism. She’s always lethargic and tired.
    I’m trying to help her to get more energy with whole foods but I don’t understand what the underlying problem is. She see about 12 different specialists but no one has figured out the problem. I’m currently searching for a holistic Doctor or a Naturopath. But not sure what the best approach would be. Any help in this matter would be highly appreciated. If u can please guide me towards the who I should see. She’s been in Thrust medicine since she was 6 months old but it makes no difference at all in terms of energy. Her iron panel was normal too, slightly anemic but due to Thalassemia trait.
    My 11 year old son seems to have genetically high cholesterol. He is not obese and eats healthy food but his Triglycerides levels are 207 mg/dl when it should be between 33-129mg/dl. The doctor just told us to make sure he eats the right foods and exercise. Also his hands get full of hair when he shampoos. They’re not falling out otherwise, but just when he shampoos. I’ve seen it myself too. It’s not the regular amount that naturally comes off when we take a shower. The doctor wasn’t concerned about that either. She said it’s probably a phase of stress. He is in a relugious program where he has to memorize big chunks of material and keep revising it. Maybe it’s due to theat mental strain or almost racing puberty. He also has acquired Thalassemia B trait. Are there any vitamins or food that he should be eating to help boost his mental power.
    I’m not sure if you’re able to help with this. But if u can just guide me like what type of doctor I should take my kids to and for myself. I want to go a different route from conventional medicine. So may be Auervedic, Chinese, Naturopath, Holistic??
    Sorry this is getting really long but I wanted to ask you about myself too. I just discovered yesterday that I also have hypothyroidism and doc told me to eat 25mcg Levothyroxine. I have Vitamin D deficiency with 19 mg/ dl and Thalassemia trait so slightly anemic due to it.
    What would you recommend for me?
    Thank-you again.

    • Hi Umber,

      You and your family would be very good candidates for the nutrigenomic testing I do through Nutrition Genome. It tests 8 sections including Digestion, Methylation, Hormone Health (including Vitamin D metabolism), Neurotransmitters and Mental Health, Inflammation and Antioxidant Protection, Pharmacogenomics and Detoxification, DNA Damage, Protection, and Repair and Cardiovascular and Exercise Health. A large percentage of the clients I do programs for have been to numerous practitioners without any answers. The analysis will customize your vitamin and mineral needs and help discover underlining issues. Here is the website:

  • I just received the Cod Liver oil and the kids took it without any problem. It doesn’t really have any taste. Thank you for the recommendation.
    You mentioned kids need Magnesium which is hard to get from food. Can I use the Ancient Mineral Magnesium oil and spray it on the children’s tummy. It’ll be one less pill to take. I also like your idea of using the trace minerals drops in water. What would be better for kids?
    One last thing and I’ll leave you alone. I mentioned in my last post that I have hypothyroidism. I met my Endocrinologist yesterday and she said that I don’t clinically have hypothyroidism. They found a nodule next to my right Thyroid gland which is benign. So she’s prescribed me 25mcg Levothyroxine to help shrink the nodule. I don’t know if this helps you in suggesting any suppliments for me. I’m currently taking 5000IUs of Vitamin D and will start one serving of Cod Liver Oil as of today.
    Thank you Alex!

    • Hi Umber,

      Yes, the magnesium spray can work. I think the combination of the spray and liquid minerals is an easy way for kids to get more minerals.

      As for your thyroid, that is difficult for me to assess. I would need to know a lot more about the T3, reverse T3, T4 and TSH numbers. The thyroid gland requires iodine, selenium, magnesium, B2, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin A/D. There are a lot of factors that affect thyroid health, so it can get a little complicated.

  • Thanks Alex. I will definitely look at the testing procedure.

  • Dear Alex,

    What would you recommend to buy if I would want the following vitamins for my mother of 73 with Alzheimers (I did read your article about seniors):
    B1 (niaciamide)
    Omega 3 DHA en EPA
    Vitamine E

    I looked at the ones you say are best for seniors (Thorne), but they don’t contain everything if I’m right or not in the high dose I like. What would you advice?
    I prefer powders + the least capsules possible with the best (high) dose and best absorbent, because she really dislikes swallowing tablets + she lives in a nursing home and the only tablets they see over there are the chemical ones of the doctor. My mother already takes some vitamins and they look at us like if we live on the moon…. What they do now is open most of the capsules and then let my mother drink this with water.
    Thank you very much!

    • Hi Bianca,

      I did some research and found a powdered one called Optimal Multivitamin Powder that I just added to the senior multivitamin article. This covers most of your list in and in a higher dose. You can read the summary about it on that article.

      Omega 3’s will need to be separate. You can get these in liquid form instead of capsules. Wiley’s Finest has some liquid versions.

      Choline and phosphatidylserine will also need to be separate for higher doses. The multivitamin powder does have 100mg of choline. Seeking Health makes a liquid phosphatidylcholine. I’m not sure about a liquid phosphatidylserine.

      • Thank you Alex! I just searched on google to see where I can buy it, but buying it from The Netherlands is quite expensive due to duty fees + shipment costs. And I am sure in The Netherlands there is no such powder with higher doses…such a pity! So, I have to figure out what I can do now. Anyway: I really appreciate your help! And I am happy you found a ‘new’ multi vitamin for your senior multivitamin article.

        • Hi Bianca,

          That is a shame. I wish I could provide more options for people in Europe. If you need me to analyze any products you come across, just let me know.

  • Hi,
    I have been reading your comments, love and appreciate all that you do. I have Crohns Disease and suffer from a hormone imbalance. My energy is low and times I feel that my brain is foggy (if that makes sense). I have been I remission for over 10 years, but on the hunt for a multivitamin that will help with my hormone imbalance and every day vitamins that I need with Crohns. I guess I just do not know where to start. I’m so confused! I also know I need a good probiotic. Any advice?

    • Hi De,

      Thank you for that. In what ways are your hormones imbalanced? High estrogen and low progesterone? Low estrogen and low progesterone? Hypothyroidism?

      • Excess of androgen and testosterone would be the case

        • Hi Di,

          VSL#3 is the best probiotic for digestive disorders along with daily fermented foods, and for some people including a good friend of mine, a prebiotic powder (Jarrow makes one) is key as well. I would need to know a lot more about your health history (including medications) to really understand what you need in terms of a multivitamin/multimineral. Your energy/mental fog is likely connected to B12, folate and iron malabsorption, and perhaps other minerals. It is best to get your iron levels tested by a practitioner and consider sublingual and liquid versions of vitamins and minerals. If you are interested in a consultation, send me an email through the contact form and I would be happy to help.

  • Thats is really helpful! I’d be very grateful if u tell me plz which will be the best multivitamins for my father and mother and myself ofcrs. My father is 49 years of history of heart disease or cvs malfunction.
    Mother is 47 years of age.with a history of stroke 2 years back. She feels tired n sleepy most of time and i assume some vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Both are a bit overweight too.
    I am 21 years of age and with a busy busy schedule.
    How will megafood men over 40 and women over 40 do with them? And megafood women one daily for me? Looking forward to your reply. Thankyou

    • Hi Andleeb,

      The Naturelo and MegaFood product would both be excellent choices. Magnesium is going to be important for your mother, so the Naturelo product would be a better fit for her. The Megafood for Women would be a great choice for you.

  • Dear Alex. Thank you so much for your fantastic website which is a great resource to a novice like myself. My mum has advanced dementia, calcium deposits, peripheral neuropathy, chronic constipation and is type 2 diabetic. She was on an acid blocker, insulin and statins for last 30 years and her diet is mainly sugar and meat. I am sure she is massively deficient in so many things but I live in UK and can’t find any good products or practitioners with experience of helping dementia patients via nutrition. Dr Wallach suggests all chronic disease is a nutrient deficiency and recommends massive doses to correct but I am not so sure if his products are any good (See for beyond tangy tangerine and majestic minerals ingredients? Also considering intramax from Drucker Labs as it is combined with vulvic acid to make 100 absorbable but you said on a previous post had too many ingredients but if the body doesn’t need it, won’t it just flush away? Finally considering multivitamin supplement by Guardian of Eden who also makes hydrogen peroxide. It looks very basic but they say that is all you need together with their calcium, magnesium, vitamin D mix. I would have loved to see an article about your fathers progress. Any advice great fully received and thank you again.

    • Hi Beverly,

      Thank you for the positive feedback and I would be happy to help.

      I’m sorry to hear about your mom. I see this comment is posted on the regular multivitamin article, but did you see the multivitamin article for seniors? There is information there about dementia.

      Intramax has every herb under the sun in it in small amounts. I don’t think this is a good idea because people react differently to all types of herbs, and when you include herbs like St. John’s Wort, licorice, different types of grasses etc., you risk interactions with medications and sensitivities. It is better to use a smaller diversity of herbs in meaningful amounts that are being used for a particular reason without any known interactions. This product also uses a synthetic vitamin E in the blend (dl-alpha-tocopherol).

      The Majestic Earth product actually comes from southern Utah in the US, which is likely the same source as products from Trace Minerals Research. Since the product does not list the mineral profile, it is hard to know the exact mineral profile.

      The Tangy Tangerine uses folic acid and you want methylfolate. Folic acid can block folate receptors and affect brain function.

      For Guardian of Eden, are you looking at the Mega Vitamins? This one has too much vitamin A and not enough vitamin D. Too much A will push D levels down, and as people age, the ratio needs to be closer together to help preserve bone health and cardiovascular health. Many people are low in vitamin D. This product is also lacking sufficient zinc, uses folic acid, and does not clarify the other forms of the B-vitamins.

      These probably weren’t the answers you were hoping for! Let me know if any of the ones listed on the senior multivitamin article are available in the UK. If not, I will start looking for UK options.

      • Thank you so much for such a speedy reply Alex and sorry if it would have been more appropriate for me to post under the other article.

        a) I was attracted to Youngevity’s product because of the large quantities and they claim high doses are needed to rectify a deficiency but I did not know about the Folic Acid. What is your view on doubling the dose from Thorne or Naturelo? I took Mum off all medications a year ago.

        b) I was interested in Intramax because it contains 415 ingredients (but had not considered interactions!) and because it is in a liquid with fulvic acid, it is supposed to be 100% absorbable. How absorbable are the capsules from Thorne or Naturelo as Mum has huge digestion problems being on acid blockers for the last 30 years?

        c) As of 2 weeks ago, Mum is now on a gluten free diet, 6 eggs and 1 glass of raw milk per day to try and restore cholesterol to the brain after years of statins. The rest of her diet is sadly just biscuits and a small amount of meat as she wont eat fruit or veg. The dietary change alone has given her more energy but do you think all this dairy may affect the quantities of vitamins I should be giving her?

        d) Within the last 2 weeks I have started her on Now omega 3-6-9 for EFA’s, Now Magnesium Citrate and a generic brand of Diamataceous earth – both of which for the first time ever appear to be helping her become regular as she only used to go once a week! What are your views on these products?

        e) I also trying to add a Selenium supplement (as she has Vascular Dementia and Alzheimers) and was considering Future Biotics Selenium chelate. Any views?

        f) I am interested in both the Ashwagandha and Lions Mane powder but cant appear to get that or the Naturelo product in the UK without it being three times the price! Your offer to try and find something similar in the UK would be fantastic as this is just such a huge learning curve for me as none of our family have ever used supplements before! I cannot express my gratitude for all your help Alex.

        • Hi Beverley,

          a) I wouldn’t double the dosages of Thorne due to the levels of selenium and chromium. I’m also hesitant to recommend doubling the dose of Naturelo without knowing more about your mom.

          b) Yes, I would recommend using liquid, sublingual, or powder since she has been on acid blockers for such a long time. Capsules are going to be hard for her to absorb and digestion needs to start in the mouth.

          c) No, this wouldn’t alter the dosage of certain vitamins and minerals. But using high-quality raw milk and eggs like you are doing is going to be more effective than any capsule for her.

          d) Magnesium Citrate works wonders for constipation, and Diamateceous earth is beneficial for many reasons. ALA is poorly converted to EPA and DHA, so I would combine fish oil and GLA from borage seed oil or evening primrose oil for omega-3/6.

          e) This is the first time I have seen this product so I don’t have any research on it. If you use it, I wouldn’t go over 200mcg.

          f) You are very welcome! I am impressed with your approach, especially since your family has never used supplements before. I will see what I can find regarding Lion’s Mane and Ashwagandha in the UK.

        • Hi Alex,

          I have tried reading through all the comments to see if you’ve answered but… There are a lot. I am wondering if there is a good liquid multivitamin or a kids vitamin (not in pill form) that you recommend. I know diet is most important but I really want a base multivitamin/mineral supplement but am really having issues with figuring out a good one and affordability :/ thank you

          • Hi Brittni,

            I’m getting close to finishing an article on the Best and Worst Children’s multivitamins. I haven’t found a good liquid multivitamin yet, but two good chewable ones include Naturelo and Smarty Pants.

  • Hi Alex! What an awesome page! I have learned so much! What are your thoughts on doTERRA’s multivitamin, Microplex MVp? Here’s a link

    Most of the contents are produced via the glycoprotein matrix whic I would assume is like what Garden of Life does?

    • Hi Jen,

      Happy to hear it! It looks like it is a similar formula to Garden of Life. I think one issue with it is that it only has 25mcg of iodine. It should be 150mcg, which is important for thyroid and breast health.

  • Thank you for the quick response!

  • Are Gundry Vital Reds recommended for seniors, age 73. Recent survivor of breast cancer? I was going to start taking a daily multivitamin supplement, and i came across the Dr Gundry vital reds video saying that this was the daily supplement to take.

  • Hi Alex,

    First of all, THANK YOU so much for being available and sharing your immense knowledge with everyone. Great work!

    I would like to get your opinion on the Life Extension Mix Capsules multivitamin (14 capsules a day). Here is the product page:

    Would you recommend this product? Is there any negative?

    For us living in Europe, it’s not so easy to get access to many products available in the US, either because they simply aren’t available, or cost a fortune. This LEF multivitamin is available, so I’d like to get your opinion.

    Thank You so much once again. Happy New Year!

    • Hi Rui,

      Thank you for the positive feedback. I’m glad I can provide thorough answers for people.

      Life Extension does an amazing job with their research, but their formulas are often hit or miss and can be really strong. They use a synthetic beta carotene, and if you are taking a full dose, the B6 and zinc levels are very high. This isn’t a formula I would feel comfortable recommending. I don’t know if there are certain health issues you are trying to target or if this is for general health, which also determines the best formula for you. If you (or anyone else in Europe) can point me in the right direction on where to start looking for companies and their products sold there, I would be happy to do a European analysis. Happy New Year!

      • Hi Alex!

        Thank You once again for being available and for sharing your knowledge!

        I would never even think of taking 14 capsules a day, nor do I need to take this much nutrients per day. My diet is quite good. I want supplements just to make sure I´m getting an extra help but not as the main source of my nutrients. Regarding this LEF multivitamin (14 capsules/day), my plan was to take just 4-6 a day.

        All the health issues I had in the past, were solved through diet. I have a high fiber diet, no meat, easy on the dairy (as little as possible), but I do eat fish and sea food 2-4 times per week. I am now 42, very healthy and active.

        In the spirit of sharing, here is my breakfast routine. After this healthy breakfast, I take it easy during the rest of the day and have a more carefree diet.

        Ingredients to blend:
        1 banana
        1 source of vitamin A (beta carotene): usually 1 carrot (preferably black, as they have more nutrients).
        1 source of vitamin C: kiwi/orange/persimmon/whatever is in season
        2 fats to absorve the liposoluble vitamins: 1 dessert spoon of coconut oil + 1 teaspoon of black cumin oil (Nigela Sativa)
        Omega 3: 1-2 tablespoons chia seeds + 1-2 tablespoons flaxseed (previously soaked)
        1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds
        1 Tablespoon clorela
        1 Dessertspoon Beer Yeast (innactive)

        This is the base. To this, I randomly add whatever is available at home (1-3 more things). Examples:
        Beet, celery, cilantro, parsley, turnips, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatos, etc…

        Regarding supplements in Europe: I´m a Portuguese native speaker but I make most of my online searches in English. As I also speak Spanish, French and Italian, I sometimes try to find products in those languages. So far, I havent´come across any brand that I find particulary interesting.

        For instance, I´m looking for Raw Organic Whey, but I could only find real raw organic whey in the UK (imported from the US). In all other European countries I checked, its either raw but not organic, organic but not raw, “pure” whey with soy lecithin, etc… Not much luck.

        My last hope would be to find this stuff in German speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), but unfortunately I don´t speak German.
        I´m sorry I can´t be of much help to you in this regard.

        Thank You again for your kindness and for sharing your knowledge.
        All the best, Live Long and Prosper! 🙂

        • Hi Rui,

          Thank you for sharing! Glad to hear you were able to resolve everything with diet, which looks nutrient dense. Nicely done with the use of black cumin seed oil, which has some impressive research.

          That is really incredible that you’re fluent in four languages. I wish I was! You are more than welcome. If you ever come across any products in Europe that you need me to analyze, just let me know.