Multivitamins contain a synergistic range of vitamins and minerals to support your daily micro-nutrient requirements. There is a multivitamin to suit everybody and every stage of life, so let’s have a little look into their history and why you may want to include a multivitamin as part of your daily routine.
Why were multivitamins created?
The humble multivitamin was invented in 1943 as a response to some noted nutritional deficiencies that men serving in World War 2 were experiencing. This prompted the start of what we know today as the ‘recommended daily intake’, or RDI for the vitamins and minerals required by our bodies every day to function. It wasn’t long before the multivitamin started turning up in our households.
Why should I take a multivitamin?
At each stage of our lives, we require different quantities of vitamins and minerals to thrive, therefore it is always a good first step to ensure you are consuming a varied diet – full of colourful vegetables, fruit and wholefoods. However, there are so many factors that can impact the nutrient content of your fresh produce; soil quality, chemicals used in the growing process, the time between being picked and eaten, storage, and preparation.
Taking a multivitamin can provide an extra layer of support for you, but it is important to choose a multivitamin that has been formulated for your body’s needs and stage of life.
7 reasons to take a multivitamin
- For healthy energy and vitality
- To support the livers’ important role in detoxification
- During pregnancy and breastfeeding to support your body and your baby
- To support growing children
- To support a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet
- For healthy skin, see Essential vitamins for healthy, glowing skin
- During times of added pressure at home or at work. Check out our article: B complex vitamins made simple: adrenal and stress support
Multivitamins do tend to major on the vitamins, and minor on some minerals – as it is tricky to include everything in one convenient daily pill. Depending on which multivitamin you choose, you may also want to look into a separate mineral supplement if you have increased requirements for magnesium, zinc, calcium, or iron.
When should I take my multivitamin?
Multivitamins are best taken alongside food for optimal absorption. The best time to take your multivitamin is when you’re most likely to remember it – for many this is with breakfast! Some people like to keep their bottle at their workstation to take with lunch. Avoid drinking coffee or black tea for around on hour either side of your supplements, as the tannins and caffeine can impact on absorption.
Ideally, multivitamins are designed to take daily – however they will still be very supportive if you miss a day or two. To make it easy to remember, leave them out where you can see them, and if you are wanting to make sure you never forget, pop a reminder on your phone.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies in the New Zealand population
New Zealand soil is lacking in two key minerals: Iodine and Selenium. This means that fresh produce sometimes doesn’t contain enough of these essential minerals to keep us healthy. The low iodine intake became a bit of a problem in the early 1900’s – when there was a noted increase in health concerns relating to iodine deficiency, affecting the thyroid gland and the developing brain.
In 1924, the government decided to add iodine to our table salt – which saw this deficiency all but disappear until recently. With the rise of non-iodised salt in the kitchen, and many large companies choosing to use non-iodised salt in their food manufacturing, ensuring you are getting enough iodine has become all the more important.
Although selenium is low in our soils, we have avoided deficiencies by relying on mostly imported grains for our bread and using selenium in our primary farming industries – which carries on down the food chain to us. As well as being an essential mineral, selenium plays a very important role in the body’s defences against oxidative stress and free radicals. Selenium is one of those minerals that needs to be carefully monitored in your supplements – as you can over-do it. Fortunately, there are maximum doses set for supplements sold in NZ to protect people from taking doses that are too high.
Folate deficiency during pregnancy
The B-Vitamin folate is very important before and during pregnancy to support the healthy development of the baby’s central nervous system – this includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. It is recommended that all those who are trying to conceive start taking folate or folic acid either on its own, or as a multivitamin at least three months before pregnancy.
Our main sources of iron and B12 are from animal sources, this means that when you are following a vegetarian or vegan diet, special care needs to be taken to ensure that they’re both included from other food sources, or by taking a supplement. If you’re not sure whether you’re consuming enough through your diet, go get your levels tested for peace of mind.
What to look for in a multivitamin
With quite a few to choose from, it can be a little tricky to work out what to look out for. Hopefully we can take some of that guesswork away for you, as of our products have been carefully chosen by our team of experts.
Honest manufacturing – does the multivitamin contain what it says it contains? Honest companies will adhere to best practices and have their products tested by a third party. This is otherwise known as being ‘GMP Manufactured’.
No unhealthy binders, fillers, preservatives, colours, or flavours. Thanks to our strict ingredient standards you can rest assured that our supplements are free from harmful ingredients.
The forms of the vitamins and minerals used are appropriate and absorbable. Some multivitamins contain ‘active’ forms of vitamins – these are more bioavailable and may be preferable for pregnancy and stress related health concerns.
Let’s have a look at some of our favourite vitamin supplements:
For comprehensive women's support we love the Multi for Women by Radiance. Not only does it contain key vitamins and minerals for energy, it also contains the herbal adaptogen Ashwagandha for stress and resilience support. A unique addition is marine collagen peptides that support the health and elasticity of your skin.
- Gentle and absorbable form of iron
- Supports healthy liver detoxification
For a comprehensive support for men, Radiance has done it again with their carefully formulated Men’s Multi. This one contains plenty of B-Vitamins to support energy and vitality, and key minerals like zinc for hormonal health. The herbal extracts of Saw Palmetto and Siberian Ginseng support men’s vitality and energy.
- Key vitamins and minerals for daily performance
- Supports healthy testosterone and reproductive health
BePure have created the ultimate multivitamin, it contains everything! Considering you are getting it all in one go, it is an easy choice to make. Not only are you getting the basics covered, your body also receives an array of herbal and wholefood extracts.
- Herbal and wholefood extracts to support the liver and longevity
- Activated folate and B12
Do you have flashbacks of awful tasting multis that were given to you when you were young? Thankfully children’s vitamin supplements have come a long way since then! Your little one will love these tasty gummies and chews from Radiance. Formulated with flavours that appeal to kids tastebuds, so getting your littlies to take them is a breeze.
- Tasty, bear shaped gummy
- Carefully formulated to support growing children
There are few reasons why you would choose a specialised prenatal supplement to prepare for pregnancy, and to support the healthy growth and development of your baby. Firstly, you need to ensure you’re getting adequate folic acid or folate and iodine. Secondly, a prenatal will contain Beta-carotene instead of retinol for your RDI of Vitamin A. Along with an array of vitamins and minerals this comprehensive prenatal from Blackmores does just that and more – with the addition of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Non- constipating form of iron
- Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy cells and brain development
As we mentioned earlier, avoiding all animal products can mean a higher risk of deficiency in iron and B12 over time. We really like this vegan supplement from Vitus – it contains naturally derived vitamins and minerals as all of the ingredients are wholefoods. Get your RDI of various vitamins and minerals by mixing this powder with your morning smoothie.
- 100% derived from plant-based food sources
- Wholefood supplement to support healthy iron and B12 levels
Are you looking for a one-size-fits-all product? Take a look at Clinicians MultiVitamin & Mineral Boost with different dose options for the whole family, 12 months and over. Mix with water, juice, a smoothie – or simply sprinkle on food.
- Suitable for the whole family
- Supports health and wellbeing
Lifestream is a leader in formulating tasty wholefood supplements they’re great to add to smoothies or make up as a refreshing and revitalising drink. Support your energy and sleep with this nourishing wholefood powder.
- Supports healthy liver function
- Helps fill nutritional gaps
For antioxidant, phytonutrient, and amino acid support, on top of vitamins and minerals – you can’t go wrong with Nature’s Sunshine Super Supplemental. A great addition to your daily routine – or for added support when you feel you need it due to increased demands.
- Antioxidant rich for youthful vitality and longevity
- Herbal extracts for healthy liver
The best multivitamin for you
As you can see, there are a few things that you should consider before choosing a multivitamin. You want to make sure that you are getting one that’s suited to your personal health goals – while at the same time checking that your multi-vitamin has been formulated with the best and most efficient ingredients. Which one will you choose?