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6 Ingredients That Your Multivitamin Should Have

Food & Fitness, General Health | October 14th | By J.S.Chang, RD

Multivitamins have always been the hot topic when it comes to supplements. Why not? It is an all-rounded vitamin with essentially most of the vitamins and minerals your body might need. But what really is a multivitamin? What’s really inside it and what should you look for?

A study in 2002 states that various vitamin deficiencies are linked to chronic diseases as it concludes that most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone. So it seems that multivitamins are the way to go for them. But with so many types and brands of multivitamins on the market, how do you know what to look for? We have broken down a list of ingredients so you know what to choose.


1. Calcium

You get your calcium primarily from dairy products, and most people do not actually meet their daily requirements. Furthermore some people with absorption issues like lactose intolerance may have more trouble in their calcium intake. Women tend to lose calcium at a faster rate compared to men, especially after their 30s, hence getting enough calcium at an earlier age is important to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis.

Useful tips: The daily recommended intake is 1000mg for most adults, 1200mg for elderly and pregnant women. In terms of bioavailability and absorption, you can consider to take calcium in the form of calcium citrate, which is the best out of all forms of calcium.


2. Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in your body, besides supporting bone health, it is involved in almost 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and also crucial to your muscle and nerve function. Most people might be deficient in magnesium because of the foods they take. You can find magnesium in foods such as spinach, almonds, pumpkin seeds. 

Useful tips: Healthy adults need roughly 400mg of magnesium a day. The best form of magnesium for absorption is magnesium glycinate and citrate, which is helpful to reduce side effects like diarrhoea, especially for long term supplementation.


3. Zinc

Zinc is well known to help in male libido, especially sperm health. But zinc is actually essential to your immune system because it plays an important role in mediating your immune cells and response. It also aids in wound healing.

Mostly zinc can be obtained from sources such as red meats, beans and nuts, but generally plant-based zinc has lower bioavailability than animal sources due to the phytates that actually bind the zinc in the food.

Useful tips: It is recommended to get around 4-6mg of zinc per day, where usually multivitamins provide somewhere between 5-15mg of zinc.


4. Vitamin B12

Top 10 Vitamin B12 Foods and Their Benefits - Dr. Axe

The last in line of the vitamin Bs, it is important in maintaining a healthy nerve and body cells, especially your red blood cells. One of the causes of anemia is the lack of vitamin B12. There are some who are more prone to this deficiency, such as vegans or vegetarians as plant-based foods contain little to nothing of B12, where most of them come from animal sources.

Useful tips: The recommended intake amount for adults is 4 mcg, and most multivitamins provide roughly 10 - 20 mcg of them. The excess B12 is not much of a problem as your body will get rid of them when you pee.


5. Folic acid

An especially important vitamin for soon-to-be or pregnant mothers, this vitamin is best known to help in foetus development and prevent birth defects. But in fact, it is equally important to us all to allow for the healthy growth of body cells.

Useful tips: WHO recommends women who are trying to conceive to get 400 mcg of folic acid daily, and continue with 600 mcg of folic acid until the first trimester of pregnancy. You can get folic acid from leafy greens as well, but when taking folic acid, if you take it on an empty stomach your body will absorb it much better.


6. Vitamin E

One of the fat soluble vitamins, vitamin E is another antioxidant that can reduce the oxidative stress in your body, meaning they will take up free radicals that will otherwise cause damage to your body cells, eventually leading to chronic diseases. Since it helps to protect your body against oxidative stress, Vitamin E can also be beneficial to your skin health, even wound healing.

Useful tips: Most supplements use the unit IU instead of mg, and depending on the form of vitamin E used (natural or synthetic), the values can vary slightly. Recommended amount for adults to take in daily is around 8mg.


To take or not to take?

Most experts agree that taking multivitamins a tablet a day do not cause any side effects. If you have trouble obtaining your nutrients from diet, then multivitamin is the way to go for you. When possible, getting all the essential nutrients from a varied and balanced diet is always better, but taking multivitamins is certainly another option to consider.



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