Because many of us need a little extra support.
With countless supplements on the market today, there are a few factors to consider when choosing a multivitamin. The first: Whether or not you even need one. "Multivitamins are not actually necessary for everyone," says Laura Moretti, M.S., R.D., a clinical nutrition specialist at Boston's Children's Hospital. "If you're eating a balanced diet where you consume a variety of nutrients, you might not need one."
But if you struggle to hit your recommended daily allowances through food, then Moretti says a multi may be smart. That typically applies to those who eliminate one or more food groups (looking at you, keto dieters), vegans or vegetarians, and anyone who has a poor appetite due to health complications. In those cases, you may not be receiving the 27 nutrients the body requires, so a daily multivitamin could help fill nutritional gaps.
Next, you need to know which nutrients you're actually short on. A primary care physician or registered dietitian can help assess your individual needs, but in general, Moretti says that most women fall short on folic acid (especially if they're of child-bearing age or pregnant), calcium, and vitamin D.
Thankfully, it doesn't matter which form you take the vitamin in - capsule, tablet, powder, liquid, and chewables all work - nor is the time of day a big deal, Moretti says. The key is consistency - and the ingredients list. Remember, supplements are regulated as a food, not a drug, which means the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't have to look at products before they hit store shelves. Moretti warns against anything that promotes increased energy, as it likely contains stimulants that can lead to harmful side effects like headaches, dizziness, increased heart rate, disturbed sleep patterns, and anxiety.
Now, it's time to start shopping! These are the multivitamins experts deem worthy of your hard-earned cash, so long as your doctor gives you the green light.