A multivitamin is a foundational supplement that you take each day to ensure that you are getting all the essential nutrients that your body needs. If formulated correctly, your multivitamin can also help you optimize other areas for improved performance. Here are five nutrients that I always look for in a multivitamin. These are key nutrients, which also play an important role in foundational health, that people generally do not get enough of in their normal diets.
Zinc is a mineral that is important for proper immune and hormone function. Things in our lives like intense exercise and stress can increase our body’s need for zinc - thus leaving people with subconical deficiencies in this essential mineral. I will frequently use an oral zinc test with clients to assess their zinc status and have only found two people in my entire career that did not need additional zinc in their diets based on this assessment.
Many people don’t think of iodine as a key nutrient for a multivitamin. This is because, through the high prevalence of iodized salt, people were meeting their iodine needs without thinking about this. However, there has been a major shift in how people are eating – more specifically very low sodium diets and extensive use of “designer salts” (e.g. coarse sea salts, Himalayan salt, etc.) – leading to lower iodine intakes. Iodine is essential for proper thyroid function. Having iodine in a multivitamin ensures that you’ll be properly supplying one of your body’s key metabolic powerhouses (your thyroid) with this nutrient it needs to function at its best.
Vitamin D/K Combo
Vitamin D and Vitamin K are two nutrients that work synergistically together to support proper bone health and immune function. They are also two nutrients that people consistently do not get enough of. I always make sure that an appreciable dose (at least 100% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin D and 50% of Vitamin K) is found in a multivitamin that I’m using.
Bone health and strength are extremely important for men and women, but women especially as they are constantly fighting against physiological forces that want to weaken their bones. Calcium is the primary mineral that you need for strong bones. Getting calcium via your multivitamin will help ensure that you don’t fall short on your calcium needs even when diet falls short. Pair calcium with the above mentioned Vitamin D/K combo and you have 360 degrees of nutrient support for your bones.
In addition to having this core set of key nutrients in your multivitamin, you also want to make sure that your vitamins are being delivered in an optimal form for maximum absorption. Your diet is only as good as what your body absorbs from it. When it comes to minerals, this means that you want them to be chelated. Chelated minerals have higher levels of bioavailability and absorption. Examples of chelated minerals are Ferrous Gluconate, Zinc Bisglycinate Chelate, and Copper Bisglycinate Chelate.