How to Find Tested and True Multivitamins at the Best Value

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Dietary Supplements (image courtesy of worradmu/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

The second most commonly used supplement in the U.S. is a multivitamin.  A multivitamin often contains 3 or more vitamins, minerals and other nutritional elements with contents usually at or above the Daily Value (DV).

Unfortunately, of the most popular brand multivitamins tested, Consumer Lab found that over 34% on the market today failed independent testing! This means the label was not consistent with the contents. Said differently, people didn’t get what they paid for…

To get rid of those concerns, save you money, and help you find the best quality and trusted labels that passed independent testing, I created a multivitamin reference guide below. Ordering these any of the products below ensures you’ll get what you’re paying for…

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 Multivitamins: Claims & Purported Use

A study released in the American Journal of Medicine found that multivitamins are a great natural inflammation-fighting tool, which is essential for health and longevity as inflammation is emerging as a major cause of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and aging in general.  Along with anti-inflammation support, multivitamins provide additional nutrients to one’s diet.  Purported benefits of these added nutrients include improvement in energy levels, prevention of colds and infections, reduction of fatigue and a lowered risk for chronic diseases.

The following multivitamin products listed below passed independent testing and are tested (safe) and true (effective).

Pick Your Category

Prenatal: Now Foods Pre-Natal Multivitamin with DHA Softgels, 180 Count

Children’s: Flintstones Gummies Complete Children’s Multivitamin

Teen: Kal Enhanced Energy Teen Complete

Women’s: One-A-Day Women’s Formula Complete Multivitamin

Women’s 50+: Simply Right Mature Women 50+ Multivitamin

Men’s: Berkley & Jensen Men’s Daily Multivitamins and Minerals Supplement Tablets

Men’s 50+: Natural Factors Dr. Murray Multistart Mens 50+ Tablets, 120-Count

Selected Potential Side Effects

Multivitamins are generally regarded as safe, but it is advised to consult with physician prior to taking them.

Selected Drug Interactions

Some multivitamins have content that may interact with medications.  For example, calcium may decrease effectiveness of certain antibiotics, osteoporosis drugs and thyroid medicationsVitamin D might reduce effectiveness of some medications such as Lipitor, or other heart medications, birth control pills, and HIV/AIDS drugs.

Suggested Dosage

While only quality products that passed independent testing are listed on this page and throughout our spotlight: supplement series contained in this website, the suggested dosages for each vitamin and mineral vary for each individual.

In addition, even though the FDA requires dietary supplement products to list the daily value percentages for certain vitamins and minerals, daily values can be misleading because of various factors such as differences in the user’s age, gender, health condition, etc.

Therefore, it’s best to understand the RDAs (Recommended Dietary Allowances), AI (Adequate Intake), and the ULs (Tolerable Upper Intakes Levels).

The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) is the average daily dietary intake level that is regarded to be sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender.

An AI (Adequate Intake) is simply an approximate value given when no RDA has been established.

The UL (Tolerable Upper Intakes Levels) is the highest level of daily intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects for most people.  Individuals are advised not to exceed the UL.

Due to the multiple variations of multivitamin products on the market today, we’ve provided the RDAs, when established, the AIs (provided when no RDA has been established), and the ULs of the most commonly seen vitamins and minerals in multivitamin products.

Vitamin A- helpful for vision and skin

Vitamin A is typically known as retinol (including retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate), as well as beta-carotene.  It is suggested that beta-carotene, derived from fruits and vegetables, may be a safer source than retinol, found in animal sources, because beta-carotene is converted in the body into vitamin A based on the body’s specific needs.

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 1,000 IU, UL is 2,000 IU

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 3,000 IU

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 5,666 IU

Ages 14-18 yearsRDA is 9,333 IU

Ages 18 and upRDA is 10,000 IU

Vitamin B-1 (thiamin) – helpful for nervous system

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 0.5 mg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 0.6 mg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 0.9 mg

Ages 14+ RDA is (males) 1.2 mg, females 1.0 mg

Pregnant or lactating women RDA is 1.4 mg

Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) – helpful for vision and skin

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 0.5 mg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 0.6 mg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 0.9 mg

Ages 14-18 RDA is 1.3 mg for males, 1.0 mg for females

Ages 19+ RDA is 1.1 mg for females

Pregnant women RDA is 1.4 mg

Lactating women – RDA is 1.6 mg

Vitamin B-3 (niacin) – helpful for energy release from carbohydrates

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 6 mg, UL is 10 mg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 8 mg, UL is 15 mg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 12 mg, UL is 20 mg

Ages 14-18 RDA is 16 mg for males, 14 mg for females, UL is 30 mg for both

Age 19+ RDA is 1.1 mg for females, UL is 35 mg

Pregnant women RDA is 18 mg

Lactating women – RDA is 17 mg

Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) – helpful for metabolic, immune, and nervous system functions

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 0.5 mg, UL is 30 mg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 0.6 mg, UL is 40 mg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 1.0 mg, UL is 60 mg

Ages 14-18 RDA is 1.2 mg for females, UL is 80 mg

Ages 14-50 RDA is 1.3 mg for males, UL is 80 mg

Ages 19+UL is 100 mg

Age 50+ RDA is 1.7 mg for males and 1.5 mg females, UL is 35 mg

Pregnant women RDA is 1.9 mg

Lactating women – RDA is 2.0 mg

Vitamin B-9 (folate) – helpful for reducing risk for certain birth defects

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 150 mcg, UL is 300 mcg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 200 mcg, UL is 400 mcg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 300 mcg, UL is 600 mcg

Ages 14-18 yearsUL is 800 mcg

Ages 19+ RDA is 400 mcg, UL is 1,000 mcg

Pregnant women RDA is 600 mcg

Lactating women – RDA is 500 mcg

Vitamin B-12 (folate) – helpful for building red blood cells (body storage can last for years)

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 0.9 mcg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 1.2 mcg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 1.8 mcg

Ages 14+ yearsUL is 2.4 mcg

Pregnant women RDA is 2.6 mcg

Lactating women – RDA is 2.8 mcg

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) – helpful for healthy blood vessel wall, gums, and bones

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 15 mg, UL is 400 mg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 25 mg, UL is 650 mg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 45 mg, UL is 1,200 mg

Ages 14-18 yearsRDA is 75 mg for males and 65 mg for females, UL is 1,800 mg

Ages 19 + yearsRDA is 90 mg for males and 75 mg for females, UL is 2,000 mg

Pregnant women, 18 years and younger RDA is 80 mg

Pregnant women, 19+ years RDA is 85 mg

Lactating women, 18 years and younger – RDA is 115 mg

Lactating women, 19+ years and younger – RDA is 120 mg

Vitamin D – helpful for body’s absorption of calcium to promote strong bones and teeth

For vitamin D’s RDAs and ULs, visit our Spotlight: Supplements -Vitamin D.

Vitamin E (tocopherol) – helpful for antioxidative purposes

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 6 mg, (13 IU synthetic or 9 IU natural), UL is 200 mg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 7 mg, (16 IU synthetic or 10 IU natural), UL is 300 mg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 11 mg, (24 IU synthetic or 16 IU natural), UL is 600 mg

Ages 14+ yearsRDA is 15 mg, (33 IU synthetic or 22 IU natural)

Ages 14-18 yearsUL is 800 mg

Ages 19+ yearsUL is 1,000 mg, which is about equal to 1,500 IUs of natural vitamin E, but only 1,100 IUs of synthetic vitamin E because both the active and inactive forms of alpha-tocopherol found in synthetic vitamin E may contribute to this effect on b

Lactating women RDA is 19 mg, (42 IU synthetic or 28 IU natural)

Vitamin K – helpful for blood clotting

Since deficiency is rare, no RDAs are set and ULs are not established, only AIs.

Ages 1-3 years AI is 30 mcg

Ages 4-8 yearsAI is 55 mcg

Ages 9-13 yearsAI is 30 mcg

Ages 14-18 yearsAI is 75 mcg

Ages 19+ yearsAI is 120 mcg for males and 90 mcg for females

Calcium – helpful for strong bones and teeth

For calcium’s RDAs and UL, visit Spotlight: Supplements – Calcium.

Chromium – helpful for regulation of blood sugar

No RDAs or ULs are set, only AIs.

Ages 1-3 years AI is 11 mcg

Ages 4-8 yearsAI is 15 mcg

Ages 9-13 yearsAI is 25 mcg for males, 21 mcg for females

Ages 14-50 yearsAI is 35 mcg for males

Ages 14-18 yearsAI is 24 mcg for females

Ages 19-50 yearsAI is 25 mcg for females

Ages 51+ yearsAI is 30 mcg for males and 20 mcg for females

Pregnant women ages 18 and youngerAI is 29 mcg

Pregnant women ages 19 and older AI is 30 mcg

Lactating women ages 18 and youngerAI is 44 mcg

Lactating women ages 19 and older AI is 45 mcg

Copper – helpful for development of connective tissue, nerve insulation, and skin pigmentation

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 340 mcg, UL is 1,000 mcg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 440 mcg, UL is 3,000 mcg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 700 mcg, UL is 5,000 mcg

Ages 14-18 yearsRDA is 890 mcg, UL is 8,000 mcg

Ages 19+ yearsRDA is 900 mcg, UL is 10,000 mcg

Pregnant womenRDA is 1,000 mcg

Lactating women RDA is 1,300 mcg

Excess copper intake is associated with accelerated mental decline and therefore provides good reason not to supplement extra copper into one’s diet.

Iodine – helpful for making thyroid hormones

Ages 1-8 years RDA is 90 mcg

Ages 1-3 years UL is 200 mcg

Ages 4-8 years UL is 300 mcg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 120 mcg, UL is 600 mcg

Ages 14+ yearsRDA is 150 mcg

Ages 14-18 yearsUL is 900 mcg

Ages 19+ yearsUL is 1,100 mcg

Pregnant womenRDA is 220 mcg

Lactating women RDA is 290 mcg

Iron – helpful for anemia prevention

Since adult males are rarely iron deficient and excess iron might increase risk of heart disease, iron is not usually contained in many multivitamins, specifically those formulated for men.

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 7 mg, UL is 400 mg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 10 mg, UL is 650 mg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 8 mg, UL is 1,200 mg

Ages 14-18 yearsRDA is 11 mg for males and 15 mg for females, UL is 1,800 mg

Ages 19 + yearsRDA is 8 mg for males

Ages 19-50 yearsRDA is 18 mg for females

Ages 51+ yearsRDA is 8 mg for females

Pregnant women RDA is 27 mg

Lactating women ages 18 years and younger RDA is 10 mg

Lactating women ages 18+ years RDA is 9 mg

Magnesium – helpful for metabolic and nervous system functions

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 80 mg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 130 mg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 240 mg

Ages 14-18 yearsRDA is 410 mg for males and 360 mg for females

Ages 19 -30 yearsRDA is 400 mg for males and 310 mg for females

Ages 31+ yearsRDA is 420 mg for males and 320 mg for females

Pregnant women ages 18 years and younger RDA is 400 mg

Pregnant women ages 19-30 years RDA is 350 mg

Pregnant women ages 31+ years RDA is 360 mg

Lactating women ages 18 years and younger RDA is 360 mg

Lactating women ages 19-30 years RDA is 310 mg

Lactating women ages 31+ years RDA is 320 mg

Manganese – helpful for metabolic functions and bone formation

Ages 1-3 years AI is 1.2 mg, UL is 2 mg

Ages 4-8 yearsAI is 1.5 mg, UL is 3 mg

Ages 9-13 yearsAI is 1.9 mg for males, UL is 6 mg

Ages 9-18 yearsAI is 1.6 mg for females, UL is 6 mg

Ages 14-18 yearsAI is 2.2 mg for males, UL is 9 mg

Ages 19+ yearsAI is 2.3 mg for males and 1.8 mg for females, UL is 11 mg

Pregnant women AI is 2.0 mg

Lactating women AI is 2.6 mg

Molybdenum – component of various enzymes

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 17 mcg, UL is 300 mcg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 22 mcg, UL is 600 mcg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 34 mcg, UL 1,100 is mcg

Ages 14-18 yearsRDA is 43 mcg, UL is 1,700 mcg

Ages 19+ yearsRDA is 45 mcg, UL is 2,000 mcg

Pregnant and Lactating womenRDA is 50 mcg

Selenium – helpful as an antioxidant

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 20 mcg, UL is 90 mcg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 30 mcg, UL is 150 mcg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 40 mcg, UL is 280 mcg

Ages 14+ yearsRDA is 55 mcg

Ages 19+ yearsUL is 400 mcg

Pregnant women RDA is 60 mcg

Lactating womenRDA is 70 mcg

Zinc – helpful for brain functioning, wound healing, and sperm production

Mild zinc deficiency is thought to be fairly common and zinc supplements may enhance immunity in people who are extremely deficient in the mineral. Excessive amounts can decrease immune function, be detrimental to heart function and limit copper absorption.

Ages 1-3 years RDA is 3 mg, UL is 7 mg

Ages 4-8 yearsRDA is 5 mg, UL is 12 mg

Ages 9-13 yearsRDA is 8 mg, UL is 23 mg

Ages 14-18 yearsRDA is 34 mg

Ages 19+ yearsRDA is 40 mg

Reference Guide for Tested and True Dietary Supplements

Tested and True: Fish Oil

Tested and True: Krill Oil

Tested and True: Multivitamins

Tested and True: Vitamin D

Tested and True: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ-10)

Tested and True: Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Tested and True: Probiotics

Tested and True: Muscle Enhancers – Creatine

Tested and True: Muscle Enhancers – Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Tested and True: Nutrition Bars

Tested and True: Nutrition Drinks & Powders

Tested and True: Weight Loss Accelerators and Appetite Controllers

Tested and True: Mood Booster SAM-e

Tested and True: Mood Booster St. Johns’ Wort

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*reference: Consumer Reports Health

About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is a true health expert. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 18,000 hours of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 20 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his beloved) began writing evidence-based Wellness Newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various small businesses throughout Connecticut.

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