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  • Writer's pictureJulia Smila

Something you do not know about Multivitamins

Updated: Jun 24

In today’s world it is impossible to obtain all necessary nutrients from food alone. Even when you eat healthily, there is still a high risk of getting suboptimal amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients.

Some ppl may claim that a healthy diet is sufficient to get all the nutrients, but I disagree. I believe that Supplementation is an important pillar for Health Optimization and Wellness. But you should take a sufficient dose of high-quality supplements in the right combination.

My opinion - good Multivitamins do not exist. There are various problems with Multivitamin supplements. Most of them contain insufficient doses of vitamins and minerals, often contain the wrong forms of vitamins and minerals and in the wrong combination.

So do I still recommend Multivitamins? Yes, I do. The solution is to take on the top of your multivitamin specific “bulk ingredients” and specific foods that are high in specific nutrients.

As for Multivitamins I use Rootine. It is the best solution that I’ve found for myself and requested to formulate it for me with the higher dosage of microelements than they usually recommend, or their blood test results suggest. I actually do not rely on blood tests results recommendations in terms of vitamins and mineral.

I tell you a secret - Blood tests are bad at tracking down deficiencies of vitamins and of various minerals, don’t over-rely on them. It is often the case that ppl can be deficient in Magnesium, Vitamin B12, Iodine, Calcium and other minerals and vitamins, while still having “normal” levels of these according to the blood test. So finding no deficiency does not mean everything is ok. Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals in the long term can significantly undermine your health.

There are some exceptions, like vitamin D levels. Deficiencies of vitamin D can be tracked relatively accurately with a blood test. But then there is another problem: the cut-off values most labs use are too low.

So what problems do I see with all Multivitamin supplements, including my Rootine formulated for me personally?

  • Vitamin D is often found in the range of 200 to 400 units in multivitamins, while you would need at least 4000 units per day. I’ve got 100 mcg of Vitamin D daily in my Rootine, which is 4000 IU. In the case with Vitamin D, I rely on my blood test, as I wrote before - deficiencies of vitamin D can be tracked relatively accurately with a blood test.

  • Magnesium. Usually Multivitamins contain around 80 mg of Magnesium, while an optimal dose is 400 to 500 mg of magnesium per day. When I requested formulation of my Rootine Supplements, I asked to add the heist allowed dosage of Magnesium and I’ve got 350 mg of Magnesium in my daily sachet. (This is the highest which is legally allowed, I guess).

Another problem with Magnesium is its form. In most cases, supplements contain magnesium oxide, while ideally you would take magnesium malate. Magnesium malate is better absorbed, causes less gastrointestinal irritation (since magnesium oxide is used as a laxative) and malate has been shown to extend lifespan. Magnesium malate combines magnesium and malic acid to help boost blood sugar control, mood, and exercise performance while reducing chronic pain. That is why I prefer to add in my supplement protocol Novos Core which contains 1700 mg of Magnesium Malate.

Novos is the most advanced longevity supplement I know. You can get 6 month and 12 month subscriptions (15% and 27% off respectively) by Link, and get additional $5 off by promo code SMILA.

If you take NOVOS Core, you don’t have to take extra magnesium, given NOVOS Core already contains 2,000 mg of magnesium malate.

If you do not take NOVOS Core, here is another good example: SeekingHealth Magnesium Malate powder, 2 x 1,000 mg of magnesium malate (1,000 mg of magnesium malate contains 150 mg of magnesium) per day, after breakfast and before bedtime.

  • Calcium. Multivitamins contain 50 mg of calcium, while you need around 1000 mg of calcium per day. Calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones and ensuring the proper functioning of the heart, muscles, and nerves; it may also protect against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Better take 2 x 500 mg, one tablet in the afternoon and one tablet before bedtime, calcium can also have a calming effect. Do not take more than 1,000 mg in one go, as this can lead to too high of a calcium peak in the blood, which could accelerate calcification of the arteries. Take a maximum of 500 mg of calcium at one time.

Do not take calcium together with iron, as they inhibit each other’s absorption.

Combine calcium with vitamin D and vitamin K, vitamin D improves the absorption of calcium while vitamin K enables calcium to enter into the bones and not into the blood vessel walls.

I get 500 mg of Calcium in my Rootine sachet, and add Nature's Bounty, Calcium, 500 mg in the evening.

  • Vitamin K2. As I already mentioned, when you take calcium and vitamin D, it’s always important to combine these supplements with vitamin K2.

Vitamin K2 has been shown to improve bone strength and health. For example, women who took vitamin K supplements had an 81 percent less risk of bone fractures. It’s important to take sufficiently high-dosed amounts of vitamin K, between 180 and 360 ug per day. Ideally, take vitamin K2, not vitamin K1.

You can also consume natto, which contains a lot of vitamin K. Studies demonstrated that women who eat natto regularly have less bone loss.

I take Life Extension, Super K -1 softgel per day, after an (ideally fatty) meal.

  • Vitamin A helps to support and maintain optimal health of the immune system, eyes, and reproductive system.

Take the animal form of vitamin A (retinoids, e.g., retinol palmitate) and not the plant-based form (carotenoids) as supplements. Not all carotenoids are converted properly into retinoids.

Always combine a vitamin A supplement with a vitamin D supplement.

Don’t take high doses of vitamin A (more than 10,000 units per day, given this can, for example, interfere with vitamin D metabolism).

I have not got Vitamin A in multivitamins, so I take retinol palmitate at 1 x 2,500 units per day, after breakfast. Good brand is Solgar Dry Vitamin A 5000 IU, half a tablet per day.

  • Vitamin E. Almost all multivitamins contain only alpha-tocopherol, while in nature there are 8 different forms of vitamin E (beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, alpha-tocotrienol, beta-tocotrienol, and so on). Most supplements do not contain these other forms.

The best source of Vitamin E is Almonds. Just 2 ounces of almonds contain 100% of the daily value for vitamin E – the highest amount found in one serving of any tree nut. I eat almonds almost every day :)

  • Selenium is often found in the form of selenium methionine in supplements, which is not an ideal form of selenium.

The best source of Selenium is 1-2 Brazil nuts per day. Brazil nuts contain very high levels of different forms of selenium, which are more active or better absorbed. It is easy to eat 1-2 Brazil nuts per day, they are tasty.

  • Iodine. Regularly recommended doses of iodine - 150 ug per day often have little to no effect. When people start to take higher doses - 1,000 ug per day, they start to feel much better (e.g. improved thinking, warm feet and hands, better sleep). It’s important that the supplements contain both iodine and iodide.

But it is really important to start with around 100-150 ug/day as the official recommended dose, and double the dose every 2 weeks until you reach 1,000 ug per day.

People who have thyroid problems or who are at risk should be extra careful and discuss with a health professional experienced in thyroid disorders, supplements, and preventive medicine. Given many people are (mildly) iodine-deficient, a sudden increase of iodine will make the thyroid gland work harder; producing free radicals that can damage the thyroid tissue. So always take with iodine the following supplements that protect against free radical damage: Vitamin C, Selenium, Vitamin E - 3 daily handfuls of almonds, hazelnuts, and/or sunflower seeds.

I take Life-flo, Liquid Iodine Plus, With Potassium Iodide & Iodine, Unflavored, 2 fl oz (59 ml), I started with 3 droplets (150 ug) per day and gradually increased.

  • Vitamin C is also too low in Multivitamins. I’ve got only 88 mg in my Rootine. Sufficient dose is 2 x 400 – 500 mg per day, after breakfast and after dinner. Vitamin C induces autophagy, improves the epigenome, can improve mitochondrial function, and positively impacts aging. It is one of the key ingredients in NOVOS Core.

If I do not refill my NOVOS supplements, I take 21st Century Vitamin C, 500 mg, 2 tablets per day, after breakfast and after dinner.

  • B vitamin complex - key for converting food into energy (metabolism), creating new blood cells, and maintaining healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues. The vitamin B complex should contain at least vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (B11 or folic acid), and B12. All these B vitamins work synergistically.

Don’t take more than 20-25 mg of vitamin B6 per day — too much vitamin B6 can lead to nerve damage in the long term. Take it in the morning or at noon, not in the evening, as B vitamins can provide energy.

I did not see a good B vitamin complex in Multivitamins, like Thorne Stress B-Complex, you can do your research.

  • Zinc and Copper

Zinc aids immune system and metabolism function, reduces inflammation, and reduces the risk of age-related diseases.

I get 25 mg of Zinc daily in my Rootine sachet which is sufficient. Don’t take more than 25 mg per day of zinc via supplements. Too much zinc can also be unhealthy. The exact form of zinc is not important (e.g., zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, and zinc glycinate are all OK).

Copper. A mineral found throughout the body, copper aids with red blood cell formation and healthy functioning of the immune system and nerve cells.

Sufficient dose of Copper is 2-3 mg per day, and I also get it in my Rootine sachet. Don’t take more than 4 mg of copper per day via supplements. Too much copper can be unhealthy.

If we talk about usual Multivitamins, Zinc and Copper together wrong combinations. Zinc inhibits the absorption of copper. However, Rootine sachet includes both - Zinc and Copper, and it is okay. Their microbeads are designed with a slow release in the GI tract over 8+ hours so the competitive inhibition is not a problem like it is with a powder/liquid being released into the GI tract all at once and overwhelming receptors.

If your Multivitamin is not by Rootine, it is better to take Zinc and Copper separate - Zinc in the morning and Copper in the evening.

  • Iron is key for red blood cell formation, 15 mg per day, after dinner should be enough.

But note that certain people, such as pregnant women or those with certain medical conditions, may be prone to low iron levels, making supplementation even more important.

Never take iron with calcium tablets; they inhibit each other’s uptake. For example, take iron in the morning and calcium in the afternoon or evening.

Don’t take too much iron; this can be unhealthy (causing too much oxidative damage). So take a maximum of 45 mg per day of iron to be on the safe side and divide over different doses (do not take 45 mg at once).

It takes at least 3 to 6 months to feel a difference (e.g., more energy) when supplementing with iron.

Sometimes blood tests can be normal (normal ferritin, transferrin, red blood cell width values) but one still can be (mildly) iron-deficient.

Ideally, take iron glycinate (this form is also more gentle on the stomach). For example Holland & Barrett Iron 15 mg.

Other important Microelements which I take according to the officially recommended dose:

  • Manganese (Mn) is a cofactor for many enzymes, including manganese superoxide dismutase, arginase, and pyruvate carboxylase. Through the action of these enzymes, manganese is involved in amino acid, cholesterol, glucose, and carbohydrate metabolism; reactive oxygen species scavenging; bone formation; reproduction; and immune response. Manganese also plays a role in blood clotting and hemostasis in conjunction with vitamin K.

  • Chromium (Cr ), enhances the action of the hormone insulin. It is also involved in the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrate, proteins, and fats. Vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin C help to improve the absorption of chromium.

  • Vanadium (V), Several animal studies and a few small human studies suggest that vanadium may lower blood sugar levels and improve sensitivity to insulin in people with type 2 diabetes. In one study of people with type 2 diabetes, vanadium also lowered total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

As you can andestand from the explained above, one more problem with Multivitamins - they are Incomplete. Even though multivitamins are meant to be complete, many of them do not include other important substances: Coenzyme Q10, Phosphatidylcholine, Choline, Omega-3 Phospholipids.

  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as "ubiquinone" is an antioxidant molecule found in nearly every cell in the body that aids in energy production and helps prevent cell damage. CoQ10 levels naturally decline with age, but can be increased through supplements and foods such as fatty fish, organ meats, nuts, and poultry.

My recommended dosage is 100 mg of CoQ10 each day. I've got this recommendation from InsideTracker which is based on my blood test. InsideTracker has their own range which is not based on the average population of not healthy ppl.

The link between blood sugar and CoQ10 has been seen in observational studies where people who had higher blood sugar levels or diabetes tended to also have lower CoQ10 levels than healthy participants. Controlled trials found that CoQ10 supplementation resulted in lower glucose and hemoglobin A1c.

I take it at mealtimes or with a fat-containing snack since CoQ10 can only be absorbed by the body when consumed with a fat source. Some individuals have also reported trouble sleeping after taking CoQ10, so it is best to take your supplement in the morning.

My Rootine Multivitamin includes CoQ10 unlike other Multivitamins, I’ve got 130 mg in my daily sachet.

If you do not have Rootine, another example of good quality CoQ10: Natural Factors, Coenzyme Q10, 100 mg, 60 Softgels, one per day.

  • Phosphatidylcholine is used to make a key neurotransmitter that contributes to memory; may help to reduce fat deposits, alleviate ulcerative colitis symptoms, and support metabolic health.

Sufficient dose is three times 420 mg per day or twice 840 mg per day, after breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner, or before bedtime.

Ideally, combine phosphatidylcholine with phosphatidylserine (1 to 3 times 100 mg per day, e.g. this brand); the latter is also important for better brain function.

In some people, phosphatidylserine can lead to reduced sleep, so take it in the morning or try a lower dose.

I take Natural Factors, Phosphatidylcholine (PC), 420 mg, only 2 capsules per day (2 x 420 mg), one after breakfast, one after dinner. I just feel it is enough for me. You always should listen to your body!

  • Choline is essential for brain and nervous system functioning, playing a role in memory, mood, muscle control, and other functions. It’s also essential for forming the membranes around your body’s cells.

Ideally, choline chloride (since choline bitartrate can sometimes make people too tired): 1 or 2 x 250 mg, in the morning and before bedtime.

Choline is very important for epigenetic maintenance, DNA stability, brain health, and metabolic health. However, high doses could (depending on your gut microbiome) lead to the production of TMAO, a metabolite created by bacteria in the gut that could contribute to atherosclerosis. Studies looking into choline intake and the risk of heart disease are contradictory nonetheless.

Choline is very important for health; a deficiency in choline can increase the risk of fatty liver disease (R), DNA breaks (R), reduced brain health (R), and so on.

If you are doubtful, you can take only phosphatidylcholine and not choline: phosphatidylcholine supplements have not been shown to increase the production of TMAO (R). Or you can take half of the amount of choline (around 250 mg per day), with around 1,200 to 1,600 mg of phosphatidylcholine per day on top of that.

I take California Gold Nutrition, Choline Silica Complex, 10 drops only once per day (1 x 250 mg), not twice. And sometimes I skip it.

  • Omega-3 Phospholipids is the last in my list here, but really it is essential. Omega-3 fatty acids may protect against certain diseases and conditions such as cancer and heart disease and help control conditions such as lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Make sure you take at least 1,200 mg of DHA + EPA per day, after breakfast, lunch, or dinner; low doses have little effect.

Buy high-end omega-3 supplements of which the omega-3 is not too oxidized (low TOTOX value). Most supplements contain highly oxidized omega-3s.

I like Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Phospholipids, 500 mg Omega-3, and 350 phospholipids.

Additionally in my Rootine Multivitamin I’ve got:

  • Alpha lipoic acid 195 mg

  • MSM 146 mg

  • Phytosterol 187 mg

At the end let's talk for a moment about Melatonin. Many health coaches suggest Melatonin often. Also in some studies Melatonin has been shown to increase lifespan. But I don't really like it, I use it rarely. And I do not suggest taking it if you have not tested your all hormones level, it can mess with your hormones.

The last I would like to mention regarding Multivitamins and all Supplements, make sure you get high-quality, high-bioavailable supplements which do not include chemicals or other artificial ingredients.

Sending Optimal Health & Ultimate Wellness -

Julia Smila, FDN-Practitioner

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