How to Select a Multivitamin

By Dr. Nicole Cain, N (MD), MA

Between the 18th and 19th century, agricultural development in the United States skyrocketed. Since that time, farming became less labor intensive, machines took the place of livestock and workers, and the number of farms tripled. Next came the development and commercial sale of genetically modified grains, vegetables, fruits and livestock. While farmers are producing 2-to-3 times as much food, the nutrient density of foods has plummeted. Part of this is a direct effect of genetic modification, another part is due to food processing, but the biggest culprit is soil depletion.

A 2015 study published by Ronald Amundson and his team out of University of California-Berkeley examined the number of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in our food sources, and he stated: “Ever since humans developed agriculture, we’ve been transforming the planet and throwing the soil’s nutrient cycle out of balance.”

Why We Need Vitamins

The amount of nutrients in our soil today is nowhere close to where it was when our grandparents were children. In fact, it has been said that in order to achieve the nutrient benefit from a bowl of spinach equivalent to the 1950s, one would have to consume over 50 bowls of spinach today.

This is the reason that we need a multivitamin; we are simply no longer able to get all the nutrients we need from our foods. Eating organic, fresh, whole foods is a good place to start, but if you really want to give your body all of the vital nutrients it needs, you need to take a physician-grade multivitamin.

How do you choose?

There are three main things you need to be aware of when selecting your vitamin.

The Forms of the Nutrients

Not all forms are created equal. For example, there are different types of vitamin B12. Cyanocobalamin is the cheap form that is chemically made in a lab.

This form is difficult, if not impossible, for our bodies to absorb and process. Avoid vitamins that have cyanocobalamin. Instead, you want a vitamin that contains methylcobalamin. This is the best form and is easiest for your body to process.

The Dosage of the Nutrients

Just as a small bottle of water will not help a tree during a drought, teeny tiny doses of vitamins will not do your body much good. For, example, you want to make sure that your vitamin has at least the recommended daily amount, but those numbers are based on old agricultural data. Its recommend you learn more about what is called a therapeutic dose.

No-No Ingredients

Watch out for chemicals in your vitamins. These are often found in cheap brands and can be harmful.

Congratulations on getting started on your journey toward health and wellness! As always, talk to your medically-trained doctor to learn more about how to optimize your health and wellness.


Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA is a Naturopathic Doctor. Connect with her here: DrNicoleCain.com. She owns Health For Life Grand Rapids, a group of licensed counselors and doctors who utilize a holistic approach to healing.


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