What makes a good multivitamin?

  • Tue, 02/07/2023 - 20:44
  • What makes a good multivitamin?
  • by IMI health

A multivitamin is one of 3 staple supplements (probiotics and omega oils being the other two staples) but with so much choice on the market, how can you identify a good one?

In this article we’ll discuss the 5 hallmarks of a great multivitamin, and things to look out for when you’re shopping for the best multivitamins in Hong Kong, whether in person, or online.

Bioavailable nutrients

Though a multivitamin’s label can state it contains 50mg of B12, this won’t be useful unless the B vitamins are in their active, bioavailable form, so that they can be easily absorbed by your body.

Here’s the forms to look out for when you’re looking for a quality multivitamin.

B vitamins

B vitamins must be delivered in their active forms. It’s estimated that one third of the population has an MTHFR mutation, which means they cannot absorb B vitamins unless in their active form. So, taking a multi which contains active Bs ensures you’ll be able to absorb them and reap their benefits.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) is better absorbed than other forms of vitamin D, and offers extra immune benefits.

It’s best when paired with a synergistic nutrient like vitamin K.

Chelated minerals

Chelated minerals are those which have been attached to an amino acid or protein molecules. This helps boost absorption as these molecules are more stable.

Non-chelated minerals can break down, becoming charged particles which are more reactive with other compounds, decreasing the absorption of the nutrient.

Products will usually state either in their product descriptions or ingredients labels if their minerals are chelated.

Powder vs capsule

Powdered multivitamins, though sometimes a pain to mix, are more nutrient dense, and generally, one scoop equates to around 6 capsules of a multi. They’re usually easier to digest and easier absorbed by the gut, as there is no casing between the nutritional content and the lining of your stomach.

Powders are also preferable for increasing compliance in kids, they can be snuck into smoothies, or their favourite foods; transforming supplement time from a chore into a tasty treat or an invisible nutritious extra.

Pollution protection

Pollution and toxins increase oxidative stress, a key factor in the aging of both our skin and organs like our heart and brain.

A key benefit of multivitamins (especially when living in a city like Hong Kong) is antioxidant protection – that’s why it’s essential to find a multi rich in antioxidants and detoxifying nutrients.

Look out for these nutrients, which help boost antioxidant levels:

  • Vitamin E in the form of tocotrienols and tocopherols for best absorption.
  • Antioxidants like resveratrol and quercetin.
  • NAC, which helps the body produce glutathione, ‘the master antioxidant’.
  • Additional detoxifying nutrients like taurine and alpha lipoic acid which work synergistically with NAC.

Hard to find nutrients

It’s hard to obtain certain nutrients from our diet- especially considering that the nutritional content of fresh produce is on the decline due to poor soil quality.

Many of us are deficient in lesser known nutrients like choline or NAC, and finding a multivitamin designed to supplement these more obscure nutrients means you won’t have to buy additional formulas to supplement those needs.

So which nutrients do you need to look for on the label?

  • Choline: key for detox, brain and liver health, also supportive during pregnancy.
  • NAC: helps produce glutathione, ‘the master detoxifier’.
  • Lithium: excellent for brain health and mental wellbeing.
  • Iodine, a common deficiency which can have serious consequences. [1]
  • Nutrients which we don’t get enough of from our diet: vitamin B12 (folate), magnesium, vitamin D, iron, calcium, vitamin A.

Adaptable for the whole family

For your ease, it’s important to find a multivitamin that meets all your needs, and the needs of your family. Some multivitamins are designed to be adaptable for everyone’s needs. These are commonly powders, as doses can be easily adapted for little ones.

It should be noted that if men and women are taking the same multivitamin, the multi should be either iron-free, or contain a very conservative dose. Women lose iron each month during menstruation and around 30% are estimated to be deficient, however it can be dangerous to consume an excess of iron.

Vegan or vegetarian families should opt for a multivitamin which contains iron, as deficiencies are much more common (regardless of whether you’re a man or woman).

Third party tested and verified

When it comes to your multivitamin, quality and purity matters. One way to ensure that your multivitamin is quality is by finding out whether or not it’s been third party tested and verified.

This process ensures that your multivitamin is free from any nasties like pesticides, toxins, pollutants, heavy metals and unnecessary fillers.

It also means that the dosage of each nutrient which is claimed on the label is accurate, testing to ensure that what you’ve paid for is actually what you’re getting.

Without these verification processes, you could be buying something which doesn’t really contain what it claims to, and not reaping the benefits you should be from your multi.

It’s important to note that third party testing comes in many forms: some supplements may be verified as being free from herbicides and pesticides, but not tested to check their nutritional value. Do your research before purchase to be sure.

What do our naturopaths recommend?

Our naturopaths have sourced the best multivitamin formulas from around the world, and compiled them on this website. That way, you don’t have to decipher supplement labels, and can trust that the best multivitamins in Hong Kong are right here.

Top of our list? Our multivitamin of course. 

IMI Clinical Multivitamin Powder features bioactive vitamins and minerals for superior absorption. It's been formulated by IMI naturopaths to aid detox and support organ longevity, protecting your liver, brain and heart as you age.


U Kapil, Health consequences of iodine deficiency, 2007