Which multivitamin is best for you?
our spreadsheet will help you choose
The marketplace offers dozens of multivitamin brands. If you are wondering which one is best for you, you will love this spreadsheet. It contains a comprehensive analysis of multi-vitamins. Comprehensive: we looked at every multivitamin product we could find (45 total) and compiled the quantities of 167 possible ingredients1 contained in each product.
too much information? here is the winner and summary.
The highest scoring multivitamin--the winner--is
Elite Complete by Elite Nutrition Concepts with a total score of 277,835.
Reasons why it won: It has optimal quantities (neither too little nor too much) of essential ingredients. It has lots of ingredients--44 active ingredients in total, and generously contributes to your health. Third, compared to their competition, they are a good value for your money—Elite Complete is $0.67 per serving. Fourth, we like that it is in six-tablet formula. This means the ingredients are released at more constant levels during a 24-hour period as compared to a time release multivitamin calling for one tablet per day.
Shopping online, we found the 180 capsule bottle of
Elite Complete for $19.99. But even online, prices can be as much as double that. And if you buy in a physical store, expect to pay up to three times more.
customize the spreadsheet for your unique supplementation needs!
Many people have unique health needs and differing opinions about the value of certain ingredients in a multivitamin. And so, you would weigh the value of those ingredients differently. If you want to edit the values in this spreadsheet, we will send you an unlocked version for $10. Pay Paypal account paypal (at) espritus (dot) net and we will send you the editable Excel spreadsheet within 24 hours.
spreadsheet instructions and details
Look at the total at the bottom of the spreadsheet. It is an indexed number--higher is better.
a scoring system with powerful, "smart" features
We assigned a relative value to each ingredient, then totaled how much value each multivitamin packs in. Next, "Score/qty. adjust." in column F is set to produce a standard score of 10,000 for an optimum quantity of a given ingredient. Examples:
- A product with less than an optimal quantity of an important vitamin might have a score of 1000.
- A product with more than an optimal quantity of an unimportant vitamin might have a score of 1000.
- A product with more than an optimal quantity of an important vitamin, for which more is better, might have a score of 20,000.
- Finally, taking a huge amount of an ingredient will not make you superhuman. Yet, some products contain huge amounts of an ingredient. We had to build this consideration into the formula. So specifically, the score for a product with more than an optimal quantity of an important ingredient, for which more is not significantly better, has a score which increases less for quantities above a certain level.
When setting the very important "Score/qty. adjust." in column F, we judged the relative value of an ingredient. When making such a judgment, the issue comes up about the purpose of a multivitamin product—why do you take it? We think most people take a multivitamin to provide an ingredient which is beneficial but difficult to obtain enough through diet. A good example is calcium if you do not like or cannot use milk products. But, what about ingredients which are readily available in foods, and just do not compare in value to an ingredient such as calcium? In that case, we set the "Score/qty. adjust." to a relatively lower value.
We built into the formulas a conditional penalty for products which contain an ingredient which at a lower quantity is beneficial, but at the quantity in the product, becomes detrimental to health. Examples: doses greater than 10,000 IU of Vitamin A from palmitate AND acetate (not including beta carotene which is safe and more beneficial anyway), or 50mcg of B12.
enzyme measurement incompetence
An enzyme2 is a special substance that acts on another substance. Enzymes cannot accurately be measured by weight, only by activity. Ask any chemist or pharmacist: measuring an enzyme by weight is stupid, bad business and unethical. Unfortunately, some manufacturers list the enzymes in their multivitamin product in milligrams (mg). In such case, we gave no score for that ingredient in a product.
other features of the spreadsheet
Cells highlighted in red indicate something in the product which we think is bad. Examples: Echinacea and Golden Seal are effective immune system boosters. But similar to an antibiotic, they should be taken only when needed, not on an ongoing basis. Licorice and Yohimbe raise heart rate and should be taken only when needed. Daily intake of licorice for more than a month has been linked to lower testosterone levels in men.
In column E when applicable we noted the maximum safe intake or alternate recommended intake for an ingredient. Maximum safe level: Often the US government is slow to recognize the benefit of an ingredient. So, in column E we took into consideration information from other sources such as publications and recent clinical studies.
Regarding products in column BT and to the right: we did not format for a total score for these products because were clearly inferior in value (too expensive for a small benefit, i.e., other multivitamins contain all the same plus additional ingredients for a lower cost).
We input comments in many cells on the spreadsheet to note the formulation or source of a particular ingredient IF different from that in column B. The presence of a comment is indicated by a red triangle. We noted things such as the source or formulation of an ingredient. Some manufacturers have multiple sources for an ingredient, and do not specify the percentage from each source. This is significant with Vitamin A, for example, because taking too much Vitamin A from sources other than beta carotene can be toxic.
1We use the term "ingredient" here to mean vitamins, minerals, herbs and other substances.
2When a substance ends in "-ase", lipase for example, it is an enzyme. But, others such as papain have enzymatic activity, as well. Some enzymes have been shown to have health benefits.
|All material provided on the ChampHealth.com Web site is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a physician regarding the applicability of our opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.
Which to choose? It's a bewildering question unless you have ChampHealth's information
To see if a certain multivitamin brand or ingredient is included in our spreadsheet, simply look in the upper left-hand corner of this page you are reading. In the menu bar, click on Edit. Move your mouse to Find and click. Now search this page for the term you seek.
List of the 45 multivitamin brands scored
Max For Men Time Release, Added protection III without copper/iron, Basic Preventive 4, My Favorite Multiple without Iron, Time Release Ultra Vita MAN, Especially For Men, From The Earth No Iron, Life Force (Iron Free), More Than A Multi Iron Free, Maximum (no iron), One Daily W/Lutein No Iron, Just Once (iron free/hypoallergenic), Source Of Life no iron, One Daily, Ultra Vita-Min Iron Free, Formula Vm-75 Iron Free, Time Release Mega Vita-Min, SenturyVite Mature, OneSource Mature, Made For Men Multi, Iron-Free Multiple, Easy to Swallow Multi, Daily Two Multi iron free, One Every Day No Iron, Spectro Iron-Free, Life Essentials Multi, Omnium Iron Free, Nutri-100, Mega Antioxidant, ULTRA-ONE (iron free), Multi-Vi-Min no Cu & Fe, One Daily without Iron, Daily One without Iron, Daily Two without Iron, Hypomultiple, Iron Free Daily Total One, VITABALL, Timed-Release Mega Men
List of the 167 ingredients included in the analysis
Vitamin A (palmitate water dispersible); A (beta carotene); A (acetate); Acerola Juice Powder Extract; Aloe vera; Alpha Carotene; Alpha Lipoic Acid; alfalfa juice; Amylase (measured by DU); Amylase (measured by mg); apple pectin; B1 (thiamin HCI); B12 (cobalamin); B12 (dibencozide); B2 (riboflavin); B2 (riboflavin 5' phosphate); B6 (pyridoxine HCI); B6 (pyridoxine 5' phosphate); barley grass juice concentrate; Bee Pollen; Bee Propolis Powder; Betaine HCI; Bilberry Extract (Anthocyanins, Vaccinium myrtillus fruit); Biotin; Black currant seed oil; Borage Oil; boron (gluconate); boron (citrate); Broccoli Concentrate Complex Extract; Bromelain (measured in PU); Bromelain (measured in mg); C (ascorbic acid); Calcium (carbonate); Calcium D-Glucarate; Carrot & yam concentrate; carotenoids; Capsicum (cayenne); Cellulase; Chlorella (Chlorella Pyrenodiosa); Choline (Bitartrate); Chloride (as potassium chloride); Chromium; Citrus Bioflavinoids; Citrus Complex (Lemon, Lime, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Orange); Co-Carboxylase; Coenzyme Q-10; Copper (Gluconate); Copper (citrate); Cryptoxanthin; Curcumin Extract; D3 (cholelcalciferol); D (ergocalciferol); Daminia Leaf; Diastase; Dilaurylthiodipropionate; Dibencozide; D-Limonene; DMAE; DNA; E (d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate); Echinacea/Golden Seal (Echinacosides) (Echinacea angustifolia root)/(Hydrastis canadensis root); Eriocitrin; Eleuthero Extract; Folic Acid; Fo-ti-tieng; garlic oil; Garlic Complex (Extract, Macerate, Allium sativum bulb); Garlic Powder (Allium sativum bulb); Ginger Extract; ginkgo biloba; Ginseng (Korean); GLA (gamma-linoleic acid); Glutamic Acid; Glutathione; Golden Seal Root (Hydrastis canadensis); Gota kola; Grape Seed Extract; Grape Skin Extract; Hawthorn Berry; Hesperiden Complex (fruit); Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense); Ho Shou Wu; Inositol; Iodine (as kelp); K (phytonadione); Kola nut; Labiatae Plants Extract; Lactase; Lactobacillus Acidophilus; L-Carnitine (as l-carnitine tartrate); L-Cystein (as l-cysteine HCl); Lecithin; Licorice Extract (Glycyrrhizin glabra root); Lipase (measured by LU); Lipase (measured by mg); Liver extract; L-Glutathione; L-Methionine; L-Tyrosine; Lutein; Lycopene; Lysine; Magnesium (Oxide); Manganese (Sulfate); Manganese (citrate); Milk Thistle Extract; Molybdenum (Amino Acid Chelate); MSM; Muira-puama; MultiEnzyme Blend; Mushroom Complex (Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake); Nettles Leaf; N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine; Niacin, B3 (Niacinimide); Nickel (sulfate); Oatstraw; Octacosanol; Olive oil extract; Omega 3 and Omega 6 Lipids; Orchid Extract; Ox bile; Oyster Extract; PABA (Para Aminobenzoic Acid); panceratin 4x; Pantothenic Acid (B5) (as Calcium Pantothenate); Papain; papaya; Pepper Fruit Extract; Pepsin; Phosphatidylcholine; Phosphatidylserine (PS) Complex; Phospholipid factor; Phosphorus (as Dicalcium Phosphate); Phytase; Piperine (from black pepper); Polyphenol Complex (Red Wine Concentrate, Green Tea Extract); Potassium (Chloride); Proanthocyanidins; Propolis 2x; Prostate Glandular; protease; Pumpkin Seed; Pycnogenol® Pine Bark Extract (Pinus maritima); Pygeum; quercetin; Raspberry Leaf Extract; RNA; Rose Hips; Royal Jelly; Rutin (fruit); Sasparilla; Saw Palmetto; Selenium (Selenomthionine); Silica; Silicon; Soy Isoflavone Extract; Spriulina; Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD); Taurine; Tocotrienol Complex; Tomato Extract 10:1; Turmeric Extract; Vanadium; Vegetable Complex (Broccoli, Celery, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Yams, Kale, Carrots, Collard Greens, Spinach); Wheat Grass/Barley Grass (Chlorophyllins); White willow; Wild yam; Yohimbe bark extract complex; Zeaxanthin; Zinc (Sulfate)