If you want to perform optimally, meeting your RDI of vitamins and minerals is non-negotiable. Your body relies on a delicate balance of essential nutrients to keep things running smoothly, and when that balance is disputed, it can lead to unwelcome side effects.

And while many people argue a multivitamin isn’t necessary if you’re eating a healthy diet, we tend to disagree—even if you’re eating clean, many factors can interfere with nutrient stores and increase the risk of deficiency.

So, adding a multivitamin into your morning routine can protect you against what seems like everything working against you.

For anyone looking for a clean gelatin-free multi but aren’t sure where to start, this article gives you know you need to know—why you should take a multi, the essentials that should be in your multivitamin, and the best one to take.

Why Should You Take A Multivitamin?

If one supplement is a must in your stack, it’s a multivitamin. A balanced diet is a great starting place for fulfilling nutrient requirements, but it typically doesn’t cover the entire spectrum.

Due to stress, poor sleep, exercise, malabsorption, etc., most people aren’t meeting the RDI of several vitamins and minerals, which means optimal physiological function becomes compromised.

But when you throw a multivitamin into the mix, you ensure that nutritional gaps from the diet are filled with a good supplement. And with a multivitamin, it’s a quick and convenient way to restore levels without having to think about what you could be missing.

While diet contributes significantly to nutrient status, there are several other reasons nutrient deficiencies happen and why having a multi to protect you against them is important.

1. Nutrient Gaps

Not consuming enough of a specific nutrient is one factor involved in low levels, but it can also be about absorption. It’s possible to be consuming ample amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Still, suppose your body doesn’t have what it needs to absorb the nutrients, or factors are interfering with your body’s ability to metabolize and absorb nutrients. In that case, your levels will not be maintained.

That’s why a multivitamin is an excellent addition to your daily routine—especially one enhanced with cofactors to boost absorption. It ensures that your body has what it needs to perform optimally, even if you’re not consuming what you should be.

2. Diet

Linking to nutrient gaps, diet plays a huge role in nutrient status—in two ways. The first is what your diet is made of. If you’re consuming a standard American diet full of processed and refined foods, you’re significantly reducing your intake of nutrients in whole foods.

On the other hand, a plant-based diet may be rich in nutrients, but it still has drawbacks where nutrient status is concerned because of the presence of anti-nutrients.

3. Stress And Exercise

Everyone deals with stress at some point, and small amounts are beneficial for strengthening the body’s immune system and increasing adaptation.

However, chronic stress elevates cortisol levels, and several essential nutrients take a big hit, including magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and B vitamins, along with proteins and fatty acids 1.

Your body requires all these nutrients for proper enzyme activity, energy metabolism, immune function, hormone synthesis, tissue growth and repair, and other biological processes.

Not to mention that activation of the sympathetic nervous system shunts resources away from digestion and interferes with nutrient absorption.

Excessive exercise has much the same effect. We know you’re probably thinking, “but I thought exercise was good for me, how does it cause nutrient deficiencies?” And you’re right.

Exercise is incredibly beneficial for the body, but it places stress on metabolic pathways that depend on thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), and vitamin B6 to function, which increases intake requirements for these nutrients increases 2.

Exercise-depleted nutrient stores result from a few factors:

  • Decreased nutrient absorption
  • Increased nutrient turnover, metabolism, or loss
  • Biochemical adaptations associated with physical activity that depend on specific vitamins and minerals
  • Increased concentrations of nutrient-specific cofactors for mitochondrial enzymes
  • Increased demand for nutrients required for tissue growth and repair

On top of the nutrient we just mentioned, electrolytes are also lost during intense sweating, and the need for antioxidants like vitamin C, E, and glutathione increase because of the rise in the production of free radicals from prolonged high-intensity exercise.

6 Vitamins And Minerals That Must Be In Your Multi

1. Vitamin B12 and folate (B9)

Although vitamin B12 and folate are two different vitamins with their individual roles, they play critical roles in many of the same processes.

As water-soluble vitamins, B12 and folate must be obtained daily, as they’re not stored in the body—and they’re also two of the most common nutrient deficiencies in vegans and vegetarians.

They’re both heavily involved in supporting the nervous system, brain, heart, mood, and energy metabolism. B12 plays an increasingly important role in supporting the nervous system, as it enables normal development and myelination of the nervous system 3. And along with folate, B12 is required for homocysteine metabolism.

Homocysteine is a type of amino acid used to produce proteins. Under normal circumstances, homocysteine is broken down by B12, B6, and folic acid to form less toxic intermediates, but a deficiency of any cofactor interferes with the conversion process and can lead to the accumulation of homocysteine, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease 4.

On top of their role in homocysteine metabolism, B12 and folate are also required to develop red blood cells. Insufficient levels of either lead to vitamin B12 or folate-deficiency anemia, which produces abnormally large red blood cells that cannot function properly 5.

2. Vitamin D

If there’s one essential vitamin that is a serious must in your multi, it’s vitamin D. While classified as a vitamin, the sunshine vitamin functions more like a hormone than anything else.

Nearly every cell in the human body contains a vitamin D receptor (VDR) to which vitamin D binds and elicits its actions; it’s thought that vitamin D directly or indirectly regulates over 2000 genes 6.

Of its role, calcium and phosphate metabolism are perhaps the most well-known, playing an essential role in regulating calcium uptake from the gut to maintain bone health. But it also affects mood, immune function, cognition, and more.

3. Zinc

Zinc is one of the mightiest minerals around. It’s the second most abundant trace mineral in the body and is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being.

One of its primary roles is in immune function. It supports immune cells and functions as a potent antioxidant to increase concentrations of free radical-scavenging compounds like catalase, glutathione, and heme-oxygenase 7.

It also offers neuroprotective properties, boosts mood, supports DNA and collagen synthesis, and plays a role in male and female fertility 8, 9.

4. Iron

If you’re not a meat-eater, chances are you could be falling short for iron. While there are many iron-rich plant foods, non-heme iron, concentrated in plants, is not as bioavailable or well-absorbed by the body, which means levels in vegans and vegetarians are typically lower than in meat-eaters. Iron plays many vital roles, but it is most notable in hematopoiesis or red blood cell production.

Iron is required to form the ‘heme’ component of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. Depleting iron stores can result in iron-deficiency anemia, whereby the body doesn’t produce enough healthy red blood cells, which interferes with tissue oxygenation 10.

5. Vitamin K2

K2 is a big underdog when it comes to vitamins, and it’s one that most people skip over—but they shouldn’t. It’s primarily known for its role in hemostasis (blood clotting) because it’s a cofactor for an enzyme required for proteins involved in the blood clotting cascade, but it also plays a crucial role in bone metabolism 11.

Osteocalcin is another vitamin K-dependent protein found in high concentrations in bone tissue and supports bone mineralization and turnover 12. Because of its involvement in bone metabolism, you’ll often see it paired with vitamin D to form a power duo.

The Best Gelatin-Free Multivitamin: Performance Lab Nutrigenesis Multi

Wondering where you can find all these superstars? Wonder no more. They’re all packed into one of the cleanest and most innovative multivitamins on the market. NutriGenesis Multi is a revolutionary multivitamin designed to elevate your health.

This vegan-friendly, gelatin-free multivitamin unlocks the full potential and benefits of vitamins and minerals using a unique form specific to Performance Lab—NutriGenesis.

NutriGenesis vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are lab-grown using a patented process that mirrors natural nutrient genesis. Because they match what you’d naturally find in foods, they’re significantly more bioavailable and recognizable, which translates to greater utilization and benefits.

In each serving, you’ll find more than 100% RDI for 17+ essential vitamins and minerals tailored for men and women to support healthy cell performance across all body systems.

Get the best Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi deals here

References

  1. Akande KE, Doma UD, Agu HO, Adamu HM. Major Antinutrients Found in Plant Protein Sources: Their Effect on Nutrition. Pak J Nutr. 2010; 9(8): 827-832.
  2. Manore MM. Effect of physical activity on thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamin B-6 requirements. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72(2 Suppl):598S-606S.
  3. Stabler SP. Vitamin B12 deficiency.N Engl J Med. 2013;368(21):2041-2042.
  4. Selhub J. Homocysteine metabolism. Annu Rev Nutr. 1999;19:217-246.
  5. Koury MJ, Ponka P. New insights into erythropoiesis: the roles of folate, vitamin B12, and iron. Annu Rev Nutr. 2004;24:105-131.
  6. Hossein-nezhad A, Holick MF. Vitamin D for health: a global perspective. Mayo Clin Proc. 2013;88(7):720-755.
  7. Jarosz M, Olbert M, Wyszogrodzka G, Młyniec K, Librowski T. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of zinc. Zinc-dependent NF-κB signaling. Inflammopharmacology. 2017;25(1):11-24.
  8. Cope EC, Levenson CW. Role of zinc in the development and treatment of mood disorders. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010;13(6):685-689.
  9. Prasad AS, Mantzoros CS, Beck FW, Hess JW, Brewer GJ. Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition. 1996;12(5):344-348.
  10. Lopez A, Cacoub P, Macdougall IC, Peyrin-Biroulet L. Iron deficiency anaemia. Lancet. 2016;387(10021):907-916.
  11. Vermeer C. Vitamin K: the effect on health beyond coagulation - an overview. Food Nutr Res. 2012;56:10.3402/fnr.v56i0.5329.
  12. Rodríguez-Olleros Rodríguez C, Díaz Curiel M. Vitamin K and Bone Health: A Review on the Effects of Vitamin K Deficiency and Supplementation and the Effect of Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants on Different Bone Parameters. J Osteoporos. 2019;2019:2069176.