6 Lesser-Known Bioactives You Should Definitely Have In Your Multi
Much like finding that special someone, choosing the right multivitamin requires care, intention, and consideration of the qualities you value, rather than appearances (e.g., a trendy label or jazzy website).
While plenty of people subscribe to the mentality that any old multi off the shelf will do, the reality is that your multi needs to check a few boxes before you make this relationship exclusive.
Finding the perfect multivitamin.
Research shows that consistent multivitamin use can reduce nutritional inadequacies1 and support brain health. But not just any multi will do the job. The problem? Many multivitamins claim to offer a complete array of essential vitamins and minerals yet miss out on vitally important ingredients.
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, mbg's vice president of scientific affairs, says it best: "Listen, there's no nutrition police out there checking to see if your 'complete' multivitamin is complete in actuality. You have to check yourself."
So, what are the must-haves for a quality multi? Premium ingredients, efficacious doses, a clean label, and, of course, a complete array of essential vitamins and minerals plus some perhaps lesser-known bioactives that can take your multi to the next level.
Let's take a look into the unique ingredients that set this multivitamin apart from any ex-multis you still have lingering in your cupboard:
1. Chelated & marine minerals
When the minerals in your multi are chelated, it means they are molecularly attached to a chelating agent (typically an amino acid, which the body can more easily absorb). As Ferira explains, "Chelation technology is basically making an inorganic compound more organic, and thus, absorbable in your gut. Chelated minerals are considered one of the cream-of-the-crop options."
This superior bioavailability design makes them easier to digest and primed for absorption, meaning you can safely take your multi on an empty stomach without the threat of upsetting your stomach.*
Like chelated minerals, marine-sourced minerals are also an innovative, gentler, and bioavailable form of essential minerals.* To ensure your digestive system has an easier time dealing with a sudden influx of minerals, make sure your supplement contains premium forms of minerals (e.g., chelated or sourced from the ocean).*
2. Algal vegan D3
If you're into health and wellness, you already know how important vitamin D is to whole-body function thanks to its essential role in immune, thyroid, bone, perinatal, musculoskeletal, and gut health, and more.* But when it comes to this vital vitamin, form matters—and the form you're looking for is D3.
Vitamin D3 has superior bioefficacy, bioactivity, and stability compared to D2.* Ferira shares, "In practice, the D3 vs. D2 comparison is silly because D3 is so obviously the winner. It's not even a competition. We have systematic reviews and meta-analyses of many clinical trials demonstrating vitamin D3's superior ability to raise and maintain vitamin D status."
And, as many of us turn to a more plant-based dietary approach or even a vegan lifestyle, nutrient innovations have thankfully stepped up their game to deliver a plant-origin vitamin D3. Algae provides a superb, sustainable source of vitamin D3 that's not only perfect for a multivitamin but also ideal for adhering to a vegan diet.
Carotenoids are a specific type of phytonutrients with potent antioxidant properties. These phytochemicals are also responsible for the red, yellow, and orange pigments that certain plants produce.*
Carotenoids are touted for their ability to combat oxidative stress at the cellular level throughout our body and are particularly beneficial for helping protect our eyes and support visual acuity and performance.*
mbg's ultimate multivitamin+ contains four noteworthy and plant-origin carotenoids from marigold flowers, tomatoes, and more: beta-carotene (aka vitamin A), lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
4. Vitamin K2
Not to be confused with vitamin K1, vitamin K2 is a distinct form of this fat-soluble micronutrient and an often overlooked vitamin that's essential to heart and bone health.*
Found in animal sources as well as vegan-sourced fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, vitamin K2 has the essential job of redirecting calcium2 from soft tissues (like blood vessels) to your bones, where it's needed.* Thus, supplementing with this vitamin can help simultaneously nurture musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health.*
Ferira provides this expert tip: "When vitamin K2 is delivered in a supplement, you'll want to confirm it's provided in the menaquinone 7 (MK-7) form specifically since the clinical research3 indicates it is the most bioavailable and bioactive in the body."*
5. Longevity powerhouses
mbg's ultimate multivitamin+ harnesses the power of six key botanicals that promote antioxidant activity and graceful aging (including some of the carotenoids mentioned earlier!), but resveratrol and glutathione are two longevity powerhouses that really stand out.* A leading duo if you will.
Resveratrol is a phytonutrient that supports everything from cognitive and vascular function to immune health, combats oxidative stress, and bolsters cellular resilience.* Just like adding black pepper to your golden milk boosts the bioavailability of turmeric, piperine (a naturally occurring phytonutrient compound found in black pepper) boosts the absorption of resveratrol—so you better believe this dynamic duo is included in our multi.*
Nicknamed the "master antioxidant," glutathione is an incredibly powerful bioactive that fends off free radicals, modulates oxidative balance, and promotes detoxification, longevity, and whole-body health.* While glutathione is produced in the body endogenously, there are a number of factors that affect our body stores (e.g., age, diet, and lifestyle habits). Luckily, a high-quality supplement with a truly bioavailable glutathione is an effective way to bolster your body's levels and optimize antioxidant activity throughout the body.*
Silica is the third most abundant trace element in the body, but it's not talked about enough. This key mineral helps promote collagen synthesis4, which is essential to musculoskeletal and joint health and, of course, tied to a number of skin and hair benefits.* (I mean, if your multi is already supporting whole-body health, why shouldn't it have some beauty benefits as well?)*
In fact, as Ferira explains, "Since collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body—I'm talking your bones, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, gut, heart, blood vessels, eyes, and yes, skin of course—this collagen "buddy" mineral, silica, also earns a whole-body VIP status."*
And this VIP mineral comes in vegan style in mbg's ultimate multivitamin+ because, as Ferira divulges, "We source our silica from bamboo, the stems and leaves specifically. How cool is that?" (So cool).
The bottom line.
Meeting your nutritional needs isn't a one-night stand. You deserve a multivitamin that treats you like the dream partner—supporting you throughout the different phases of your life and loving you in ways you didn't know you needed. As Ferira puts it, "Don't settle for mediocre gap-filling multivitamins with a smattering of nutrients in whatever form or dose. Aim higher, much higher. This is your daily and lifelong health we're talking about after all."
All of the aforementioned bioactives are in our ultimate multivitamin+, our very own attempt to elevate your daily multi from a suitable wedding date to a potentially lifelong partner. And let's be honest, everyone deserves the best when it comes to giving their body the love and support it needs.
Josey Murray is a freelance writer focused on inclusive wellness, joyful movement, mental health, and the like. A graduate of Wellesley College, where she studied English and Creative Writing, her work appears in Women’s Health, Cook & Culture, and more. By expressing her own vulnerability, she writes with warmth and empathy to help readers find self-compassion and true wellness that’s sustainable for body, mind, and planet.