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What "Complete" Multivitamin Means & How To Tell If You Have One

Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
By Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition.
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
Expert review by
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
mbg Vice President of Scientific Affairs
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.
Image by Mosuno / Stocksy
January 16, 2022

Multivitamins are proven to decrease the prevalence of nutrient inadequacies in U.S. adults, making them simple, powerful tools in nutritional supplementation. It can be challenging to tell which multis have the vitamins and minerals you need for addressing nutrient gaps and providing whole-body support, though.*

Hang in there, because you're about to learn everything you need to know about finding a comprehensive multivitamin that delivers all the essential daily micronutrients you need and more. 

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What exactly makes a multivitamin "complete"?

There's no official, regulated definition of what comprises a "complete" multivitamin. Unfortunately, this means any supplement brand can use the word on their packaging, even when their product is—well, very much incomplete. 

During an episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, mbg director of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, advises caution when reading "complete" on supplement labels: "Be aware of that word. Turn over your product, and look—do you see vitamins A, C, E, D, and K? Do you see all eight B vitamins? Do you see macrominerals in there at relevant amounts?" If not, consider the word "complete" to be marketing semantics used to convince customers that they're getting a full, comprehensive array of nutrients. 

The key here is to check the number of micronutrients and dosage—i.e., how potent each ingredient is. A truly well-rounded multivitamin should include 100% of the daily value (DV), or more in some cases, of the majority of essential (i.e., we must consume them daily) vitamins and minerals.

Some exceptions to that rule: bulkier minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium (fyi, it's rare to find this last mineral in typical multi formulas) will likely be closer to 10% DV simply because of their size, which is still a useful amount for a reasonable daily serving (i.e., one to two daily capsules) of a multi.

With so many multivitamins on the shelves, it's shocking to see how many are lacking in the "multi" part. Thankfully, Ferira has some guidelines for what to look for in a full array of essential vitamins and minerals:

  • Water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C and all eight B vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, biotin, folate, B12)
  • Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D3, E, and K1 and K2)
  • Macrominerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, etc.)
  • Trace minerals (iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, selenium, chromium, molybdenum, etc.) 
  • Bonus for more obscure trace minerals (boron, silica), phytonutrients (like carotenoids, resveratrol, piperine, etc.), and bioactives (e.g., glutathione)
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Why our multi formula actually qualifies as "complete."

With a comprehensive lineup of 33 ingredients—including 14 essential vitamins, 13 macro- and microminerals, and six bonus buddy botanicals for longevity—mindbodygreen's ultimate multivitamin+ is as complete as it gets.* In fact, since our multi features go above and beyond with a complete, high-potency B complex with B's in their bioactive forms and botanical antioxidants that support cellular integrity and resilience, we ditched the term "complete" altogether and went with "ultimate" instead (because it really is).*

The best part? All of these incredible nutrients and phytonutrients fit into a two-capsule serving in high-potency quantities! This is a unique feat, since a premium and diverse array of nutrients in a multi typically results in an unpleasant serving size of four, six, or even eight capsules per day. We were intentional about reducing the size of our multi serving, without sacrificing formula quality, to make your routine as simplified as possible. 

The bottom line

Multi means "many," and we believe multivitamins should deliver on their product's promise by providing the fully array of daily essential micronutrients you need in a high-quality, bioavailable supplement.* Our ultimate multivitamin+ formula is high-potency, premium, and definitely complete (and then some)—but don't take our word for it; see what health experts have to say!*

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
Morgan Chamberlain
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor

Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.