The bottle says 100% for all the major vitamins, that’s all you need, right? The commercials tell you that their “one-a-day” is all you need, and they wouldn’t tell you a tale, would they? What do you think? If I didn’t know better, I would think that 100% is right and that a one-a-day is all I need. But like I said, I know better. And now you will, too.

The truth about multivitamins

– 100%

There’s nothing better than 100%, or at least that’s what we are told. And in most of the case, that’s exactly what you should believe, however there is a little something about 100% that you should know, it’s not always enough. When you are looking at the nutritional content on the side of a multivitamin bottle you need to know that the percentages are those that have be predicated by the Food and Drug Administration for the amount that you should consume in a day.

Or more accurately, the amount that your body needs in a day to maintain proper physiological function. The problem is that the amount that you consume and the amount that your body gets are two different numbers. Your body can only absorb so many nutrients at one time. You body will usually break down anything that is digested in 30 to two hours.


In that time it is being acted upon by digestive enzymes that eat away at the vitamins and minerals leaving less and less behind to be absorbed into the blood. Vitamins such as B-Complex can be taken in much higher doses (into the 1000%s). And as such, don’t get scared if your urine turns a neon-green, that’s just the excess B vitamins flushing out of your system.

– One-a-day

Now that we have seen that 100% isn’t always enough, we can get into the myth behind the one-a-day. If you were able to absorb all the vitamins provided by these vitamins, you would be doing fine, but you can’t. The combination of internal digestion as well as the fast overall digestion rate means that your body either doesn’t get enough or can’t absorb the vitamins fast enough before they are flushed out of your body.

Many of the most popular store-bought multivitamins digest in about 60 minutes. I’m sure that you’ve never needed to think about it, but do you think that your body can absorb all of its daily vitamins in 60 minutes? Not even close. Suddenly these one-a-days aren’t exactly living up to the standards that they have set for themselves.

– What to look for

First of all, we are all different. Different people have different needs based on gender, age and level of activity. But there is one constant that you should look for: Time-Released Vitamins. Vitamins of this nature will dissolve much slower in your body, allowing a much greater uptake of vitamins into your system.

Most of these vitamins also have higher overall percentages of you daily vitamin needs to ensure that you are getting the most from your money. And many are to be taken twice a day (morning and night preferably) to make sure that your body can get as much as possible at key times. DO NOT take both at once, you will get too much at one time and just pass it out.


If you can’t find time-released vitamins, go for ones in a gel-cap. They will not be broken down as easily in the stomach and will have better uptake in your lower intestine.

And while some may have a great deal of a particular vitamin other vitamins may be in much smaller reserve. This can largely be due to the nature of the vitamin itself. If a vitamin is fat-soluble, it doesn’t flush out of the body and can be absorbed to excess (too much Vitamin A can lead to brain tumor like symptoms) and high levels of these vitamins can be toxic.

Also, depending on the producer, you will get a wide variety of options to choose from: men’s, women’s (also with no iron and no iodine for post-menopausal women), vegetarian, high-dosage, etc. We are all different and have different needs. Not all of us are built the same, and as such, your multi-vitamin should be built to fit your needs.

So what?

Well, the bottom line is that without a proper balance of vitamins and minerals (which is very difficult if not impossible without a well balanced diet) can lead to any number of physical maladies, perhaps most immediately concerning is a low metabolic rate. Taking just two pills a day can mean the difference between what you have and what you have always wanted.

Recommended: GNC Brand Men and Women’s Ultra Mega Time Released Vitamins (90 or 180 counts).