How Do I Know If Multivitamins Are Working?

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: November 25, 2023
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While some people claim that they can feel their "vitality overflowing," the majority of us might not know if our dietary supplements are working.

So can you feel a multivitamin at work? If so, what should you look out for?

In this article, we'll dive a little deeper into what to expect, how to find a good multivitamin and much more.

Quick Summary

  • You can't directly tell if multivitamins are working as they are not intended to have any measurable or direct effect upon consumption, but they present long-term health benefits.
  • The recommended multivitamins everyone should regularly consume are Vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, and potassium.
  • Studies by the International Journal of Preventative Medicine show that taking vitamins and supplements can significantly stimulate brain function and improve health conditions.
  • From my perspective, the right multivitamin can fill crucial nutritional gaps, especially in today's fast-paced lifestyle.

Can You Feel A Multivitamin Working?

a man's hand filled with supplement pills

No, it's doubtful that you will be able to feel certain vitamins working.

Many of my clients initially expect a noticeable change, but multivitamins are for long-term health, not quick fixes.

They improve nutritional status and address deficiencies over time, and while some may sense subtle changes, most benefits are gradual and not immediately perceptible.

As Dietary Supplements, What Should Multivitamins Do?

man smiling while showing his biceps, and a heart plushy on a couple's hand

A good multivitamin, a concept that has significantly evolved since its early development in the 20th century, should top up your daily intake of all the most essential vitamins. Originally designed to address specific deficiencies, today's formulations are more comprehensive.

It should contain adequate doses of fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin D and antioxidant vitamins like Vitamin C to provide you with the recommended daily allowance.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin D

From my time working with clients, I've seen how Vitamin D, a crucial fat-soluble vitamin, plays a significant role in maintaining bone health.

It also balances the immune function and aids in strengthening it.

Health Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, aids in wound healing, bone formation, and may lower heart disease risk.

When combined with B Vitamin in pregnant women, it can prevent neural tube defects. Taking a multivitamin simplifies meeting your daily micronutrient needs, reducing the need to meticulously track specific nutrients like amino acids in your diet.

"The primary role of a multivitamin is to fill nutritional gaps and make sure people get their daily allowance of under-consumed nutrients like vitamins A, C, D, E and K, calcium, magnesium, dietary fiber, choline, and potassium."

- Andrea Wong, Senior Vice President (Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition)

What Can You Expect To Feel From a Multivitamin

man in gym clothes thinking, and a stack of different medicine pills

Based on my personal training experience, immediate effects from multivitamins shouldn't be expected.

However, if you're deficient in a certain nutrient, like calcium, taking a supplement can provide benefits.

Similarly, if specific vitamins and minerals are recommended for a particular health issue, you can anticipate improvements in that area.

According to studies published by the Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics, by upping your vitamin D intake, you could expect to improve your mood and cognitive function and help your body absorb calcium to improve bone strength [1].

Also, water-soluble supplements like taking folic acid daily can give you more energy by improving your red blood cell count as shown by studies published by the National Institutes of Health [2]. Folic acid is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, and its presence in a multivitamin can contribute to overall health.

How Can You Tell Good Vitamin Supplements From Bad Ones?

woman holding up two different bottles

Vitamin supplements often overpromise, and in my experience as a personal trainer, those that under-deliver are common.

While there's scientific evidence, like studies from the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, showing benefits for brain function and health, beware of exaggerated claims [3].

I've learned to recommend supplements from companies with modest, science-backed claims and environmentally conscious production.

What To Look Out For In A Daily Multivitamin

medical person holding up a pill while looking at it

Multivitamins are crucial in low-calorie diets to ensure essential nutrients are met and in combating global nutritional deficiencies.

7 Key Vitamins

From my experience as a personal trainer and nutritionist, I've seen the best results with multivitamins that contain at least seven key vitamins, such as A, D, E, C, and K, along with essential minerals like potassium and zinc.

Key Minerals

It's important to include iodine, often overlooked but essential for major organs like the heart, thyroid, and brain. Additionally, minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and zinc are necessary.

Calcium supports muscle contraction, zinc boosts the immune system, and magnesium maintains healthy blood pressure and immunity.

These minerals, along with iron, aid in energy production and red blood cell formation.

Avoid Excessive intake

It's important to choose supplements with 100% Daily Value (DV) and avoid those with 500% DV to prevent excess intake, considering the nutrients you get from food.

Are There Any Side Effects With Taking Multivitamins?

man about to vomit, and a woman in constipation

Yes, there are side effects in taking multivitamins like other medications.

Some of my clients have experienced mild, usually temporary issues like stomach irritability, constipation, irregular heart rate, nausea, vomiting, and loose stools.

The University of Rochester Medical Center warns that large doses of beta-carotene can cause skin discoloration [4].

Multivitamins are generally safe but should be taken as recommended or prescribed by a doctor.


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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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