A good, high quality multivitamin is one that actually gives you the nutrients you aren’t getting from your food. It should make you feel better when you take it, and it should make a difference in your health. Yes, I have very high expectations for my multivitamin.
How do you know if the vitamin is actually providing you the nutrients you need? Really top-notch nutraceutical (supplement) companies constantly test their products for quality and content. One of the tests they run is a bioavailability study to determine how much of each nutrient is actually absorbed into a person’s system. Based on these results, they will modify things like the dosages or the forms of the different vitamins until they know that the product is actually providing what they claim. You should be able to call the company that makes your vitamin and get copies of these studies. I’ll tell you I have yet to find a really inexpensive vitamin that has this level of quality control.
Another, more simple, way to look at your vitamin is by the number of pills in the suggested dose. Those high quality companies have found that if they try to squish that many vitamins, minerals and nutrients into one pill, people simply can’t absorb them. The pills end up passing all the way through your digestive tract, sometimes entirely intact. So, I find it hard to believe that any company has managed to make a “one-a-day” vitamin that you actually get much benefit from. Try looking for something that requires you to take at least 2 capsules, if not 4 to 6.
One last thing is to check the ingredients. I think many of us have gotten really good at checking the ingredients in our food. Consider the same thing when you buy any kind of vitamin. If you look under “other ingredients” and there are a bunch of random chemicals listed, you may want to think twice about the quality of that product. There is really no reason for any type of filler in a multivitamin. So, the only things that should be listed are the contents of the capsule itself.
Hope that helps!