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Best Multivitamin UK – Men & Women [Complete Expert Guide]

This article will talk you through what you need to know about vitamins and minerals. We’ll start by explaining what exactly they are, what they mean for the body and what can happen if you don’t get enough of them. Then we’ll look at why you might be deficient in vitamins and minerals and what you can do about it. Finally, we’ll look at how to go about choosing the right multivitamin for you and suggest some of our favourite products.

If you know you need a multivitamin and just want some help picking the right one, then feel free to head straight down to our buying guide and product picks.

Best Multivitamin UK - Men & Women

What exactly are vitamins and minerals?

Vitamins are chemical compounds which provide essential nutrition for our body. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble. Vitamins B and C are water-soluble. Vitamin B is actually known as a complex vitamin as it can be further divided into eight separate vitamins. These are thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate.

Minerals are inorganic solids, which may be elements or compounds. They are also needed by the body to support vital functions. From a health perspective, the key minerals are calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, chromium, copper, fluoride, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium.

Multivitamin That Needs to Your Body

What can happen to the body if you don’t get enough vitamins and minerals?

Vitamins and minerals support essential bodily functions. This means that if you don’t get enough of them, your body’s ability to perform these functions will be impaired. What specific symptoms you will notice will depend on the specific deficiency. Here is a quick run-down of the most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies and their symptoms.

Iron - Iron is crucial to the formation of healthy red blood cells which transport oxygen around the body. If you are deficient in iron, you feel like you are lacking oxygen (which effectively you are). This means that you are likely to be tired and sick or dizzy and will look pale. Severe iron deficiency can lead to anaemia.

Iodine - Iodine is essential for a healthy thyroid. If you are deficient in iodine, you may have an enlarged thyroid (goitre) and put on weight easily. You may feel short of breath and find that your heart beats quickly. Iodine deficiency is bad for adults and can cause severe developmental issues in children (both physical and mental).

Vitamin D - Vitamin D plays a key role in managing the body’s functions. Basically, it tells the body whether to activate a gene or to shut it off. Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency can be very subtle and build up over the years. They include muscle weakness and bone loss.

Vitamin B12 - Vitamin B12 is needed for blood formation, as well as brain and nerve function. Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency can be mistaken for the symptoms of iron deficiency as they include megaloblastic anaemia. This is a disorder which enlarges your red blood cells.

Calcium - Many people will already know that calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium deficiency is often indicated by brittle bones and problems with teeth.

Vitamin A - Vitamin A has many functions, but it’s most obvious function is maintaining eye health. This means that the most obvious sign of Vitamin A deficiency is poor vision. It can also cause low immunity.

Magnesium - Magnesium is also needed for healthy bones and teeth. It also plays a vital role in enzyme reactions. Often the symptoms of magnesium deficiency are similar to the symptoms of calcium deficiency, e.g. brittle bones, but they can also include type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.

Out of all the vitamin and mineral deficiency mentioned above, the one which is likely to be of least concern to people in the UK. Vitamin A deficiency is a major issue globally, but not in Europe. All other deficiencies are common in Europe.

Why you might be deficient in vitamins and minerals

In an ideal world, we’d get all the vitamins and minerals we needed from our diet. In the modern world, however, that’s not always possible, let alone practical. First of all, people need to understand the details of what they need to eat to get the right amount of each vitamin or mineral. 

For example, you may know that there’s iodine in fish (that’s part of what causes the smell they have). You may, however, not have realized that most iodine is found in saltwater. Seafish, therefore, have a much higher iodine content than freshwater fish. Iodine is also found in soil but its level is variable and therefore so is the amount of iodine you get from fruit and vegetables.

Likewise, you might not have known that the iron found in animal-based foods is much more easily absorbed by the body than the iron from plant-based foods.

In some cases, the only feasible way to get the vitamins and minerals you need through your diet is to eat animal-based foods. For example, Vitamin B12 is only found in significant quantities in animal-based foods. 

Vegetarians can get the Vitamin B12 they need from dairy products and eggs. That said, even they will have to eat fairly significant quantities of both as Vitamin B12 is notoriously hard to absorb. They may, therefore, benefit from a supplement.

Vegans will need a supplement. This will be based on seaweed (spirulina) but it will be in a very concentrated form. The average person simply could not eat enough seaweed to get the necessary B12 in this way.

Even if you do eat a “perfect” diet, you may still not get all the vitamins and minerals you need. The reason for this is that commercial food production prioritizes yield and conformity, not taste and certainly not nutritional value. This can actually hold true for a lot of “premium” products as well. 

As a result, unless you shop carefully and pay premium prices and eat an excellent diet, you are at risk of becoming deficient in vitamins and minerals. If you add dietary limitations to this, then you increase your risk of becoming deficient in vitamins and minerals.

In short, if you are experiencing the symptoms of vitamin or mineral deficiency, then it makes sense to start by taking a good look at your diet. If you know you’re eating unhealthily, then there are all kinds of reasons for making improvements. Hopefully, these improvements will also resolve your need for vitamins and minerals. 

If they don’t then it could be a sign that it’s just not practical for you to get your whole vitamin and mineral intake through diet and that you need a multivitamin supplement. Please note, however, that the very term “supplement” highlights the fact that these products are intended to top up the nutrients you get from a healthy diet, not to be an alternative to a healthy diet.

As always, if you experience severe and/or prolonged symptoms, consult your doctor. Likewise, if you are on medication, consult your doctor before starting to use supplements as there can be contraindications. For example, if you are on blood thinners it may not be safe for you to take supplements which include Vitamin K.

Multivitamin supplements versus multivitamin smoothies_juices

Multivitamin supplements versus multivitamin smoothies/juices

Smoothies are often marketed as a tasty and convenient way to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals. Essentially, the brands behind them imply that you get all the benefits of fruit and vegetables in an easy-to-swallow package you can down on the go. This is not entirely wrong, but it is misleading.

When you eat whole fruits and vegetables, you get vitamins, minerals, sugar and fibre. When you drink fruit juice, you get vitamins, minerals and sugar, but you lose the fibre. This means that fruit juices are not necessarily the healthy options their marketing tends to suggest. A lot depends on how you consume them. For example, if you drink a glass of orange juice with your breakfast toast, then you’ll get fibre from the toast.

This means that you need to be a bit cautious about using juices as a way to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals. It’s also worth noting that they tend to be a lot more expensive than taking a multivitamin supplement and they often use lots of plastic packaging.

Choosing the best multivitamin on the UK market

Usually, when we write buying guides, we go into extensive detail about what to look for in a product. We cover all the different options, in appropriate detail and we talk about what options are best for what situation. 

The problem with doing this with multivitamins is that there are so many different options and possibilities that we’d probably cause more confusion than clarity if we tried. We’ll, therefore, make it this. 

At present, the multivitamin market is huge but very poorly regulated. This means that there are a lot of low-quality supplements out there. The easiest way to avoid these is to look at the brand behind them. 

Some multivitamin companies are household names and they are well-known for a reason. Some multivitamin companies are respected in their niche. You might never have heard of them before but if you do some research on the company, you’ll find that they are well respected. Stick to products from these companies, even if they cost a little more.

The practicalities of taking multivitamins

Most multivitamins come as capsules or tablets rather than liquids. Capsules tend to have gelatine in them, some tablets do as well. Effervescent tablets can be high in salt.

Check the instructions on the packet regarding how to take your tablet and be sure to follow them. Usually, you’ll be told to take your supplement with a meal. This is so your digestive system is active. If you take multivitamins on an empty stomach, you can end up making yourself feel ill.

If you are taking a multivitamin with iron, you want to avoid taking it with large quantities of calcium or zinc. These are both linked with reduced iron absorption. If you need extra calcium or zinc, take another supplement at another time. Vitamin C, by contrast, will help with iron absorption.

Best multivitamin for women UK

Here is our pick of the best multivitamins for women on the UK market.

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Centrum Pfizer, Multivitamin Tablets for Women

Centrum Pfizer, Multivitamin Tablets for Women
  • Contains gelatine
  • For women pre-menopause

These tablets are shaped like capsules. We’re guessing this is to make them easier to swallow. They're a bit on the large side but go down fine with water. The taste is passable. We’re not thrilled about the fact that this product has iron, calcium and zinc together, but we’re willing to overlook this because it also covers all 13 essential vitamins plus a wide range of minerals.

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Centrum Pfizer, Multivitamin Tablets for Women, 60 Tablets

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Last update was on: October 24, 2020 6:41 am
£9.44 £12.69
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Seven Seas Perfect7 Prime

Seven Seas Perfect7 Prime
  • Contains gelatine and fish oil
  • For women post-menopause

We find the dosage of these slightly odd as you take a tablet and a capsule. We also think the capsules have a slightly “fishy” taste, although that could be our imagination. Both the tablet and the capsule are on the larger side but go down easily enough with water. Again, we’re not thrilled by the fact that these supplements have iron, zinc and calcium together. As before, however, we’re prepared to overlook this for all the other content, including collagen, which is particularly important for skin health as we age.

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Seven Seas Perfect7 Prime Woman 50+,Multivitamin and Mineral Tablet plus Omega-3 &...

Last update was on: October 24, 2020 6:41 am
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Vitabiotics Wellwoman Plus Omega 3∙6∙9

Vitabiotics Wellwoman Plus Omega
  • Contains gelatine and fish oil
  • For women of all ages

These are dosed the same way as the Seven Seas option. You get a multivitamin tablet and a capsule for the Omega. We’d say there was a hint of fish to the capsules but we can live with it. They’re easy enough to swallow. Oddly, these multivitamins don’t seem to have any calcium content, although they do have iron and zinc. As before, however, taken as an all-round package, there’s a lot to like about these multivitamins.

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Vitabiotics Wellwoman Plus Omega 3∙6∙9 - 56 Tablets/Capsules

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Last update was on: October 24, 2020 6:41 am
£10.39 £15.00

Best multivitamin for men UK

Here is our pick of the best multivitamins for men on the UK market.

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Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men

Optimum Nutrition is best known for its supplements for athletes and bodybuilders and this product appears to be a variation of these. That would explain why it’s targeted at active men. That being so, we find it a bit odd that this product has gone for zinc rather than iron. Perhaps the assumption is that people involved with sport will be very aware of their high need for iron and make sure to get it through diet or another supplement. That aside, if you lead an active lifestyle and want a multivitamin supplement which supports you in that, this could be a great choice.

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Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men Multivitamin Supplements for Men with Vitamin D, Vitamin C,...

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Last update was on: October 24, 2020 6:41 am
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Seven Seas Perfect7 Prime Man

even Seas Perfect7 Prime Man 50+
  • Contains gelatine and fish oil
  • For men over 50

Our thoughts on the dosage and taste are much the same as for the women’s version of the product. We’re also not thrilled to see iron and zinc together albeit with no calcium, which seems slightly odd. Overall, however, there is a solid range of vitamins and minerals.

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Seven Seas Perfect7 Prime Man 50+, Multivitamin And Minerals Tablet Plus Omega-3...

& Free shipping
Last update was on: October 24, 2020 6:41 am
£9.44 £10.80
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Wellman Vitabiotics Original

Wellman Vitabiotics Original

This multivitamin is just a tablet, i.e. no capsule. We’d have preferred it a bit smaller but it’s OK to swallow. Frankly, we think the smell is pretty dire, but since it takes literally a few seconds from packet to stomach, we can live with it. This multivitamin has iron and zinc but no calcium. There is, however, a very decent range of vitamins and minerals.

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Wellman Vitabiotics Original

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Last update was on: October 24, 2020 6:41 am
£4.36 £8.12

Bonus pick

Anyone on a plant-based diet might want to look at Nutravita Multivitamins & Minerals.

In short

Multivitamins aren’t the answer to everything but they can be a pragmatic solution to getting the nutrients you need, even if your diet isn’t perfect. We’d love to hear your experience of using them and if you have any suggestions for getting the most out of them. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Andrew Ellis
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Jedi Master

Fitness, health, blogging and Psychology are my main interests. I’ve worked in many roles from product designer to engineer working with many products from fitness equipment and spa products to this role as a hands on webmaster. Avid gym going and captain of the good ship Poshh Living

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