Understanding Vitamins

Have you ever read the product label on a multivitamin and had no idea what it all means? This article is for you.

This post contains affiliate links. While we may receive compensation from these links they are at no extra cost to you.

Whether you are just starting to consider taking a multivitamin or have been for a while, understanding the ingredients can be challenging.

After all, most multivitamin’s contain upwards of 20 different ingredients.

Not too mention, many ingredients don’t go buy simple letters. Instead they often go by their full name.

However, you need not worry.

Once you learn the basics, it can be easy to understand the few things you should personally be looking for.

Recently, we discussed whether you should be taking a multivitamin.

Now, let’s take a look into the most common of ingredients.

Understanding the ingredients

Below is a list of common ingredients along with there benefits and effective clinical dosage amounts.

There are many more that can commonly be seen. However, these are the most common and the key ingredients you should understand before purchasing.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for vision health, bone growth, immune system, and helps the skin and mucous membranes to repel viruses.

Recommended dosage is 3000 IU for men and 2300 IU for women.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a vital role in development and repair of tissue. It is also necessary for growth and helps with the absorption of iron.

Recommended dosage is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. However, it is generally not harmful to take in more than that, megadoses in the 2000 mg range can be dangerous to your health.

Vitamin D

Commonly referred to as the sunshine vitamin. It can only naturally be produced in our bodies with adequate time in the sun.

Besides that, it has many aids to the body and mind including aiding in depression.

Some its most important functions is the regulation of absorption for calcium and phosphorous.

It is a fat soluble vitamin that greatly aids in bone health. One interesting study found it also to be a great prevention for multiple sclerosis.

The general recommended daily dosage for adult is 600 to 800 IU per day, according to the Institute of Medicine.

However, recent peer reviews and studies have questioned this number. To avoid under dosing and overdosing, it is found that you can safely be in the upper ranges of 1500 to 2000 IU.

However, higher doses have not necessarily shown a greater efficacy in most individuals.

In order to keep this less complicated, you can shoot for 600 to 2000 IU of vitamin D based on how much time you honestly spend outdoors.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is common among many common foods like almonds, avocados, tomatoes, and spinach.

This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. This makes it very beneficial in fighting coronary heart diseases, cancer, and has been shown to improve cognitive health.

General recommended dosage is 25 to 30 IU.

One concern among dosing is that many supplements are high on vitamin E.

While there are studies that claim taking of 400 IU is linked to increased mortality. There has also been peer reviewed research showing these studies to be questionable and needing more research.

With it being so readily available, it is logical that sticking to the recommended dosage should be just fine unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Vitamin K

When you hear the term vitamin K, it actually relates to K,K1, K2, and K3.

K1 or phytonadione is the natural form that commonly occurs in leafy greens and green vegetables.

It is an essential nutrient mostly because of its blood clotting abilities. It also can be beneficial for bone has as it has the ability to move calcium through the blood stream.


Signs of deficiency occurs when an individual bruises easily or has difficulty stopping bleeding.

While I have yet to find any research linked to overdose toxicity, there is one concern to be

aware of. With blood thinners or anti-coagulants like Warfarin or Coumadin, vitamin K can become dangerous.

General recommended dosage is roughly 120 mcg for men and 90 mcg for women.

B Vitamins

As you many know, there are a lot of B vitamins. We will break these down to help you understand each one separately.

Thiamin or B1

B1 has many great benefits. Some of these include:

  • Metabolizing of food for energy
  • Proper nerve function
  • Anti-aging properties
  • Eye health
  • Heart health
  • Increased memory
  • Better digestion and appetite

Due to its availability in common foods, 1 to 2 mg per day is the recommended dose.

While many multivitamins will contain much more than that. Due to being a water soluble vitamin, there are concerns that excess turns into waste.

Riboflavin or B2

B2 is commonly prescribed as a natural aid for headaches and even migraines.

Some of its other benefits include promoting healthy hair, eyes, muscles, skin, immune, and brain.

Recommended dosage is roughly 1.5 mg for adults.

Niacin or B3

While similar to other B vitamins discussed, it also helps with cholesterol, liver function, and can help with diabetes.

Recommended dosage is roughly 14 to 18 mg per day with a maximum of 35 mg.

Pantothenic Acid or B5

B5 actually can have some amazing benefits.

While it covers the typical aids as seen in the other B vitamins, B5 helps to alleviate health concerns.

Some of these include asthma, anxiety, heart problems, and respiratory disorders. B5 plays an important role in our health.

Recommended dosage is about 5 mg per day.

Vitamin B6

B6 has some included benefits like blood vessel health, improved mood, prevention and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, reduce high blood pressure, and relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Recommended dosage is 1.3 mg per day.

Biotin or B7

Sometimes called vitamin H, B7 plays an important role in metabolism, cell growth, and tissue maintenance.

Biotin is not found in many foods although one of the best natural sources comes from egg yolks.

Recommended daily dosage is 30 mcg per day.

Vitamin B9

You may most commonly know B9 as folic acid or folate. Either way, B9 helps build new cells and is very important for women who may get pregnant.

Recommended dosage id 400 mcg per day.

Vitamin B12

B12 plays a key role in maintaining or central nervous system. This includes neurotransmitter signaling and protecting the nerves by forming the myelin sheath.

B12 is vital to our health, and while deficiency is not common and hard to detect, it mostly occurs in vegan diets.

B12 is found in eggs, red meat, poultry, and wild caught fish.

Relatively small amounts of B12 in found in other items like nutritional yeast and sea vegetables. However, these sources are not as easily absorbed.

Common signs include tiredness and a lack of focus.


Zinc is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to be useful in fighting off immune issues, common cold, and possibly even cancer.

Fitness related, it is a great anti-inflammatory, helps absorption of other vitamins, and is great for muscle repair and growth.

A common concern with zinc being consumed naturally is the food sources. Zinc is mostly found in high protein meats. While the studies are not conclusive there is rising concern of deficiency in vegan and vegetarian based diets.

Recommended dose is 11 mg per day for men and 8 mg per day for women.


It is claimed that potentially 80% of American adults are magnesium deficient.

This deficiency is potentially at the heart of many common issues including:

  • hypertension and cardiovascular disease
  • anxiety attacks
  • mood swings
  • osteoperosis
  • insomnia
  • migraines
  • and the list goes on…

Magnesium has involvement in over 300 biological processes. Some of these involve protein synthesis, muscle contraction, and bone health.

It is important to realize that magnesium supplements come in many forms. These include magnesium chelate, citrate, chloride oil, glycinate, threonate, and orotate. Each of these has its own functions and aid in specific needs.

Recommended dosage is 400 mg per day for men and 310 mg per day for women.


When it comes to fighting free radicals, selenium is a potent friend. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

It also plays a key role in boosting metabolism.

Because of its abilities it also plays a key role in fighting off illness, infection, and can help prevent cancer due to its help on a cellular level.

Recommended dosage is 55 mcg per day.


Copper deficiency shows its common signs in fatigue, arthritis, osteoporosis, muscle soreness, joint pain, balding, unexplained weight loss, and bruising.

With these symptoms, it is easy to see that copper plays a vital role in overall health.

As discussed in an earlier article, due to most commercial brands use of copper sulfate, it is not uncommon to see brands have higher than the recommended dose.

We have a difficult time absorbing copper sulfate and it also effects the absorption of other nutrients.

Personally, this is one of the key reasons why I don’t like commercial brands. It decreases the effectiveness of the multivitamin.
Be More Human


One of the key purposes of iodine is in thyroid hormone production.

Roughly 60% of iodine in the body is stored in the thyroid which plays a significant role in metabolic process.

As you are probably aware, iodine is commonly consumed in the table salt we use for cooking.

However, if someone is in need of reducing sodium intake it is important to include seaweed or animal products that naturally retain iodine from diet.

Daily recommended dosage is 150 mcg per day.


Chromium is actually a metallic element that plays a role in regulating blood sugar and helps insulin transport glucose into the cells.

It is very often called an “essential trace element” because only small amounts are needed each day.

Daily recommended dosage is 35 mcg for men and 25 mcg for women.

What you should do with this list

Inside this list of vitamins, we cover a variety of benefits for each one.

We also go over some concerns like toxicity from overdose on specific ones.

While there are so many more we could list, for simplicity sake, these are the essential ones you will almost always see.

You know your body, so now hopefully you can figure out what needs work.

Many people choose to buy a bundle of vitamins so they can take each individually.

Most others however, choose the simplistic approach of a daily multivitamin that gives them everything they need.

If you have not read the previous article on this, I really recommend you do. We go in depth into the benefits, the risks, and key things you should consider.

Did you enjoy what you just read? If so, please subscribe to our mailing list and learn more about how you can lose weight, build muscle, and eat healthy foods that actually taste good. As a subscriber you are given exclusive access to promotions for new releases.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Ronald Nattress

Ron Nattress is the Founder and Owner of the Pioneer Fit Project. Ron started his fitness career in 2003 as a certified personal trainer. Over the years he has developed an insatiable thirst for knowledge. With a desire to learn everything about fitness and nutrition he has dedicated a life to finding the ultimate balance of health. In 2017 he decided it was finally time to turn his passion into a full online fitness company. In the beginning of January 2017 Ron opened the Pioneer Fit Project with the goal of helping as many people as he could to live full healthy lives. He is currently working on a multitude of books and developing an online training program.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: