For many individuals, a multivitamin is the first (and only) dietary supplement they use.
For decades the only options on the market for multivitamins were giant tablets. But these days you can choose between pills, gels, tablets, capsules, gummies, and even powders.
Are all of these various forms all the same in the end, or are they different?
We’ll discuss that ahead as well as why we prefer to go for vitamin powders over everything else.
So, let’s get started!
Why Use a Multivitamin Powder?
No Pills to Swallow
If you’re someone who shudders at the thought of having to down a handful of pills in the morning to get your multivitamin, you’re not alone.
Research from Harris Interactive indicates that up to 40% of adults have difficulty swallowing pills. <1> Similar findings have been documented by other studies conducted in both Norway and Germany. <2,3,4>
As a result of this difficulty with swallowing pills, as many as 1 in 3 adults can experience vomiting, gagging, choking, or having tablets lodged in their throats. <5>
To circumvent this issue, you could try any of the following options to improve your ability to swallow pills, including:
- Drinking plenty of fluids while taking the pill as well as drinking some water after you’ve taken the pill to make sure it doesn’t get stuck in your throat.
- Tilting your head forward slightly.
- “Hiding” your pill in food.
- Taking it with thicker, creamier foods such as yogurt, applesauce, or gelatin.
Or you could sidestep the whole issue of having to use the pill swallowing "hacks" and choose a powder-based multivitamin.
Powder-based multivitamins dissolve effortlessly into water, juice, or even a whey protein shake, and are incredibly easy to swallow.
They’re also a delicious and low-calorie way to get in your daily multivitamin (more on this later!).
Sometimes non-chewable pills, tablets, and capsules can get stuck in transit as they navigate your esophagus. If this happens, the pills can start to breakdown and release the nutrients inside of it, which can irritate and possibly even damage the lining of your esophagus.
Additionally, tablets can also get lodged in the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), a small valve right situated above your stomach, causing indigestion, heartburn, and other reflux symptoms.
Using a powdered multivitamin sidesteps this issue entirely.
Greater Chance for Compliance
Another unfortunate consequence of pill or tablet-based delivery multivitamins is that if an individual experiences difficulty swallowing pills, they're a pretty good chance they will take it less frequently or stop taking it altogether.
Since multivitamin powders don't come with the unpleasantness that accompanies swallowing multiple pills, the likelihood that an individual will continue to take it daily (and look forward to taking it) is significantly improved.
Gummies are Underdosed
So, maybe you’re wary of consuming a bunch of pills or tablets and given thought to the idea of embracing your inner child by purchasing multivitamin gummies.
After all, the label makes many of the same claims as tablet multivitamins, so they’ve got to be similar, right?
Well... not quite.
ConsumerLab.com recently completed a review of 50+ multivitamins including several of the premier vitamin gummy formulations on the market and found that 80% of gummy multivitamins failed to meet standards. <6>
How is that possible?
Well, gummy multivitamins are typically formulated to taste good first and foremost, which means essential vitamins and minerals are underdosed (to improve flavoring), or they can be damaged and degraded during the manufacturing process.
Either way, you're not getting the amount of the essential micronutrients that are listed on the label.
No Added Sugars or High Carb Count
We’ll be honest with you, virtually all of the raw ingredients used in dietary supplements taste horrendous, including minerals and vitamins.
What do you think formulators add to gummies to make them taste better – SUGAR!
Given the current epidemic of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, the last thing the populace needs is more sources of added sugar in the diet.
The latest Dietary Guidelines recommended that less than 10% of a person's daily calories come from added sugar. <7> This comes to about 200 calories (50 grams of added sugar) if you're following a 2000 calorie diet.
Many individuals consume significantly more than this because sugar is cheap, and manufacturers put it in just about any processed good you'll find at the store.
Moreover, high sugar diets are also associated with weight gain, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and an increased risk of cardiovascular-related events (e.g., heart attack or stroke).
Now, we're not saying your gummy multivitamin is what's causing you to get fat or make you sick, but why include yet another source of added sugar to your diet when several sugar-free multivitamins (like SteelFit Multi-V™) are readily available at a cost per serving equal to or cheaper than gummies.
Plus, the foundation of gummy vitamins is made up of sugar, gelatin, and cornstarch. To produce vitamin gummies, the minerals and vitamins are added to this sugary base, meaning manufacturers will only add enough of the micronutrients until the point at which the flavoring becomes difficult -- meaning they may underdose ingredients to keep the gummies tasting like candy.
Finally, while most gummy vitamins only contain between 3-5 grams of carbohydrates, for the physique competitor following a tightly controlled diet, every gram counts in the lead up to the big show!
Avoid wasting calories by choosing a multivitamin that contains no added sugar or carbohydrates, such as Steel Multi-V™!
No Artificial Colors
As if you needed another reason to avoid gummy vitamins consider this -- to make them multi-colored (and more enticing), manufacturers stuff them full of artificial coloring, which may have dangerous health consequences, particularly for children.
SteelFit Multi-V™ powder provides a tasty and delicious way to get your daily micronutrients without consuming a bunch of artificial colors derived from petroleum. <8>
Steel Multi-V™: The Once-A-Day Multivitamin for Athletes
Steel Multi-V™ vitamin powder contains no added sugar or artificial colors. It mixes easily into water or juice and avoids many of the issues involved with trying to choke back a mouthful of pills. Mix up a scoop today and experience for yourself just how enjoyable it can be to take a multivitamin!
- Harris Interactive Survey online study between May 27 and June 4, 2003. http://www.harrisinteractive.com/. Schwarz Pharma, Inc., based in Milwaukee, WI. Accessed November 13, 2014
- Strachan I., Greener M. Medication-related swallowing difficulties may be more common than we realize. Pharmacy in Practice. 2005;15(10):411–414.
- Andersen O., Zweidorff O.K., Hjelde T., Rodland E.A. Problems when swallowing tablets. A questionnaire study from general practice. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen (abstract of Norwegian text) 1995 March 20;115(8):947–949. PMID: 7709385.
- Schiele J.T., Quinzler R., Klimm H.D., Pruszydlo M.G., Haefeli W.E. Difficulties swallowing solid oral dosage forms in a general practice population: prevalence, causes, and relationship to dosage forms. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Apr;69(4):937–948
- Schiele, J. T., Schneider, H., Quinzler, R., Reich, G., & Haefeli, W. E. (2014). Two Techniques to Make Swallowing Pills Easier. The Annals of Family Medicine , 12(6), 550–552.
- "Multivitamin and Multimineral Supplements Review." ConsumerLab.com, www.consumerlab.com/reviews/multivitamin_review_comparisons/multivitamins/.
- "Key Recommendations: Components of Healthy Eating Patterns - 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines." Home of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion - Health.gov, health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/key-recommendations/.
- Potera C. The artificial food dye blues. Environ Health Perspect. 2010;118(10):A428. doi:10.1289/ehp.118-a428