If you’re spending good money on a multivitamin, you might want some reassurance that it does a body good. And the good news is that it does. But a daily multivitamin on its own, according to functional medicine experts, isn’t enough to optimize you.
“Multivitamins are great support to help you get the foundational bare minimum daily requirements for all your micronutrients,” says Kerri Masutto, MD, Lifeforce’s VP of Clinical Operations and a board certified internal medicine physician. “But a multivitamin isn’t going to correct your vitamin D deficiency, or any other deficiencies you may have.”
And while about half of Americans supplement our diets with vitamins and minerals — essential micronutrients that help your cells function, a one-size-fits-all multivitamin won’t ward off diseases, make you live longer, or necessarily help you reach your health goals.
Multivitamins to Meet Your Baseline
Instead, think of multivitamins as a gap filler. “Some people need to be on them all the time because they know their diet just isn’t meeting their requirements,” says Dr. Masutto. And some people will need them just at certain times.
“Nutrient requirements can fluctuate,” says Dr. Masutto. “You might have periods of time where you’re more stressed, you’re working more, you’re exercising more heavily, you get sick, you’re traveling. Any of these things can increase your base requirements because your body is burning through more nutrients to keep up with the demands.” During these times, people also tend to drop the good foods they’re eating in favor of faster, less nutritious choices, Dr. Masutto notes.
And what if you eat a near ‘perfect’ diet? That, too, has some limitations. According to Dr. Leah Johansen, a Lifeforce physician and a board certified family practice doctor, "Because our soils are depleted, even eating organic foods won't always give you adequate amounts of all your required vitamins and minerals — especially if you are asking your body to do anything like lose weight, make adequate hormones, or reduce inflammation,” says Dr. Johansen.
“Eating a varied and balanced diet, as organic as possible, and supplementing is key,” Dr. Johansen says. “Multivitamins are there to help make up for the depletion of micronutrients in our soil and food, but they’re not a bandage for a bad diet.”
Going From Just OK…to Optimized
While multivitamins pack many nutrients, keep in mind that the dosages of each are relatively low. “They’re placing multiple micronutrients into one pill, but at low, ineffective doses,” says Dr. Johansen. “Your body may likely need many of them, but you might have a specific nutrient deficiency, like vitamin D or magnesium, which you would need higher doses of than a multivitamin can offer.”
That’s where a comprehensive blood test, like the Lifeforce Diagnostic, will reveal which nutrients you could benefit from, and which ones you already get enough of from your diet. “Everyone’s nutrient levels and deficiencies are unique,” says Dr. Johansen. “So a more tailored and targeted approach to supplementing your micronutrients will help optimize your health and rebalance your body.”
The Lifeforce Diagnostic measures 30+ key biomarkers, including critical nutrients your body needs to function properly — all from the comfort of your home. “We can extrapolate a lot from the biomarkers we assess, and then restore the metabolic energy stores in order to support your body to regenerate at the cellular level,” says Dr. Johansen.
For instance, if your free testosterone levels are slightly low, Dr. Johansen may recommend boron, magnesium, and zinc supplements. And if your vitamin D levels are low, she would suggest taking Vitamin D + K, specifically one with ampli-D®, which is clinically proven to raise vitamin D levels three times faster than regular vitamin D supplements. And anyone will benefit from nutraceuticals like Peak Healthspan™ and Peak NMN™, Dr. Johansen notes. “This is the core of cellular energy — regenerating ATP via pathways of NAD+ and NMN. These products are gold and deserve attention to optimize both older and younger people.”
A Multi-Layered Approach
Having proper nutrient support via high-quality nutraceuticals will help your body function better, whether it’s inflammation, metabolic issues, hormonal imbalance, or other systemic issues you’re looking to address. But that’s only step one. Lifestyle changes are key to helping you feel, look, and perform at your peak.
“For one person, that might include walking and taking a multivitamin. For somebody else, that might be exercising seven days a week and eating all organic,” says Dr. Masutto. “We recognize that everyone has different levels of ability to make those changes right now.”
And of course, making major lifestyle changes isn’t easy. “Everyone has a lot going on managing their lives, families, and work,” says Dr. Johansen. “We’re here for them to get the key things they need without making it complicated.”
That’s why in addition to clinical support, Lifeforce members get a dedicated Health Coach as well. Think of them like your own personal health concierge for questions, accountability, motivation, and goal setting — all just a text away. What multivitamin can say the same?
Ready to find out your nutrient levels stack up? Book your at-home Lifeforce Diagnostic here.
This article was medically reviewed by:
Kerri Masutto, MD, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner
Leah Johansen, MD, Board Certified Family Practice Doctor, Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner
Vinita Tandon, MD, ABIM Board Certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism