What’s Really Inside a Multivitamin? An RD Weighs In

In a perfect world, you'd eat deliciously healthy meals made with only the freshest, most nutritious ingredients three times a day. But this is reality, and sometimes lunch looks more like an on-the-go protein bar than a sit-down veggie bowl.

That's why Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD and author of The Better Period Food Solution, advocates for having a nutrition-supporting partner: the multivitamin.

"Multivitamins cast a reliable safety net that helps catch and correct nutritional pitfalls," Beckerman says. For those days when your meals don't cover off on every nutrient, a supplement can help you hit the mark.

"Multivitamins cast a reliable safety net that helps catch and correct nutritional pitfalls."

I know what you're thinking: Can't you get enough nutrients through your diet alone, even if you don't eat like a wellness guru every day? According to Beckerman, even the most perfect diets will likely have nutritional holes. (Sorry to burst your healthy-eating bubble.)

Hence the safety net illustration. Your healthy diet does the heavy lifting, but by adding a multivitamin you can rest assured you're covered on the nutrients you need, no matter how busy life gets. Her go-to is Centrum® Adults Multivitamins, which contains vitamins and minerals, essential nutrients that help support her diet.

To help really illustrate the point, we asked Beckerman how much food you'd need to eat to hit the recommended daily amounts of nutrients found in Centrum Multivitamins—so you can see how your diet and your multi can work together to make you a nutritional master.

Scroll down to find out the multivitamin ingredients Beckerman looks for—and a peek into their food equivalencies.

multivitamin ingredients
Photo: Instagram/@CeceOlisa


This nutrient is known for supporting immune function, but did you know that your body actually doesn't store zinc in the same way it does other nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin A? Translation: It's extra important to ingest enough zinc to meet your daily recommended intake.

"One Centrum Adults multivitamin contains 100 percent of the daily value of zinc you need for the day," Beckerman says. And if you're looking for a food-based zinc boost, she says eating three medium oysters or five three-ounce servings of mussels (roughly 100 mussels in total) can help you hit your daily quota. Anyone up for seafood happy hour?


One of the lesser-known multivitamin ingredients, selenium is an antioxidant known to help support thyroid health, your immune system, and more, Beckerman says.

With a single tablet, you're already getting in 100 percent of your daily recommended intake of selenium. That equals just one Brazil nut, three ounces of yellowfin tuna, or a few slices of roasted ham—just in case you wanted to start bragging about all the selenium you're about to ingest.


If you're on the pink Himalayan sea salt bandwagon (guilty as charged), Beckerman warns that you could be missing out on a nutrient that's important for supporting your thyroid, which controls your metabolism, heart rate, and other important bodily functions.

"While it tastes great and is aesthetically pleasing, most versions [of Himalayan sea salt] lack or are very low in iodine, which is normally found in traditional iodized salt," Beckerman says.

Don't think you need to down buckets of salt (or seaweed, which is also high in iodine) to get your daily dose, though. A Centrum Adults multivitamin contains 100 percent of the daily recommended value, so you can keep eating your pink-salt-topped avo toast and get your recommended daily intake of iodine.


Manganese is essential in supporting bone health, blood clotting, and blood sugar regulation, Beckerman says (so, kind of a necessity), but you might not be getting enough of it if you're a fan of bread or almonds.

"Foods that are abundant in our diets like whole grains, nuts, and seeds contain phytic acid, which have the power to potentially inhibit and block proper manganese absorption in the body," Beckerman says.

But you don't have to forgo the scoop of almond butter in your smoothie to ensure you're getting enough of the nutrient. Centrum Adults contains 100 percent of your daily value—and won't get messed with during the absorption process.

Vitamin D

"Many Americans are deficient in vitamin D due to dietary restrictions like going dairy-free or a lack of exposure to sunlight," Beckerman says. City-dwellers, you know the drill.

By taking just one Centrum Multivitamin, you're getting in more than the daily recommended amount of vitamin D. Guess how many eggs you'd need to eat to get the amount found in one tablet? Twenty. (Pausing for gasps.) Unless you really, really like eggs, you might want to clear a space in your medicine cabinet for one more (multipurpose) supplement.

Sponsored by Centrum Vitamins

Top photo: Getty Images

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