It’s time we had “the talk” about vitamin supplements.
It’s well-known that micronutrients and minerals give our body the tools it needs to function optimally. When we receive the proper amount of nutrients, our immune system can ward off illnesses, we feel well-rested, our brain functions properly, and our bones stay strong. When we don’t get the required amount… well, our bodies tend to notice.
Pretty basic, sure. But here’s where things get tricky.
In a perfect world, people would be able to receive all the nutrients they need to keep them healthy from their food. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
But increasing evidence shows that those who are health conscious are out of luck, too. Our world is facing a serious issue with soil depletion, meaning the organic, natural veggies you purchase at the local farmers market aren’t actually as rich in nutrients as they once were.
Taking daily nutrient supplements has been proven to help ease symptoms of mood disorders, stress, and much more. But not all supplements are created equal. We put together a list of some of the most popular multi-nutrient supplements out there, weighing their pros and cons for you.
#5- First Day
The overall aesthetic is adorable, which is great for marketing to kids. First Day claims to be full of eight essential vitamins, including Vitamins A, B, and C.
They come in a conveniently small gummy form and are made purely from 27 organic fruits around the globe. Simple enough!
Where’s the research? The First Day gang claims to be based on a science-driven approach and credits Dr. Ed Giovannucci, MD, MPH, ScD from Harvard University, and Dr. Lei Chen, MD, MHS from Yale University as mentors, which is cool. But the actual founders have failed to put any linked or referenced research, either by these gentlemen or their own First Day team, on the website.
Not to mention, while we love organic fruits and veggies, see the “soil depletion” argument above.
Brillia is a homeopathic supplement made for children and adults that’s meant to ease hyperactivity, impulsivity, and anxiety by regulating the S-100 protein in the brain.
Because it’s a holistic approach, Brillia claims their supplement doesn’t have the negative side effects that prescription drugs can have on a child. It’s not a habit-forming drug, and is gluten and nut-free.
Brillia uses holistic ingredients that may be beneficial to some but are not backed by any independent research and do not contain any nutritional value.
Simple Spectrum was born from the idea that many children on the autism spectrum don’t get the nutrients they need in early development stages. The Simple Spectrum idea was to combine high-quality vitamins in an easily ingested form.
Simple Spectrum comes in a powder form. The company explains “due to the fact that many children on the spectrum have sensory issues and/or trouble swallowing, we designed our Simple Spectrum supplement to be in a powder form, so it can be easily mixed in water or your child’s favorite drink. It can even be added to a soft-serve food like yogurt, pudding, or purees.”
The company is basing its product off of a relatively small controlled experiment. While shown to reduce autism symptoms, the study was very small. The 67 participants, all of whom resided in Arizona and were diagnosed with ASD, ranged in age between 3-58. 50 non-sibling participants served as the control. The experiment studied the effects of a “special vitamin/mineral supplement, and additional treatments…including essential fatty acids, Epsom salt baths, carnitine, digestive enzymes, and a healthy, gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free diet.”
Additionally, this formulation’s nutrient levels barely scrape the surface of the FDA’s recommended daily values, failing to approach therapeutic nutrient levels.
In their attractive marketing campaigns to women, Ritual says “traditional multivitamins weren’t doing us any favors, so we made one that will.” These clear pills are designed individually for women and men and have gotten some pretty good media coverage.
Their 14 ingredients come from all over the world and include some harder-to-find ingredients, like Folate and Boron. The vitamins are vegan, opening up the world of supplements to people who are picky about animal products.
Ritual newly released a product specifically for men, and they don’t appear to have a clinical study that backs it up. Their study for women was only based on 94 participants between the ages of 21-40. It showed a 43% increase in VItamin D and a 41% increase in Omega-3 DHA, but what about all those other nutrients that we’re missing out on? What about the iron and biotin and zinc levels in this supplement? And what actual mood or stress symptoms were improved?
Hardy Nutritionals’ flagship supplement is “the world’s most research-backed multivitamin-mineral supplement for mood and mental health”. That’s why their Daily Essential Nutrients formulation is recommended by doctors worldwide to patients who struggle with anything from aggression to anxiety to stress. They have even had double-blind studies proving their formula works for adults and kids with ADHD.
Their library of video testimonials shows men and women of all different ages and backgrounds sharing how taking Hardy’s nutrients have helped improve their lives, sometimes in a matter of days. Some of these testimonials come from doctors who have used Daily Essential Nutrients with patients for mental health disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression who say that they have seen their patients improve immensely. Most importantly, Daily Essential Nutrients actually has the science to back it up. Unlike the other products we looked at, Hardy’s has a long list of independent publications listed on their website citing the effects of their micronutrients in children and adults. They even have had double-blind studies done on their formulation which showed robust improvements in mood and focus.
Instead of basing a whole product on a few vitamins, Hardy’s packed every single essential vitamin and mineral into one capsule (or powder if you prefer) to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs–not just the well-known ones.
Oh, and they’re gluten, sugar, soy, dairy, and GMO-free. And vegan. And top 8 allergen-free.
In order to achieve therapeutic results, the research behind the product shows you have to take 12 capsules per day, spread out with meals. This would mean taking four capsules three times a day with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While they do have a powder form, it seems like a lot of pills to swallow.
Being that the Hardy Nutritionals formulations are backed by tons of positive reviews from adults and children, not to mention independent university research showing safety and effectiveness for a wide range of mood disorders, it may still be worth a try. Learn more about Daily Essential Nutrients here.