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Is It Actually Worth Taking a Multivitamin? Here's How to Check

5 min read
Curious if your multivitamin worth it? Here's what factors to look out for, from the capsule to the quality of ingredients.
Curious if your multivitamin worth it? Here's what factors to look out for, from the capsule to the quality of ingredients.

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When navigating the dietary supplement market, we understand how tricky it might be to really know that you’re getting a good value out of your go-to multivitamin. There are lots of factors to consider, after all: Do I need all of these ingredients, and are they doing their job to support my health? Are there any shady additives I don’t recognize on the label? What role does my diet play? What’s the brand’s environmental footprint?

As fellow skeptics, we’ll just say this: If you’re pondering any (or all) of these things, then you’re already on the right track. So let’s dig into the items to look for in a quality multivitamin.*

The multivitamin takes a “less is more” approach to ingredients.

We think that ideally, a healthy diet should do most of the heavy-lifting—if you’re eating a nutritious diet most of the time, then you may be meeting a lot of your nutrient needs already. But since some nutrients can be harder to get enough of through diet alone than others, the point of a quality daily multivitamin should be to help fill nutrient gaps. That’s not even to mention that when we overdo it on one nutrient, it can actually impact the way we use others. In other words: More isn’t always better.*

Want a couple of examples? Vitamin C is definitely important where your health is concerned—it’s an antioxidant, and helps to support collagen and normal immune function. But the vast majority of us are getting enough vitamin C through the foods we eat, so you may not need it in a multivitamin.* (1,2)

Then there’s calcium. You’d probably assume that getting extra of this bone health superhero couldn’t hurt, right? Well, the truth is that many of us can meet our calcium needs with a balanced diet, and emerging research suggests that overdoing it on calcium could ultimately do more harm than good. The bottom line: Instead of supplementing with extra calcium, you may want to focus on calcium-helper nutrients like vitamin D3, vitamin K2, magnesium and boron, which all lend extra support when it comes to bone health.* (3,4)

(That includes shady extras.)

From our POV, extra ingredients like artificial colorants, mystery synthetic fillers, sugar, and major allergens have no place in a multivitamin.

Ritual Ingredients

Nutrients are in absorbable forms.

Your best bet is to choose a formula with nutrients that the body can use—that may sound obvious, but it’s not always a given.

We like to use folate as an example. This B-vitamin is involved in many processes, including DNA methylation and energy-yielding metabolism. But folic acid (the synthetic version of folate) gets a lot of airtime in vitamins and supplements. The caveat is that up to 1/3 of women have a genetic variation called MTHFR, which can make it difficult to efficiently utilize folic acid. That’s why we use methylated folate in our multivitamins—it’s ideal for the body to utilize, even if you have that MTHFR genetic variation.*

Better yet, they’re backed by clinical studies.

It’s not always the norm to invest in a clinical trial. But while our in-house science team has always quantified our products with thousands upon thousands of studies, we wanted to go the extra mile by testing the specific impact of Essential for Women.

Conducted independently by Auburn University, Ritual’s clinical trial of 94 adult females found that Essential for Women raised vitamin D levels 43% over a 12-week period, significantly greater than placebo. Meanwhile, Omega-3 levels were raised 41% (again, significantly greater than placebo). And that’s just the beginning of a clinical-backed future.*

The capsule is designed to support absorption (and less stomach irritation).*

Vitamin burps got you down? Know that the right capsule may make a difference. Burps or stomach irritation can happen when your vitamin dissolves too early, which can leave the nutrients subject to harsh stomach acids. That’s why we opted to use a delayed-release capsule design: It’s formulated to dissolve later on, which means ideal absorption and less annoying stomach irritation.*

But just to make sure your bases are covered, we also add flavor tabs (mint in Essential for Women and Essential for Women 50+; lemon in our Essential Prenatal) to help with any ocean-y flavor from the omega-3 DHA—and to make your multivitamins that much more enjoyable to take.*

Multivitamins that evolve through different life stages.

Our nutrient needs evolve throughout our lives—it only makes sense that someone who’s expecting a baby needs a different kind of support than someone who just transitioned through menopause, right? With that in mind, chances are that a single multivitamin won’t be tailor-made to last you a lifetime. Instead, you’ll want to seek out formulas designed for whatever stage you’re in.*

The brand keeps sustainability in mind.

To us, supporting our customers’ health and the wellbeing of our planet goes hand in hand. With that in mind, we’ve championed Traceability from the very beginning: That means taking accountability for every decision we make as a brand, by way of a transparent supply chain and an open dialogue with our customers. It’s insisting on sustainably-sourced ingredients even when it’s the path less traveled, lessening our footprint by switching to mailers made from 100 percent recycled materials, championing vegan-friendly formulas, and putting names and faces to the vendors we work with around the world. And above all else, it’s about holding ourselves to a rigorous standard and always aiming to improve and evolve.*


  1. Carr, A., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211. doi: 10.3390/nu9111211
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin C. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Institutes of Health
  3. Shah, S. M., Carey, I. M., Harris, T., Dewilde, S., & Cook, D. G. (2010). Calcium supplementation… Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, 19(1), 59–64. doi: 10.1002/pds.1859
  4. Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). How much calcium do you really need? Retrieved from Harvard Health


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