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Choosing the Best Fish Oil

Why I Don’t Take Multivitamins

written by Vin Kutty

comments 155 comments



Multis are gateway supplements.

They’re often the first step in people’s health enlightenment. Along with a gym membership, maybe. Or a pedometer.

But there are a lot of people for whom a multivitamin is it. No other supplements, diet change or exercise. That’s all they’re willing to do. They couldn’t quit smoking, so they’ll take a multi instead. Or their spouse is on them to get healthy.

So they buy a giant bottle of multi at Costco. Centrum. One-A-Day.  Or (ha!) an ‘adult gummy.’

Good for them. You’re not them.

But seriously, if you’re taking an adult gummy vitamin, stop it. Just stop it.

Is there one multi or supplement pill that has it all?

You want a good multi so you don’t have to take so many pills. You may even take an Omega-3. You may be considering taking Vitamin D3 or a probiotic.

This is when the hunt for a good multi heats up.

I get a lot of questions about which multi to choose. I don’t like multis and I don’t take one. But, if your doctor wants you to take a multi, take it…there is no need for discussion.

Why I don’t recommend taking multivitamins:

Several reasons:

  1. Multis often have the wrong TYPE of nutrients
  2. Multis often have too little of some and too much of other nutrients, contributing to nutrient imbalance
  3. Multis are never complete or comprehensive
  4. ‘100% Daily Values of everything’ can give you a false sense of dietary accomplishment
  5. You can still have several deficiencies after taking a daily multi

Here’s what I mean:

1. Vitamin A

Many multis have beta-carotene as a Vitamin A source. Beta-carotene is not Vitamin A but a precursor to it. Some people convert it to Vitamin A and some don’t.

You need the retinol form of Vitamin A, not the carotenoid forms.*

Severe Vitamin A deficiency is rare in America, but it is very common in developing countries and causes night blindness. Just because things aren’t that bad here does not mean things are peachy.

Since we stopped eating egg yolks, butter, liver, and animal fats in the 70s and 80s, we have collectively been consuming a lot less retinol Vitamin A.

Mass market multis are hopeless sources of Vitamin A. Eat the foods listed above. If you don’t eat liver, take 10,000 IU of preformed Vitamin A from a product like this.

10,000 IU is not too much assuming you get plenty of sun exposure or take Vitamin D3 too. Keep in mind that disease-free cultures like pre-westernized Inuits used to consume between 30,000 and 40,000 IU of retinol Vitamin A daily. People are unnecessarily worried about Vitamin A toxicity…something that happens usually when you’re Vitamin D deficient. If you have enough Vitamin D, the toxicity level of Vitamin A is about 200,000 IU per day.

What I do for the kids: we blend in grass-fed beef or bison liver with hamburger meat. No one’s the wiser. I also get them this liver + beef snack from Epic.  It’s actually pretty good.

2. Folic acid

Multis have folic acid. Multis should have FOLATE, the metabolic active form of folic acid.

We were all told that pregnant women need folic acid.

Never mind that you need FOLATE, not folic acid. And that you need it 3 months BEFORE pregnancy as much as you need it for 3 months after conception. So starting with folic acid during your second trimester is missing the boat.*

Folic acid in multis is synthetic and needs to go through five different enzymatic conversions before it becomes folate. This conversion declines as we age.

Even if you’re not pregnant, folic acid must be converted to folate before it can reduce homocysteine, a risk factor for poor heart health. There are implications for mood disorders too, as folate is required in processing brain neurotransmitters.

The folic acid in your multi may not be doing much for you.

B-Right is my preferred source of folic acid, but I find it too strong. My stomach feels queasy after an hour or two, so I open the capsule and pour half of the contents into another empty capsule, splitting the contents of each capsule over two days. But that’s a lot of work.

A half-strength B-Right would be nice. This situation is the result of consumers buying stronger or bigger dosages, believing ‘more is better.’ Businesses realize that consumers prefer higher potency formulas and respond by making stronger and stronger formulas.

Consequently, there’s an arms race afoot that is not based on science but consumer psychology.

The branded Metafolin form of Folate is generally considered better than Folic acid. However, there is some risk associated with higher doses.

3. Vitamin D

Most multis have very low levels of D3. Some even have the poorly-absorbed D2 form.

Get your blood level tested and supplement to get up to optimal levels.

Most people need between 2000 and 5000 IU of D3 per day along with Vitamin A (see above.) Unless you’re getting a lot of full body summertime sun exposure and eating a lot of seafood, you’re going to need supplementation. Following the FDA’s 100% Daily Value (600 IU per day) is virtually guaranteed to keep you deficient.*

If you’re dark skinned or pregnant, you will need more than what most multis or prenatals provide.

Taking Vitamin D without A and K2 is a bad idea.

My preferred source.

4. Vitamin K2

Most multi buyers haven’t even heard of Vitamin K2. How can you be sure you’re buying the right K2 supplement. Your body needs K2 to figure out  what to do with calcium. K2 keeps calcium in your bones and teeth instead of in soft tissues like your arteries.*

Vitamin K2 is absent in most multis. Some ‘health food’ multi brands now have K2 in the MK-7 form. That’s nice, but what you really need is MK-4.

Want K2? Eat dairy fat from cows that recently ate rapidly growing green grass. Or eat european hard cheeses and pastured egg yolks.

If you’re pregnant, MK-4 is essential and MK-7 may be useless for the baby’s development. Strangely, I’ve yet to see a prenatal that contains MK-4 form of K2. It is critical for the baby’s bone and skull development. And virtually every pregnant mother is deficient.

In retrospect, I’m really glad my vegetarian wife developed a pregnancy craving for meat and european hard cheeses.

Most multis have K1, a nutrient that is almost impossible to become deficient in because it is recycled by the body. It does not help that the FDA and the Institute of Medicine are decades behind and have not established a formal daily value for K2.

You need between 500 – 1000 mcg of K2 daily, most of it in the MK-4 form and some in the MK-7 form.*

This is a good liquid form for kids.
Our sister brand (InnovixLabs) makes this.

There is a trend here that some of you may have noticed. Three of the 4 nutrients discussed so far are fat-soluble vitamins. Nutrients that we all began going deficient in when we started avoiding fats and meats.

5. Magnesium

None of the mass market multis have enough magnesium.

Centrum has 50 mg (13%) of Daily Value as magnesium oxide. Perfect example of wrong quantity and wrong type.

One A Day has 140 mg (35%) as magnesium oxide.

You need 400 to 600 mg of magnesium daily. Very few of us get this much magnesium in our diet, even with a near-perfect diet. Our soils are depleted from intensive agriculture. Our bodies burn through magnesium due to high-stress lifestyles.*

No wonder we are cranky, sleepless, and anxious. This is one nutrient that I think all of us need to supplement.

Magnesium oxide is close to useless. You might as well swallow a pebble. Sadly, it is found in all the biggest-selling multis and magnesium supplements.

Magnesium citrate is a little better. But you’re best served by far better absorbed forms like glycinate, malate, threonate, lysinate.

All the well-absorbed forms are fluffy and light – so you’ll need a lot pills to get 600 mg a day.

A few options available on Amazon:
Powdered magnesium glycinate – nice to blend into your smoothie or beverage for kids.

Capsule form with malate and glycinate forms

A few more reasons:

The FDA has known how critical choline is, especially during pregnancy. They’ve had the data for 20 years. But have done nothing with it.*

In the meantime, 90% of pregnant women are deficient in choline.

Where do you get choline? Yup – meats, egg yolks, and animal products. All things the government told us to avoid.

Then there’s Vitamin E. Vitamin E is actually a complex of 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrieneols. What you find in multis is the synthetic version of one of the tocopherols. I’ve yet to see a multi with all eight Es. In the meantime, try this supplement.

Most multis have B12 in the cyanocobalamin form. It should be in the methylcobalamin form.

These are some (but not all) of the reasons why I don’t take a multivitamin.

There are other reasons, but I think you get the drift.

Oh, but the multi I get at Whole Foods has food-based synergistic cofactors!


Some are a little better. I’ll give you that. Some of them have B12 as methylcobalamin. Some throw in the wrong kind of K2. They have natural Vit E.

But for the most part, health food multis make you feel special by throwing in ‘proprietary blends’ of antioxidants or fruit and veggies extracts or intangible mumbo jumbo blends. The purpose of these blends is to separate one product from another on the shelf.

Holier-than-thou health food store multis also have long lists of things they do not contain, starting with gluten. Not having gluten is great. But the internet has made false demons out of things like magnesium stearate and ascorbyl palmitate. Mag stearate phobia is not based on science, but fools fan the fears.

Look to whole, nutrient-dense foods for nutrition

Take another look at egg yolks and liver. They’re nature’s multivitamins. If you’re not OK with liver and organ meats, you need supplements.

Go back to colorful berries. Fresh seafood and leafy greens. Locally grown fruits and nuts. Go back to butter.

Maybe, just maybe, eat your liver and eggs in the midday sun in the backyard. Naked. You make Vitamin D for free and the neighbors move out in a hurry. It’s a win-win. I know. Brilliant.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Join the conversation

  1. Vin – really great article this month. Thanks!
    Is dry vitamin A – Retinyl Palmitate OK? It does not have any soybean oil or other O-6 oils which most gelcaps have.
    Does Innovix have any plans to offer a comprehensive B-complex with all the right forms?

    • Hi Mike – dry retinyl palmitate is OK…but just make sure you don’t take too much. This is easy to do with dry powders of fat-soluble vitamins.

      We’re getting a lot of requests for a high-quality B-complex. If we do make one, it won’t be ready until 2016 or later.

  2. Great article Vin, what a wealth of helpful info, humor is always good medicine (Proverbs 17:22) had to chuckle over eating your eggs & liver in the midday sun !

    Keep up the good work


    • Hi Lily – this product makes many of the classic mistakes that I talk about. Since you’re a runner, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got enough potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium. Mostly the first two. Running is better than sitting on the couch. But there are many other exercises that are better for you. Consider one of the high intensity interval training choices. Combine different forms of activity – hiking, sprinting, swimming, yoga, and crossfit. And, yes, occasional running.

      If you’re short on time and don’t want to put thought into it, take the multi and supplement with potassium and magnesium.

      • I have documented Osteoporosis. I would like to get off Prolia due to reaction to the first dose – my Doctor talked me into a second dose – but not taking it again. I have read that stopping Prolia can lead to spinal fractures with minimal cause like bending over to get something out of the fridge . I have just heard about a form of calcium from
        red algae . I have been on Vitamin D3 5000 u for over 10 yrs . I need to strengthen my spine as quickly and effectively as possible . 3 months after the first MISSED dose of
        Prolia is the dangerous time . At age 23 I broke 2 ribs from a single cough . No one at the hospital I worked in believed you could break a rib from coughing . When I had a chest Xray done about 10 yrs ago , the first thing my MD said was ‘ you have a collapse
        of T 10. So I need the maximum bone strengthening suggestion of medications.

        • Hi Eileen – please work with your doctor to decide if there are risks associated with going off Rx meds you were prescribed. Doctors are usually aware of risk/benefit of drugs when they prescribe it, but still, it is worth another conversation. Having said that, you can do several things to strengthen bones using diet and weight-bearing exercise. From a nutrient perspective, it looks like you are covered on Vitamin D3. You also need Magnesium, Vitamin K2, and of course, calcium for strengthening bones. Most people are aware of Calcium and D, but few take magnesium and K2. Without Vitamin K2, a lot of the calcium you consume is wasted or mis-deposited. Our sister company makes both Magnesium and K2. and Hope this helps.

  3. Hi Vin,
    I loved reading your article. I am now more confused about what I should be taking. I currently take all of the wrong things. I take a one a day, magnesium and fish oil. I am 43 years old and do moderate exercise. Would you say that I need to take everything that is in a multi vitamin, just in more natural forms, or if I take the vitamins listed above I should be good? Also, at my age, do I still need to be taking Folate?

    Thanks for your help.


    • Hi Lori – sorry, I wasn’t trying to confuse people! 🙂 It’s just that I constantly get asked what multi I take and which one I recommend. I don’t take a multi (obviously) and if you must have a multi, at least now you are armed with some information to go out and find a BETTER multi. I think you can certainly do better than One A Day multi. Both magnesium and fish oil are probably good ideas for most people – may be you could move up the quality chain. Ideally, get everything from your diet, but that’s not very helpful for most people. I have 30 bottles of supplements in the medicine cabinet but only take them if my diet is lacking. Examples: if I eat liver or a lot of eggs, I might ease up on the trace minerals and Vitamin A. I don’t take D3 in the summer time when I’m tanned. I don’t take Omega-3 if I eat salmon. I eat more fruits in the summer, so I skip Vit C. It’s hard to get enough magnesium and Vit K2, so I take those most days. I don’t think normal people need or want 30 bottles of pills…and I certainly don’t expect you or anyone to do that. There is no one formula that works for anyone because of where your current health, diet and lifestyle is could be drastically different from someone else.

      Folate is necessary at ALL ages.

  4. Hello again,

    Thank you for the reply. I will take your advice and buy the magnesium you posted. I do need the multi as I don’t eat like I should. I have never taken a separate magnesium supplement, can you tell me when best to take them? Should I take them in the am with my multi or alone and when?

    Thank you again,


    • Hi Lily – makes no difference when you take magnesium, but many people take it at night, claiming it relaxes them and gives them better sleep. Aim for 400 mg Magnesium per day.

    • Hi Ken – the standard doubt that is planted (usually by marketers) is that Omega-3s will not absorb well when enteric coated. But the human body is so adept at absorbing fats that skipping the stomach and going straight to the intestines with enteric coating will not cause a measurable reduction in absorption.

      • Hi Vin!

        Love your article! Would you advise what I should be taking at 35! Constantly exhausted and low energy.

        Thanks, Dian

        • Hi Dian – exhaustion and low energy could be caused by a number of things. I’m not a doctor, but even a good doctor would have to get several blood test results before figuring out why you’re feeling this way. Please check with your doctor for thyroid issues, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, etc. If I were you, I would work with an Integrative Medicine MD.

  5. Vin,

    Is there a fat soluble vitamin complex (D K A E) that you know of? If not have you considered making one with the forms people should be taking?


    • Hi John – Nutricology D3 Complete is the closest thing, but the formula needs tweaking. Not enough A, D, and E for my needs. and it is missing the MK-4 type of K2. More D than I need in the Summer and not enough in the winter. It’s a one-size-fits-all formula but one-size-fits-all doesn’t work with supplements. But I have to give Nutricology kudos for recognizing that people need fat-soluble vitamins. Sadly, these combo formulas rarely sell and are always at risk of discontinuation.

  6. Hi Vin,

    Do you have any opinion on the “threonate” version of magnesium that you mention? I have seen it claimed that it is the only version that crosses the blood brain barrier. Does this make it superior? Or does it even matter? Is it a case of just “pick one” out of glycinate, malate, threonate, and lysinate?


  7. What a great blog, so glad to find you. I’m geek enough to enjoy trying to find a way through the technical/medical language, but what a joy to not have to, and have things laid out so clearly, simply, and with truly great writing. Already started taking your advice and reexamining the various vitamins and supplements around the house.

    After having a big LAD heart attack a few years ago, I’ve been enjoying your columns on cholesterol, really eye-opening. I’d really gone astray on diet for so long, despite being relatively in shape. No red meat or eggs, but lots of baked goods! Live and learn (if one is lucky enough to).

    Thanks, looking forward to the next one and catching up on the archives.

  8. Hey Vin,

    Kind of a dumb question, but was wondering if the triglycerides form of fish oil actually have any negative effects on my cholesterol/triglycerides levels at all, or would it essentially be the same as the esters form (meaning it has no negative side effects|I’m finishing off my last bottle of Nordic Naturals and the name “triglycerides form” scared me a bit due to a history of high triglycerides)? Thanks!

    • Hi Robert – triglyceride form and ethyl ester form of fish oil have the same health impact on the body. The only minor difference is how the body metabolizes them. The ‘triglyceride form’ of Omega-3 has nothing to do with the triglycerides floating around in your blood, which is mostly a result of what you eat.

  9. Wow have I learnt alot today; mainly that I take too many vitamin supplements. My main enquiry is that I had Osteoporosis which is now Osteopenia and I take Caltrate 600mg, with 25mcg D3 and Magnesium 50mg,also contains some Zinc, Copper and Manganese. I am 52 years old, 60kg, do zumba and eat well. I am interested in your recommendations. Thank you. Leanne

      • is megafood a better brand or is just a local drugstore brand better? i take 1000IU per day of megafood vit d3. nothing else. is it bad since i don’t take k2 etc?

        other thing is doesn’t the amount you take depend on your body weight?

        • Hi Ian – MegaFood is a good brand. You can’t go wrong choosing them. Having said that, I would test my blood Vitamin D level first. And then adjust your dose up as needed. Most people need about 4000 IU per day. Assuming most people forget to take their pills once or twice a week, taking 5000 IU daily, especially during winter and spring is a good idea. And yes, you need both K2 and Vitamin A if you’re taking Vitamin D3. Also, magnesium becomes a bottleneck for a lot of people taking Vitamin D3. So make sure eat a lot of veggies to get enough Magnesium.

          Yes, body weight plays a small part in D3 dosage but you need to start with a blood test. Otherwise you’re guessing or flying blind.

  10. Thanks, this has been helpful, it started me into doing some further review. The folic acid has been the most concerning. So overused especially for someone eating reasonably healthy most of the time.
    I generally took the multi for the minerals anyway and extra vitamins like b complex, D3 and vit C.
    Any chance you could follow this up on the mineral side post? I have not had much luck finding a multi mineral yet. Would be nice to have something basic then add a few extras if desired.

    • Hi Steve – most of what I say above applies to minerals as well. You can’t stuff enough of the ‘macro’ minerals like Calcium, potassium, and magnesium into a multivitamin pill. If you did, it’d be a dozen pills. There is a nutty rule/law somewhere that prevents making substantial potassium supplements, so you will only get small amounts in pills. Magnesium is a huge issue – many are deficient in it. And the most common form of magnesium is magnesium oxide. It is very poorly absorbed. Look for malate, bisglycinate, threnoate, or even citrate forms. Trace minerals are a little easier. This one is OK:

    • Hi John – we’re sold out! Really sorry about that. I’m told we blew threw 6 months’ worth of products in just under 2 months. We are scrambling to get it back in stock. It will be available in early September. Again, our apologies.

      • Thanks Vin. I will keep an eye out and double order this next time!

        Is there any specific time or method that I should be using to take my “stack” of supplements? On your advice I am trying out separate quality supplements to take the place of the fermented CLO and HVBO that I was taking everyday. Right now, my morning consists of:

        A pastured egg
        One capsule Innovix K2
        One capsule Omegavia fish oil
        One capsule Nutrigold 5000 iu D3
        One capsule 10000 iu Now Foods Vit A
        ~5-6oz Raw Milk
        One capsule Garden of Life food based Zinc
        Two capsules Innovix Magnesium

        Any reason to not take all of this together in one sitting each morning?

        (The daily serving of Zinc is two capsules so I take another sometime later and maybe another Omegavia later as well).

        I just want to make sure that none of that interferes with any of the other items or I should be spacing out supplements. Thanks!

        • Hi John – I don’t see any potential issues with interactions. All the oils and fat soluble vitamins will work well together. I’d test your Vit D levels and see if you can get your level boosted with sunlight during the summer. Go to D3 supplements in Winter and Spring.

          This is just me – I’d double the eggs and nix the milk.

          If you’re stressed or are not sleeping well, I’d increase the Magnesium. Or may be take it before bed time.

          I’d take this 2-3X/week instead of just the zinc:

          As always, everything is better coming from foods instead of pills.

    • Hi Melanie – we haven’t been sending out newsletter for a few months now. We’ll post a sign-up form on the blog pages soon, so you can get our blogs automatically. Thanks.

  11. Hi Vin,
    I have elevated levels of triglycerides, around 350, which is not very high. I am also taking statins for LDL (around 150). I understand that while DHA is important it also raises LDL, which makes EPA 500 the better choice for people with triglycerides above 500. How about someone like me who has high but not very high triglyceride levels, and also takes statins? Should I take EPA 500 or the regular one, or should I completely avoid fish oil and bring my levels down through exercise and diet (I am in late 30s)? Also, what would be the daily recommended dose for me?

    • Hi Raz – if you have the discipline to reduce your very high triglycerides with diet and exercise, then, by all means, do it! If you decide to supplement as well, try the regular OmegaVia at 3 pills a day in combination with a healthy diet and exercise plan.

  12. A couple of things that I forgot to ask in my previous post: what’s the expiry date of these supplements? If I order 4 or 5 bottles that can last 6 to 7 months, is there a chance they will turn rancid?

    In the FAQ section for EPA 500, it is mentioned that the gelatin is both kosher and halal. What about the gelatin used in omegavia fish oil?

    • Hi Raz – the expiration dates are usually 2-3 years away. There won’t be any issue with rancidity. The gelatin in OmegaVia is from fish, so yes, it is certainly both kosher and halal. There are no non-fish animal ingredients in OmegaVia.

  13. Bravo Vin! Love your writing style and informative (and witty) delivery. I’ve just placed an order for your O3 capsules and can’t wait to get started. I have been taking FCLO for a couple of years now (with no ill affects) and definitely took heed of your comments on Chris Kresser’s recent article. Thanks for this wonderful resource and keep up the great work!

    • Thank you, Mrs D. Oh, yes, the Chris Kresser post – I was sorely disappointed that Chris did not take a stronger stance on this. But I’m glad that you were happy with FCLO while using it. I think there are better sources of Vits A, D, and K2 besides FCLO.

  14. Hi Vin, just out of curiosity… why is there both an Omegavia brand Omega 3 and Innovix? I was thinking both were your company?

    And I am very interested in your probiotics, but notice Innovix has two types now. Are you going to do a blog post on the pros / cons of either / both?

    And maybe a “what’s new” or “upcoming supplements” post? Seems I randomly find new Innovix products on Amazon (like Circumin) that I had no idea you made.

    • Hi John – yes, both brands belong to Innovix Pharma, the parent company. The OmegaVia brand provides premium, high-end Omega-3 – oil purified with liquid CO2 chromatography at low temperatures, 90%+ Omega-3 purity, fish gelatin (instead of beef or pork) etc. It’s the ‘Cadillac’ (or if you’re a youngster, Tesla) of fish oils. We’re always finding ways to improve OmegaVia items to be best among its peers. We don’t spare any expense. This means not everyone who needs it can afford it. And that was not OK with us. So about 3 or 4 years ago, we decided to launch a different brand, InnovixLabs, that provided both high quality and high value, mostly targeting heart and gut health. InnovixLabs is also a direct-to-consumer brand – this means lower prices (no middle man.)

      Yes, InnovixLabs has two probiotics (and possibly more on the way) – one is a full-spectrum product with a LOT of different strains of probiotics. The second one (and I will probably write a blog about it) is based on a proprietary formula developed and extensively studied by Institut Rosell/Lallemand for mood. We actually buy the formula directly from them. It is the exact same formula used in two positive, published clinical studies. It’s the first commercial probiotic formula to have that degree of scientific support in the mood area.

      Curcumin supports joints/heart/mood. See Pycnogenol. The one study on curcumin and fertility was done in-vitro and in mice models using ungodly amounts of curcumin. The lesson there, if reproduction is still in the future, is to not take ‘ungodly’ amount of anything – while lowering inflammation through diet/lifestyle and increasing DHA. Oh, speaking of, we have a new DHA item too. 🙂

      Stay tuned – lots more to come.

      • Great, thanks! I went ahead and got some of the Curcumin when I ordered the (now back in stock!) magnesium. Should I take two Curcumin in the morning with the rest of my vitamins and breakfast of eggs and raw milk, or take the second Curcumin pill later in the day? I know it has a time release already….. And would it interfere with sleep at all if taken later? Or help sleep?

        • Hi John – I’d take the two curcumin pills in the morning with food and your other pills. The bioperine in the curcumin may help increase the absorption of the other nutrients as well. I have not heard about curcumin disturbing sleep…or helping it. The magnesium will help with relaxation and sleep. The Glycine in the mangesium glycinate will also help a little with relaxation and sleep.

          If sleep is an issue, try some lifestyle/diet stuff first: walk 10,000 steps a day outside during sunlight hours and without shades, no TV/screen time after sunset, wear blue-blocking uvex glasses, no alcohol before bedtime, no caffeine after morning, if your mind is racing (monkey brain), then consider yoga during the day and guided meditation in the evening. Lots of other tips but start here.

  15. Hi Lori – the Innovix magnesium item should be back in stock at Amazon in the next day or two. But if you’re in a rush, try Dr. Best (good value) or Jigsaw health (good pill size).

  16. Hi Vin,

    I have a 2 year old with a suspected fish allergy and I am worried about his omega 3 intake. I do feed him grass-feed milk/eggs with increased omega 3 on the label. Would you recommend taking Nordic Naturals Algae Omega? If so, do you have any opinions on the appropriate dose? Also, any thoughts on adding a magnesium supplement?


    • Hi Cuong – if you’re giving your child Omega-3 eggs and grass-fed milk, chances are low that you’re low in Omega-3. Cut back on vegetable seed oils that contain high levels of Omega-6. You might want to try one of the products reviewed here:

      Your best bet for adding magnesium is with small doses of powdered magnesium like Natural Calm into drinking water. Too much can cause a laxative effect, so work with your pediatrician if in doubt.

    • HI Eugene – Nutrigold makes good products. You know my opinions on multivitamins, but if you MUST take a multi, this one is OK. Much, much better than the mass market brands like Centrum and One-A-Day.

      • Hi, thanks, it’s for the relatives 🙂 finally bought Doctor Best Multi, like good components…except for Vit K, there are only K2 (menaquinone-7)

        Another question, please: Should i store OmegaVia & Innovix Omega 7 in the fridge? during the multi-day delivery nothing will happen?
        i read “the capsules is not terrible temperature, because there is no oxygen” is this true?

        • Hi Eugene – you do not need to store either product in the fridge. No need for concerns during shipping.

    • Hello, Vin 🙂
      Thank you for the article. ♡

      But now, I feel a little discouraged because I was thinking about getting a multi and now I don’t know what to do. 🙁

      I’m vegan since I was 15. I’m 28 now and I’m sure my diet is bad.
      I don’t eat junk, I’m just sure it’s not balanced.

      What would you reccomend me to take, and also, is it possible to get like a vitamins blood test? Lol…I guess it’d help to know what I lack of the most.

      Greetings! ♡♡♡

      • Hi Ana – it is impossible for me to tell you what you are lacking.

        As a vegan, I can make broad assumptions and say you’re likely low in B-vitamins, Choline, Vitamins D3 and A, DHA Omega-3, Calcium, Iron, Zinc etc. and that is all likely to be true but does not address your specific needs. I suggest (if you are truly wanting to get your diet and health straightened out) that you work with an Integrative health dietitian or nutritionist. Also, look into reports and programs by Dr. Chris Masterjohn. He has a some detailed information products you can buy to help you thru this.

        For now, you could start with a multi as a stop-gap. When my parents don’t listen to my diet advice (does anyone’s parent/s listen?) I give them Life Extension’s Two-Per-Day multi. It is still missing iron, choline, DHA, and adequate amounts of calcium etc. But it’ll cover some basics. If you think your diet is imbalance, add a multi like this and see if it helps while you figure out a long-term plan.

        As for tests, you can test for some but not all of these things. I’m a big believer in testing Omega-3 levels using Omega-3 index. That costs less than $50, so start there.

  17. Hi Vin,

    I read above information says choline is very important, may my wife takes more choline alfoscerate in the third trimester ? Choline alfoscerate is fine for the pregnancy ? If she can take it, will she take how many grams choline alfoscerate per day


    • Hi Bao – get your choline from egg yolks. I suggest you talk to her OB/GYN about taking it in supplement form.

  18. Hi Vin,

    Can you recommend any vitamin supplements for children? My kids can’t swallow pills yet and it really needs to be something chewable.

    Thank you,


    • Hi Lori – I can’t think of a single product that is really good. Sorry. If I were to concoct something for kids, it’d be half a dozen different products…even then it’d be insufficient.

  19. Hi vin, you said, ” taking Vitamin D without A and K2 is a bad idea,” but i am severe deficient of vitamin D and it is 3ng/ml only. My doc.prescribed me calcium with vitamin D (tayo 60k) and some multivitamin capsules. I am on these pills for the last three months and not very much happy with the results. Besides this, i am taking fish oil (ocean blue) without consulting doctor now everything seems to be going wrong. Should i take vitamin A alongwith vitamin D?

    • Hi Babli – if you’re under a doctor’s care, he or she should be directing you on everything, not me. However, if your D level is 3 ng/ml, you have a serious problem. I’d be shocked if 60,000 IU D3 tablets don’t raise those levels quickly. Permanently staying at that dose without A and K2 is not a good idea.

  20. Hi Vin,love your blog
    I am currently taking aspirin and an anti-platelet named Effient.I’m
    wondering what your reading and understanding would be in regards to supplementing with k2.My cardiologist has not commented on it and I take the Life Extensions super k about twice a week,5000 d3 every other day,along with omegavia fish oil,coq10,and 40mg Lipitor daily.I find I sleep much sounder when I take the vit k,but I am paranoid to take it and much prefer to take the innovix product..
    As a side note the omegavia fish oil is excellant I’ll spare the testimonial.

    • Hi Don – have you read this? I go into details about some misconceptions and risks of existing formulas.

      First generation anti-coagulants like coumadin/warfarin work by creating a false Vit K deficiency. So adding K1 and K2 to the mix counteracts some of the effects of those medications. So make sure both you and your doctor discuss this.

      I am generally not in favor of supplementing with K1 because the body recycles K1. So if you ate a salad last week, that is enough K1 to keep you going for a while. Hard to become K1 deficient if you eat any veggies. K2 is a different matter. You need a wide variety of K2. And you need it in the appropriate form. Our bodies need it in the ‘trans’ form. See the article above for an explanation.

      Current thinking is that K2 under 50 mcg per day will not interfere much with anticoagulant medications. If you are taking a higher dose, discuss with your doctor.

      PS: glad you’re happy with OmegaVia.

  21. Hi Vin, again good article with some nice points.
    I think multi’s in many cases would be better without Magnesium. Takes up too much space. Just let the consumer know they have to buy it on the side.
    And I think Thorne V is close to being a very good multi – if you take K2, Magnesium & Iodine on the side your butt is pretty covered 😉
    EXOS multi elite is also good. (EXOS brand is gonna go under Thorne from now on it seems).

    • Hi Nik – I’d prefer if multis COMPLETELY left out magnesium and/or listed it as present at 0%. This is because most people see magnesium listed on the side of the bottle and assume that the need for the mineral has been addressed. They move on, without realizing how deficient most people are and how desperately they may need it. From a marketing perspective NO multi brand/company will suggest the consumer buy magnesium in addition to the multi, for obvious reasons.

      To get a multi right, you’d need about a dozen pills per day. But who’d buy that? Even then, what’s right on paper, may not be right for you.

      EXOS is not bad. Still, 6 pills a day. I can think of several improvement I’d make to the formula, but that’s just me…and it would still be inadequate or inappropriate on an individual basis.

  22. Hi Vin,

    In an earlier comment here, you mentioned a Trace Minerals Supplent from Pure Encapsulations. My concerns about that product is that it has less than the RDA of Iodine (‘m on a low sodium diet and don’t get much iodine from salt) and the Vanadium level is about 17 times the amount someone gets from a well-balanced diet.

    Are these valid concerns? I’m having a hard time trying to find trace supplements in reasonable dosages. I can find sources for all major vitamins & minerals along with selenium, iodine & zinc. Do you think it would be a problem not supplementing copper, molybendum, chromium, manganese & boron?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Peter – iodine is something many people on low-sodium diets are low in. If it is a concerns, look into seaweed snacks – very popular these days. Or you may always take something like Life Extension’s Sea Iodine. I don’t know if the Vanadium levels in your trace minerals item is a concern – hard to answer that. Pure Encapsulations, I’m sure, have a good explanation and rationale. I take it once or twice a week.

  23. Hi Vin,

    What do you think of the new Multi for Men vitamin made by MegaFood? It has all the B’s in the correct form, mixed tocopherols Vitamin E, Vitamin K2 (MK7) and Choline. Only 2 pills per day.

    I believe it is short on the D3 requirements (only 800 IU) and no Vitamin K2 (MK4). For that, what do you think of Thorne’s new Vitamin D/MK4 product?

    Of course, magnesium (this multivitamin doesn’t pretend to have a sufficient quantity) and fish oil are still needed.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Joe – you had my hopes up when I first saw your comment. I didn’t go through the whole formula, but was already disappointed half a dozen lines through the Supplement Facts panel. The first line was a red flag – beta carotene is NOT Vitamin A. Beta carotene is a precursor to Vit A and some people do not convert it well to Vit A and they just turn orange instead. Yes, Vit D is just enough to prevent deficiency. Bad idea to consider K1 and K2 as one nutritional entity. They are different molecules that do different things. So, when the label tells me ’80 micrograms of K1/K2′, I have no clue how much of each is present. Folate and B12 are in the right form, but in the wrong quantity.

      I like Thorne’s D3/K2 mix.

      • Hi Vin,

        I actually wrote MegaFood on the K1/K2 breakdown in their formula, and they responded letting me know that it is a 50/50 ratio with 40 mcg of each.

        I see your point on the rest. I will continue to look for a better formula. Thanks!

  24. Vin…..I wish I could take you to the store with me and you could pick out a vitamin regimen. I thoroughly enjoy reading your great information. Thank you.

    • Hi Meg – I wish I could do that with you too! 🙂 There are lots of professional nutritionists who know what they are doing (and unfortunately just as many who’re still caught in the low-fat, high whole grain thinking from the 1990s) who can help you. If I were to go with you to the store to buy your customized vitamins, know that I’d have to spend a few hours REALLY getting to know your diet and lifestyle.

    • Hi Jerry – nothing wrong with them. ‘Raw food’ and ‘Food-derived’ are marketing buzz words that my colleagues in the supplement industry concoct. I know many vitamin formulators – they are scientists who have been ordered by the marketing department or company management to come up with new ways to differentiate their products in a crowded marketplace. These nicer-sounding formulas may make us feel safer (emotionally) but ultimately, multivitamins are a one-size-fits-all approach to compensating for dietary negligence and are grossly inadequate. How’s that for harsh judgment? 🙂

        • Hi Shameer – most of them don’t hurt. If you are the type to take a ‘greens’ powder, chances are you’ll add it to a green breakfast smoothie with relatively healthy ingredients. While you are doing that, you are not eating pancakes and drinking orange juice. So, are you getting leaner and healthier because of the greens or because you are not eating pancakes/cereal? Some ‘greens’ powders are worth taking. Others are mostly hype.

          Overall, any behavior that helps you avoid worse behavior is worth looking at. This is why ‘cleanses’ and ‘juicing’ seem to help people.

          A very good friend of mine lost 20 lbs after he began juicing. I let him enjoy his triumph. While juicing, he’d successfully avoided orange juice, breakfast cereal with skim milk, pancakes, donuts, toast with jam, and bagels.

  25. Hi Vin,
    I have been alternating the following daily:
    1. 1 capsule of Life Extension, Two-Per-Day Capsules (which has 37.5mg of B6)
    2. 1 capsule of Jarrow Formulas, B-Right (which has 35mg of B6)

    Recently I read some article that mentioned high dose of B6 may be unsafe including causing seizures to newborns –

    I’m getting worried has I have been taking this while nursing my baby for the past 1 year. Wondering if you could share your insights or point me to online resources that I could research more?

    Thanks and kind regards,

    • Hi Chris – good (and timely) question. Life Extension and Jarrow use the form of B6 called pyridoxal 5’-phosphate or P-5-P, the active form of B6. This is different from Pyridoxine hydrochloride, another (lesser) form of B6 used in cheaper mass-market products like Centrum and One-a-Day.

      Pyridoxine in cheaper products has been associated with nerve damage, while P-5-P has not. P-5-P has never been shown to cause issues. It turns out Pyridoxine causes some inhibition of P-5-P and that leads to B6 deficiency-like symptoms.

      Bottom-line: you are taking the good stuff. Stay away from the crappy stuff – you get what you pay for.

  26. Hi Vin,
    Love your products and have been buying more and more of them over the years. I would gladly buy a multi from your company, I’m sure. But for now, I have a question about your preferred source for Vitamin D3, Nutrigold. It’s sourced from Lanolin. I have a daughter who may be either allergic or sensitive to Lanolin as she seems to react badly with lip balms that contain it. Is there a second best choice you’d recommend after Nutrigold? Thanks so much for answering all these questions!

    • Hi Joanne – there’s a vegan D3 made by Doctors Best brand that you might want to try: I have not tried this product, but I know (and like) the owners of that company and their products.

      As for the Lanolin-based Vitamin D, I am not committed to any one brand. Most of them use the same lanolin-derived D3 from New Zealand. Lately, I’ve been using D3 from NOW Foods. What’s really critical is testing your blood levels. Most people are out of the woods if their levels are in the 40 to 60 range. But there are many of us who need it in the 60-80 range before other issues are resolved. If you look at lab tests, it says 30 to 100 is normal range – that’s too wide in my opinion. 30-40 may prevent some deficiency symptoms, but not all. And if you’re at 90 to 100, you could easily experience overdose symptoms, which can be even more miserable.

      The key with D3 is to get with your doctor and measure. D3 is a hormone – too little and too much can be bad for you. My level was in the high 50s a while back and my doctor wanted it in the high 70s. 5000 IU per day simply did not do the trick. So we went to 20,000 IU per day for a couple of weeks and then backed off. These are things that you need to tackle with a nutritionally-informed doctor and regular blood tests. It takes at least 3 blood tests before most people figure out what their dosage needs to be to maintain a level of 60-80.

      As for us making a multivitamin…thank you, I appreciate your trust in our products. But…you may have to wait for a while. The only way I could see us doing it is if the product comes in a ‘daily pack’ with 6 to 8 different pills at a cost of about $100 per month. I just don’t think that makes commercial sense. Again, thank you!

  27. Hi Vin,

    Great article. I have a few questions.

    1. I am surprised you didn’t mention calcium supplementation. What are your thoughts on supplementing calcium? Is it beneficial or waste of money?

    2. What are thoughts on the Multivitamin Elite product by Thorne Research (

    3. There seems to be a debate in the health community with respect to benefits (or lack thereof) of vitamin / antioxidant supplementation. I came across a couple of articles:

    Curious what your thoughts are?


    • Hi Shameer – calcium supplements may be necessary if diet is poor. If you eat meats cooked with the bone, and if you eat seafood, and vegetables, you should be getting enough calcium. Also, if you consume enough K2, the calcium that’s consumed is put to good use. But so many people take calcium supplements while they are magnesium, D3, and K2 deficient. That’s a total waste. If you take calcium, take it with these other three cofactors. Never take calcium without K2.

      I’m not a fan of the Thorne multivitamin – not the right form of A, not enough D3, not enough K2 or magnesium and on it goes.

      The antioxidant study you mention is a publication exercise. The pressure to publish is intense in academia. And real experiments cost big money. It is impossible to get any sort of meaningful takeaway from these meta-analyses. But, boy, the media love them! The input studies looked at the wrong type of A and E. These are fat soluble vitamins that need to be taken in conjunction with D3 and K1 and K2. You need to take A from animal or fish source, D3 (and not D2) at a dose so that your serum levels reaches 50-60 and E needs to have all 4 tocopherols and all 4 tocotrieneols, and the same with K2 complex. Ideally, you need to take 10:1 or 5:1 ratio of A to D. If you establish these factors as the study criteria, you will find a sum total of ZERO STUDIES to feed into your meta-analysis.

      With meta-analyses, if you start with crap, you end up with crap. And God forbid, if someone establishes health policy bases on this, that’d be crap to the third degree!

      Anyway, the things that I hope you take away from this are:

      1) Fat-solubles are a family. Get them from food or take them all as supplements at the proper ratios. They work synergistically.
      2) E is not a single entity, but 8 different ones.
      3) K2, likewise, is a spectrum of molecules.
      4) Food is better than supplements. Any day.

  28. Hi Vin,

    Astaxanthin seems to be the hot new antioxidant of the day. What are your thoughts on this? Any human studies showing this is legit in terms of claims made?

    • Hi Shameer – astaxanthin is popular. There are some fairly good studies on its effect on preventing LDL oxidation and moderating blood lipids, but the studies are small and probably not powerful and compelling enough to make the bold claims you might see. Some of the claims are over interpretation of the science, a result of eager marketers creating a cart-before-the-horse situation. That does not mean the science will not catch up to the label claims.

  29. Hi Vin,

    I have been studying supplements for months. I became your fan, after I found your article on Google. Your articles have provided me with a lot of reliable information. Thank you very much!

    I have one question! I understand that as the weather gets warmer, vitamin D supplements is no longer required when I get plenty of sun exposure. I am not yet sure how to determine the dosage of Vitamin A during periods of sufficient sun exposure without taking Vitamin D supplements. What is your opinion?

    • Hi Jay – thank you. The decision to supplement with Vitamin D3 during summer months depends on HOW MUCH mid-day sun you get, what your blood level is, your skin color, and how much D you consume as a part of your diet. Most people are unable or unwilling to get the right amount of sun exposure. Walking for 10 -15 minutes in the sun with everyday clothes is not enough. You need full body exposure (with beach wear) for 10-15 minutes a day during the middle of the day. No one has time for that! And people who have the time to do that are often not willing to expose themselves to that much ultraviolet radiation because they are concerned about their skin. I have a relative who is an avid golfer and lives in Singapore (near the equator with intense year-round sun) who felt that his regular golfing would sustain his Vitamin D levels. I was skeptical and asked him to get his D level checked. It was 11. That’s seriously deficient. My point is, unless you test your levels, there is no way to know how to address your situation. Talk to your doctor.

      As for Vitamin A, no harm in taking 10,000 IU daily. Or you can take 50,000 IU once a week. A 10:1 ratio of A to D is generally regarded as optimal, but there is no proof that this ratio needs to be strictly adhered to.

  30. Good article. I agree with your assessment that multi-vitamins are shyt.

    I’ve been taking Magnesium Citrate for the last few years. I started taking it for constipation related to taking tumeric, both of which helped with my IBSD. I really need to take it now because I’m on a ketogenic diet, which makes your kidneys pump out way more water, along with Mg, K, and NaCl (and I suspect zinc) just like a diuretic drug does.

    Anyways, I’ve researched different types of magnesium supplements out there at a price per mg of usable (absorbable) Mg ratio, and I find that the citrate form still works for me (besides, I still need the laxative effects).

    However, I would think that a supplement made of “magnesium chloride” would be an extremely high density and a very well absorbed version. But there are none out there (other than topical “oil” crap). Why is that? Would there be an inherent problem with an ingestible MgCl version of the supplement.

    • Hi John – a couple of points:

      1) Magnesium chloride is a fairly strong laxative and it is not well absorbed. This is why you don’t see it being used as supplements. Citrate is well-absorbed and cheap, but it has a laxative effect too. In your case, that works well. If someone cannot afford the more expensive non-laxative ‘organic’ forms, I tell them to take citrate in small doses split up throughout the day. This reduces the chance of unwanted laxative effect.

      2) Ketogenic diets, if done incorrectly, can severely starve gut microbiome. Gut microflora get their energy from soluble fibers found in vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits, and legumes. Issues caused by a depleted microbiome is common when ketogenic diets are low in vegetables. You can always get around this by supplementing with prebiotic fibers. Our sister company makes a good one:

  31. Thank you very much Vin!
    When the weather is good, I like to exercise for an hour three times a week in short clothes. But as your advice suggests, I should test my levels first. Thanks!

    And If my level is within the proper range, I don’t need to take vitamin D during the period get of sufficient sun exposure in summer, is this right? So what you mean is that I should take ‘10,000 IU of vitamin A daily or 50,000 IU once a week’ during the period when I do not take vitamin D in summer ? Did I understand your point?

    • Hi Jay – once you get your blood tested for D levels, you should talk to your doctor about what to do next. If it is deficient (very likely at the end of winter and early spring), then you can either supplement and/or get it from sun exposure. Ideally, if it gets cold in the winter where you live, then, it is likely that you need to supplement in the winter and spring. If your blood levels of D is sufficient just from sun exposure by the end of summer, you may not need to supplement during summer and fall/autumn.

      I may have confused you a bit with the Vitamin A comment. Your body needs Vitamins A, D3, K2 and possibly E in certain loose ratios. You don’t need to take all at the same time, but if you take a lot of D3, then you should consider taking A, K2, and may be Vit E as well because they all work together. These 4 vitamins are called ‘fat soluble vitamins’ and they are dependent on each other. So, if you take a lot of D3 in supplement form or if you get a lot of sun exposure, your diet needs to have adequate A, K2, and E or you will need to supplement with those.

  32. Yes, my father in law gave me the “Why I don’t take supplements” lecture (I’m a nurse and I could not function without supplements). About a month later he was dead. At 77. Now maybe YOU haven’t heard that our soils were 40% deficient in minerals in the 1940’s? And the last figure I could find was 1994 and that figure was that the US soils were 85% in minerals. And maybe YOU haven’t heard that the centenarian cultures (about 10 of them – Rare Earths, Forbidden Cures) all shared one serious thing in common, Glacial milk with 60 or more trace minerals. And what do you want to bet very few people even know about them and feweer get them all. And I must urge you to listen to free Youtube lectures Dead Doctors Don’t Lie, Somebody’s Got to Go To Jail! , Dead athletes Don’t Lie, and Black Gene Lies. These are talks by Joel Wallach, DVM, ND. He does his research, is a pathologist and I bet YOU haven’t done 25,000 necropsies and 3000 autopsies to gain your insight. Well he has. He was a pathologist working with NASA monkeys when he discovered cystic fibrosis is NOT a genetic disease, it a selenium deficiency. And he was blackballed for saying so. Don’t bother with his other videos, yhes they are a big bunch of ads for his products, but you know what, he came up with his formulas to simplify things for people who wouldn’t change their diets because it would have been too complicated. I can sympathize. I nag and pester the people I love to quit the soda and quit the boxed and canned and fake foods but do they listen to me? Nooooooo. The best I can do is get them to take vitamins. And they do. And I found a great knockoff of one of wallach’s liquid multivitamins, and I still will have to get his minerals because the market hasn’t come up with much competition there yet. I tried with kelp but it wasn’t dense enough. And my hubby is one of the people I pester the most, because if he dies, he refused to let me finish after my LPN and get my RN. I had ONE semester. And he made me quit. So I can’t afford for him to die. The puny amount of insurance he has for me would not take care of what I would need to do to get my RN after he died. So I need to keep him healthy.

  33. Hi and thank you for your info.

    I understand your reasoning. I checked most of the multis I have been taking and they have been deficient in one or more forms of vitamins. For example, Now Adam only says FOLATE-they do not say which form. Or is that enough to trust it?

    Was wondering if you know this brand: Emerald Laboratories. Their multi has problems, like the wrong form of K.

    But thinking instead of getting a multi, which will always be one size fits all….I wonder about these strategies:

    Getting single nutrients like B-complex, A and D, Calcium and Magnesium.
    For examle, Emerald’s B-complex caught my eye–> because it has the preferred forms of B6 and Folate.

    It looks better than the Jarrow one you mentioned, but I am not sure.

    Wonder too what you think of a cal/mag supplant here 4 tabs have 1000 mg of calcium (citrate) and 400 mg of magnesium (aspartate)- and taking two a day (500/200) (this one is Bluebonnet). Are they better alternatives?

    Last–my heart doctor just prescribed the Japanese equivalent of Lovaza (same exact formula and manufacturer, but here they only do 2 grams, the equivalent of half a US dosage). Since it is cheap on the Japanese health insurance system, I was thinking to take a gram of Omegavia, or if not available here in Japan, 1 gram of Nutrogold triple strength to roughly equal the effect of a full dose of Lovaza.

    Sorry for the many questions, but hope it might be useful for others as well.

    • Hi Paul – overall, I still stand by my suggestion to take individual supplements instead of multivitamins. But which ones you take depends on your diet and your health goals. Having said that, the B-complex from Emerald health looks acceptable. I generally do not like Cal/Mag combinations because you end up getting insufficient amounts of both. Aim for 400 mg of Magnesium and then supplement with K2 and A to make sure that the calcium in your diet is properly utilized.

      Since your Omega was prescribed by your doctor, it is best if he/she approves the additional Omegas.

  34. Thanks Vin

    One of the hardest things when going from multis to individual nutrients is knowing what is NOT needed. Also, choosing nutrients not in too little or too large quantities and not choosing brands with inflated prices.

    I had a balloon cateritization 15 years ago with no recurrence, fairly decent diet, baby aspirin, lipitor at the lowest dosage of 5 mg and good blood data for the most part. About 15 percent overweight. Age 66 male living in Japan (so more fish,less red meat, lots of organic veggies.) History of asthma. Until now it has been multis, but I hope I am getting wiser. The vitamin K is something I probably need as I get older (I had spinal compression and a hip replacement recently).

    Here is my short list. Wonder how rationale it is. I used your article and comments.

    1) Vitamin A 10,000 fish liver oil (or acetate) but very little beta carotene. (current us multi with 10,000 of which 40 percent is retinyl Palmitate)

    2) Vitamins (B-right or Life Extension, which has overall higher amounts, but I think B-right is fine. Concerned that both products have some Pyrodoxine in addition to P-5-P.
    (Life Extension does not mention the ratio but has 75 mg of B6.)
    Dilemma#1 Should I be?

    3) Vitamin C-
    Dilemma 2: Do I need to add it. It is always in a multi. I figure about 200-300 is about right?

    4) Vitamin D such as 2000 IU D (Nutrigold D3) in the warm months and 2 tabs (4000) IU in the autumn and winter.

    5) Full Spectrum VITAMIN K2 by InnovixLabs if it ships to Japan. (Similar to Life extension, which seem ok but maybe I do not need double the K2- maybe 500 mcg is enough).

    Life Entension is:

    6) Magnesium: I have found these.
    Advanced MAGNESIUM (by InnovixLabs).Highly Bioavailable Bisglycinate + Malate Formula..

    Dilemma 3- Do I need to add some kind of calcium?

    (In all multis they are always together in a ratio of 2-1. But do we need? How to determine. I have yogurt 3-4 times a week.) There are brands such as

    CARLON Labs Best Form Chelated cal mag
    or Bluebonnet (both bisglycinate amino chelate calcium and megnesium glycinate chelated) with the former having 500/200 in 3 capsules and the latter having 200/100 in one tablet, so I would need to take 6 of the first 4 of the second to get at least 400 mcg of magnesium, but do I need 800-1000 calcium? Better to get calcium separately????

    7) Already take prescription fish oil.

    8) Some form of vitamins E gamma such as Jarrow toco sorb or the one you recommended above.

    Dilemma 4: That leaves the question of whether I need to take trace minerals that are normally in a multis. I have found two that look good.

    Now Foods
    with zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molbydenum, and postassium, PLUS 250 mg EACH of calcium carbonate and MAG Oxide, citrate and aquamarine. (Which would either conflict or supplement the Cal/Mag in separate s unless I cut down on the Cal/Mag tablets. so get a total of 400 or 500 of Mag.

    Life extension Trace minerals (no selenium, but boron and vanadyl sulfate)

    Trace Minerals from Pure Encapsulations
    with iodine

    That is what I came with. have no idea if too little or too much (some things not really necessary. Wonder what is rational and what needs to be tweaked. Or should I not get too worked up about differences?

    Thanks. This should be my last question.

    • Hi Paul – you’re doing a pretty good job putting individual products together. I’d still suggest you work with a dietitian or nutritionist to nail down your items due to your health history.

      I like the Pure Encapsulations trace minerals. I’ve been taking those a couple of times a week.

      I like the Jarrow B complex. Start small with K2 and go up on dose if you react well. How much D3 you need depends on your sun exposure and blood levels.

      Be sure to add some Prebiotic fiber to the mix.

  35. Thank you Vin! Hard to find those specialists in Japan (which is much less into rational supplements, but think I can get my blood vitamin D levels tested

    1) For that reason, I will buy the 2000 IUs from Nutrigold since I can easily go up or down by season.

    2) Vit K, so start with 1 tab of 500mcg from Innovix and go up if I tolerate. (Hmmm how, will I know?)

    3) Jarrow B-Light? so I should not be concerned that it has both Pyridoxine and P-5-P? Ok.

    4) Not sure why you mentioned Probiotics? I eat lots of veggies. And I eat whole grains and not super high fat. Something generally recommended? Or misunderstanding?

    5) Last want to check on Calcium. If I take 400 mcg of Max, the old wisdom of needing 800 of calcium is not true anymore? Any minimum amount you would recommend.

    Now to see if Innovix ships to Japan.


    • Hi Paul – there are many licensed dietitians and integrative medical practitioners here in the US who consult via Skype and other such technologies. I recommend this to many people when I’m traveling through Asia. Your product choices seem fine to me – I’ve taken all of them before.

      400 mg of calcium is adequate if you take K2 and magnesium and assuming your diet is fairly good.

      I did not mention Probiotics. I mentioned PREbiotics. It is a fiber that acts as food to probiotics. One thing that’s become clear in the last 10 years is that most aspects of health are somehow connected to the health of the gut microbiome. Nurturing the gut is key.

  36. Hi Vin

    Looks like Innovix does not ship to Japan, which means I cannot get the Vitamin K I guess or the Fish Oil. Maybe I will have to find similar products (Life Extension/Nutrigold) or perhaps there is some way to order from Japan.



    • Hi Paul – our customer service team will contact you shortly to find a way to make this happen. There are regulatory issues in Japan that prevent easy commerce in bulk quantities, but we may be able to find a solution.

  37. Thanks, Vin.

    I just got an email from the company. With Iherb most supplements except a few like Melatonin and hormones and some food products are ok.

    The shipping lets you know if you are over the tax free amount, which is somewhere in the area of 140 US dollar equivalent. So keeping the orders small matters. (i herb manages to do free shipping to japan so if you get added to iherb it would increase your visibility here.

    So let me send a small order as a kind of Guinea pig. I will post here how it goes.

  38. My last question, Vin. Now that I have everything, I wonder if this is ok. Does anything preferably have to be together? My plan for after my current multi runs out next week.

    Everyday AM with breakfast or lunch (or some at breakfast, some at lunch?)
    1) Vitamin A 10,000 Fish liver oil and real palmate
    2) B-Right
    3) Vitamin C Vitamin Code 1 capsule (250 mg-even though label says 2 capsules)
    4) Famile-E
    5) Full spectrum K2
    5) Co-enyzme Q 400 mg
    6) Fish oil total 3 grams

    Mon- Wed-Fri Summer 2000 IU Vitamin D3 Lanolin
    Every day winter 4000 IU Of this Vitamin D3

    Mon-Wed–Fri Only Trace Minerals and Prebiotics with my yogurt (Japanese yogurt is full fat)

    Every evening before bed Advanced Magnesium 400 and Calcium 500 (or better to have with other Vitamins, or some AM some PM????)

    Thanks for any advice on best combinations….


    • Hi Paul – this sounds well planned. Although I am not convinced that you need calcium daily, but that depends on your diet. I’d move the calcium to the morning and keep just the Magnesium at night.

  39. Vin, was looking at more evidence of K2 and calcium to make sure that the calcium does not contribute to hardening of the arteries. I found this

    Good to know.

    Also thinking about your advice that taking “Vitamin D without A and K2 is a bad idea, ” because they all work together. So am thinking that since I eat more than a quart of plain fuel fat yogurt a week, and since I had an angioplasty in 2002, I should maybe avoid too much calcium supplements.

    Then I came up with this idea, Do you think it is rationale?

    1a) UNTIL NOW I took NOW Adam with only 80 mcg of mixed K1 and K2.
    1b) I NOW take Full SPECTRUM K2 (1 capsule) but thinking to up to two because of previous angioplasty. So 1000 mcg of MK-4 daily because of the previous angioplasty. At age 66 doctor says there is the beginning of recurrence of lack of plasticity though numbers are still good with aspirin and statin.

    Before I took cal/mag from bluebonnet (2 capsules 1000 cal citrate and 400 mag aspartrate). Since I have a lot of tablets left, I thought instead of just tossing and taking NO calcium that I go from BEFORE TO AFTER. Is it rationale? Or just tossing the bluebonnet is a better idea?

    2a) Before Calcium Citrate 1000/Magnesium aspartate 400 per TWO capsules (Bluebonnet)

    2b) After: Take 500 calcium/200 magnesium in the AM (1 bluebonnet)
    take innovix 200 (2 capsules) in the PM

    Total calcium 500 (AM)
    Total magnesium 200 AM 200 PM (400 total)

    Or is it better to take only the innovix Mag and toss the cal/mag from Bluebonnet?

    3) Vitamin A from NOW 10,000 daily
    4) Vitamin D3 2000 every other day summer
    Vitamin D3 5000 4000 every day winter

    Thanks.. the more I read the more questions I have. Sorry about that.

    • Hi Paul – your Plan 1b sounds better. I have been taking two Full Spectrum K2 daily. Instead of tossing the bottle of Cal/Mag, perhaps take a couple of those pills a week until you’ve used them all up. When you’re taking calcium, you may need a little more magnesium. A and D3 looks OK.

  40. Hi vin!
    I have some questions about how to store supplements. I read on Google that ‘store in a cool, dry place ‘ this doesn’t mean refrigerator. This because If the outside moisture comes into contact with a cold object, condensation may increase the humidity.

    What about softgels like vitamin D or fish oil?

    I’m taking some softgels – Vitamin A,D,K and fish oil. I live in a hot area, and if I don’t run the air conditioning, the temperature in my bedroom is about 30 degrees, and the humidity is over 75 percent. When I put them in the bedroom, I found that softges would stick together. So every time I took, I had to shake the bottel and separate them. But when I started to store them in the refrigerator, I didn’t have to shake. But recently, reading some of the articles made me question about store them in the refrigerator.

    What is your opinion?

    • Hi Jay – ‘cool, dry place’ usually means that a non-refrigerated medicine cabinet is fine. We tell our customers that if they do not intend to use a bottle of fish oil supplements for a few months, they may store in refrigerator or freezer. The issue with storing it cold for everyday use is that each time you open the bottle for taking a few pills out, some condensation settles on the outside of the capsule. This may have a negative impact on the product.

      However, if you live in a high-humidity region, then keeping the pills outside the refrigerator may cause some issues too. In your case, you may be better off with the product in the fridge.

  41. Great article, thank you! I am new to the use of supplements, I’ve only been taking magnesium, Nordic Naturals Omega with D, and a multi (with 1000 IU of vit. D) for one month. But after much researching, including your articles, it’s time to get it right..First let me say that I am a healthy 61 year old, 5’4″ and 120 pounds, eat pretty close to Paleo, no smoking or drinking, exercise regularly. I suffer from anxiety but find that mindfulness and meditation practices greatly help. I do have difficulty sleeping, waking up often throughout the night. I live in Minnesota, so had my vitamin D level checked yesterday, it was 35.2. This is after taking 2000 IU of Vit. D each day for the last month. I’ve also been taking 200 mg of magnesium for the last month, thinking it might help with sleeping. It’s magnesium lysinate glycinate chelate. It’s causing constipation. Here’s what I ordered and am thinking os taking each day:
    1. Continue with the magnesium, but add 200mg. of citrate to offset the constipation. For a total of 400 mg of magnesium a day, hoping it will help with sleep.
    2. Increase Vit. D3 to 5000 IU a day in order to get my Vit. D level up to around 60. I plan to have it tested again in a couple months.
    3. Omegavia Fish Oil, just ordered it. Take 1000 unopposed EPA a day.
    Because you recommend Vit. A, K2, and E along with D3, I ordered:
    4. Now brand Vit. A, 10,000 IU
    5. Vit. K2, Innovix Labs Full Spectrum, the one you recommend. You say to start low, and go up…to what?
    I didn’t get any Vit. E, not sure I need it. I also ordered:
    6. Jarrow B-Right
    7. Pure Encapsulations Trace Minerals. You recommend taking only twice a week.
    I’m thinking of adding the Mood Probiotic to help with my generalized anxiety disorder.
    Is this about right? When should I take them? Are some meant to take in the evening, like the magnesium? It seems like a lot, but after much studying my diet and lifestyle, seems about right.

    • Hi Roxanne – glad you found the article useful.

      1. 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 in the winter time is inadequate. I’d go with 4000-5000 IU per day in the Fall/Winter and down to 2000 IU in Spring and Summer, depending on how much sun you get in the summer.

      2. And sun may have something to do with your sleep quality. Get a LOT of direct bright sun exposure without shades in the first few hours of the day. Do not eat/drink after dark and do not expose yourself to bright lights or screen (phone/TV/iPad) etc after dark. Do all your eating during daylight hours.

      3. Magnesium is not known to cause constipation…if anything, the opposite. Try this from our sister company:

      4. You’re fine on the Vits A, D, K2, and E. Take 1 K2 per day. If you have high coronary calcium score or are concerned about arterial calcification, go up to two K2 capsules a day.

      I’d take the D3 and B-vitamins in the morning. The rest is not important, as long as it is with a meal. Take Magnesium at night or with dinner.

      In addition to the Mood Probiotic, consider eating prebiotic rich foods and possibly this:

      Perhaps consider Collages as well. I like Vital Proteins.

      I think you’re doing well so far. Just remember that no one approach will work for everyone and foods are always better than pills. If you can talk yourself into eating grass-fed liver, you’d be in good shape.

  42. Hi Vin

    Thanks for the previous info. I found that having even 8 bottles of stuff (your vitamin K2, b right, famil E, occasional trace minerals, magnesium, etc. became confusing.

    Do started looking at Life Extension 2 capsules. The ratio of pyrododixine to P5P seems even less than B right- 65mg to 10mg.

    Is this possibly too low? On the other hand, their nega multi called Mix has the reverse:
    5 mg pyrodoxine and 100 mg (!!!!!!) P5P.

    Isn’t that too much?

    I figured with a multi i could fill in the gaps with extra k2, D and 8-possibly E. Still would be too many pills but most would be from the same bottle.

    One other point. Many of the vitamins sold at Iherb with P5P and Quatrefolic or similar ( L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate calcium salt, etc.) seem to be sold out. Is it a coincidence or is there suddenly a demand for these newer forms and the manufacturers can’t keep up?



    • Hi Paul – I don’t have strong opinions on the ratio of Pyridoxine and P5P. I think you’d get varying opinions if you ask around. If managing multiple bottles is a challenge, I can understand the appeal of this Life Extension product. It’s better than most, but the formula is full of berry and herbal extracts. I think they’d have been better off focusing capsule space and cost on nutrients instead. I am not aware of any reasons why these products are sold out…

  43. Thanks, Vin.

    Yes, too much of the herbs.

    Meanwhile I did find this in 4 capsules. If Herb adds it it would be great.
    B6 P-5-P 50 mg and (6S)-5 Methyltetrahydrofolate 400mcg.

    I can top off with some fish oil and Vitamin D. Not sure if their 10 mg of Full spectrum tocopherols and tocotrienals needs boosting. They have 100 mg. of Bisglycinate Mag so I could top off. Still would not require as many bottles.

  44. Vin, Thank you for the proper formulation of Innovix K2. It has been an exhaustive search safari getting to your website. Unfortunately the nutritional supplement industry as a whole has become an obstacle to getting good information and supplement products. There are many companies dispensing false information and stand at the ready to take your money. Thanks for your research and your formulations.

    • Hi Peter – glad you found the information here useful. The US supplement industry has issues. No doubt. There are several levels of issues – the biggest and worst offenders are sellers of weight loss, body building, and sexual enhancement pills. These three subcategories of supplements are often the most blatant offenders of science, ethics, and law.

      The next, less egregious, level of offenders are the smaller, internet brands who sell mainstream stuff like Curcumin, fish oil, or Vitamin D, but are not as buttoned up with testing and documentation regulations.

      Fortunately, for Vitamin K2, most of the players appear to be following basic regulations. The issue with Vitamin K2 is the widespread and self-serving messaging that MK-7 is the only form of K2 that is necessary or that MK-7 is superior to MK-4 and the other forms of K2 because it has a longer half-life in the blood. That is simply not the case. Vitamin K2 is a group of similar compounds and MK-4 has slightly different function than MK-7, simply by how the body transports and stores each.

  45. Hi Vin,

    What do you think about vitamin c? Natural vs. synthetic? They both have the same chemical make up. It’s been great for me when I’m sick. I take 15-20 grams and my flu goes away pretty quick. Thank you,


    • Hi Jerry – Vitamin C is critical. Vitamin C deficiency is more prevalent than most people realize, with about 25% of lower income individuals suffering from it. There are SO MANY things that Vitamin C is responsible for that it’s a no-brainer to have some Vit C pills around. It’s cheap, safe, and easy to get. I really don’t care if it is natural or synthetic form of ascorbic acid – that’s something Facebook might argue and fight about, but you won’t find scientists arguing about. There is also some evidence that Vitamin C tolerance goes up during times of illness, so your ability to tolerate otherwise stomach-upsetting doses may prove that point. For most people 500 mg every couple of days ought to make up for dietary shortfalls.

  46. The vitamin A you recommend from Now contains synthetic Retinyl Palmitate. Do you have another recommendation for natural retinol for those who don’t eat liver?

    • Hi Brent – I think Vital Nutrients and Klaire Labs have fish-derived Vitamin A. You may want to poke around a bit. Might require some searching. I don’t have an issue with retinyl palmitate, but if you do, the two brands above, especially Klaire is a good option.

  47. >Yup – meats, egg yolks, and animal products. All things the government told us to avoid.

    You gotta be kidding. The government has been in bed with the meat and dairy industry promoting these unhealthy products to every American starting in grade school for over half-a-century.

    • Hi Max – nope, I’m not kidding.

      Egg yolks, liver, salmon, blueberries, seaweed, nuts are all nature’s vitamins because they are full of nutrients. Who the government is in bed with is irrelevant to what nutrients are found in these foods. If you are ethically, morally, or environmentally opposed to eating eggs, salmon, or meats, we totally get it and applaud your stance.

      You’re certainly not alone if you don’t want to eat liver! But that does not change the fact that liver from grass-fed cattle is possibly the single most nutrient-dense substance available for consumption.

  48. Hi! I realize I’m late to the party and might not get a reply. LOVE the article. A few questions…
    1. Is Cod Liver Oil a good supplement for obtaining D3 and Vitamin A?

    2. Is Topical Magnesium Oil a good magnesium source?

    3. Is eating the hard european cheeses going to give a person enough vitamin K that they won’t need to supplement?


    • Hi Kimmie – you’re not late to this party! 🙂

      True Cod liver oil has some Vitamin A and D3. But it’s not a potent source of either. If you consume it regularly, along with organ meats, you may be fine without mainstream supplements.

      The issue with Cod liver oil supplements is that A and D3 are often removed from the oil and added back. Often the stuff added back in not from Cod. It may even be synthetic. Vitamin A from fish liver or palmitate does the trick. If you can find fish-based Vit A, get some. I’ve tried NOW Foods 10,000 and 25,000 IU Vitamin A with good results. D3, well, most are from lanolin. That’s fine…but get it from sun exposure as much as you can. There are benefits to sun-derived D over lanolin-based D that I can’t quite get into here.

      Topical Magnesium oil is a poor source of Magnesium at best. Epsom salts are fair but you need to do it almost every day to build up Magnesium levels. Supplements liek this from our sister company are OK: but, really, you cannot beat veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes for Magnesium…also they have potassium and that is just as critical.

      As for K2, yes, I think if you eat European hard cheeses and chicken dark meat, you should be OK on K2.

  49. Hi! Great article Vin , thank you.
    I was wondering if taking greens blend poweder (maybe something like Paradise Herbs, ORAC-Energy Greens) could fill the gap between vitamin and minerals needs and the diet we consume, I believe it contains natural forms of vitamin and minerals , what do you think?

    • Hi Khaled – green blend powders may be useful. Depends on what’s in it, how clean it is, your diet, and what your goals are etc. A teaspoon or two mixed into a smoothie is fine. But I don’t consider it an alternative for vegetable consumption. So, it’s hard to give you a clear answer.

  50. Buon giorno Mr.Vin,
    I have finally managed to order some of your products, Curcumin and Vitamin K!
    I don’t know if you remember me trying to order it from Italy. I ordered Mg and K2 from UK and it never arrived. But I didn’t give up and I have finally suceeded trough IHERB. Unfortunatelly your Magnesium was out of stock so, patience…next time.
    One brief question: which of your products are good for reinforcing the knee cartilage and what is the cause of it getting thinner?

    Thank you in advance. Your blogs rock!
    Vin for the president, now!


    • Hi Ajumi – thanks for the kind words. 🙂 You’ll be happy to know that iHerb will have the InnovixLabs Magnesium very soon.

      We do not have any products that rebuild knee cartilage. For that, I suggest a combination of Glucosamine, MSM, and Collagen, none of which we sell. However, several of our customers use a combination of our EPA or OmegaVia plus the InnovixLabs Curcumin to help with occasionally achy joints.

  51. Finally, Yes! I just checked it yesterday and found out that IHERB has now almost all of your products! I l ordered Mg and omega via plus. So glad. Thanks for the cartilage suggestion.

    Question 1: I am taking 5 drops of rosita’s ratfish oil but I recently read on you blog about fish oil that it should absolutely not contain a vit.D otherwise the EPA and DHA won’t get assimilated. Rosita containes a vit. D and I wonder now if I have spent my money uselessly. What do you think about Rosita’s oil:

    Question 2: I have an intertendine calcification in my right arm, close to shoulder. Currently I cannot esagerate with certain movements otherwise it hurts. I have started taking your vit. K2 from last month. Should I increase the intake and for how long or should I momently switch to Thorne’s high dosage liquid K2 (1 drop a day? for how long?)

    Question 3: is it better to suspend the intake of K2, few weeks prior to surgery?

    Dear Dr. Vin, thank you so much for taking your time to respond to our questions. You are such a knowledgeable, compationate and caring human not easy to find nowadays.
    I appreciate your work and dedication.


    • Hi Ayumi – the Rosita ratfish oil is a traditional whole food. As long as you have a way to verify the purity and cleanliness, I see no issues in anyone taking this product. Just make sure it is not oxidized/rancid. It is somewhat low in Omegas and fat-soluble vitamins if you take a few drops. A few drops alone will not meet your Omega-3 needs.

      I don’t have any issues with taking Vitamin D along with EPA and DHA Omega-3. There is no hindrance or competition between the two. My problem with taking D3 and Omega-3 together is that you cannot change the dose of one without changing the other. You may need more or less D3 than what is present in the product. Due to level of sun exposure, most people need more D3 in the Winter/Spring and less in Summer/Fall. When you combine the these two nutrients, it is hard to make these small but important changes seasonally.

      Re – calcification. Vitamin K2 is a long term solution that also requires Vitamins A, D3, and Magnesium. Your calcification did not happen overnight and Vitamin K2 will not remove it overnight. In published studies that looked at arterial flexibility (a reasonable proxy for calcification anywhere), people saw benefits after 2-3 years (not months!). Not sooner. Dosage was 180 mcg of MK-7. We don’t know if the addition of MK-4 makes a difference, but I imagine it helps. I take 2 InnovixLabs Vitamin K2 daily.

      Re surgery – talk to your doctor about this. Fortunately, if your doctor wants you to stop K2, it is easy to do. In one of two days, virtually all K2 will be cleared from the blood because half-life is short.

  52. Thank you for your kind and helpful reply.
    I am very determinate to succeed. I will continue taking vitamin K. Your one is the best and this is the reason why it gets sold so fast on I-HERB. Currently, they are again out of stock and are selling one at a time due to high demand.
    In the meantime, if I run out of your K2 I will have to find a temporary substitute.
    What is your opinion about this one:

    Thank you in advance,

  53. Hi Vin

    Taking a range of stuff

    Your K2
    -Cal and magnesium About 600 mg/300 mg
    -Vitamin D3 (3000 summer, 5000 winter combined from several of these supplements)
    -Life extension two capsules a day multi
    -Dr’s Best coenzyme q 400
    -your newer epa/dpa in smaller capsules as large ones sold out on iHerb (1 gram’s worth-the maximum dose seems different on these two products for some reason
    -Prescription Fish oil (japanese version of lovaza but only available in 2 gram micro capsule size). So total of supplental and prescription is 3 grams.


    For 17 years i have been on Lipitor(5 to 10 mg). I had an angioplasty in 2002. Starting last year (when i embarked this fuller supplement regimen), my ck levels went to about 500 to 700 and have stayed there. Dr. tried lower dose of lipitor, combined with
    Ezetimibe, then only
    Ezetimibe. Result-No change in high ck levels but lower good to bad cholesterol ratio. Low density lipoprotein went from 100 to 125 I recall.

    Next he suspects the thyroid, and although I had thyroiditis shortly after the Fukushima nuclear explosion, two years ago it was normal.

    So when Dr heard I was taking vitamins he suggested I take one without iodine and that he would take blood samples in another 5 weeks.

    Anything else in supplements to avoid?

    I wonder about vitamin D. On the one hand a low amount is associated with thyroid issues so it seems useful.

    But i read somewhere that too much can impact the immune system.

    While it seems clear my ck levels are not due to lipitor, they are too high fir the doc. No Myalgia.

    I also take aspirin, lexapro, Elipta asthma med, Cromylyn sodium (intal), montelukast, Ezietiembe and Candesartan.

    Short of a muscle biopsy, I want to avoid anything that could impact ck levels.


    • Hi Paul – your supplement routine by itself isn’t worrisome, but based on your list of prescription meds, you have multiple crosscurrents that need to be considered.

      If your Vitamin D is in the 30-60 range, you should be fine. Given you dosage, that’d probably where you are.

      There are several causes for elevated creatine kinase (CK) numbers and most require medical intervention to varying degrees. I’d be clearly stepping into a medical role if I were to advise you on what’s causing the high CK numbers and what to do about it. So, I’ll let your seemingly competent doctor handle that. It’s a somewhat lengthy process of elimination to find out the root cause. For now, it appears that he suspects thyroid issue, which makes sense.

      Having said all that, the list of medications you’re on suggests that you would benefit tremendously from going on a low-sugar, low-grain, anti-inflammatory diet. Basically an 80% vegetable and 20% meat (fish, meat, eggs) diet that is very low in grains. Zero sugar and alcohol.

  54. TO: Vin Kutty
    1) RE: “Maybe, just maybe, eat your liver and eggs in the midday sun in the backyard. Naked. You make Vitamin D for free and the neighbors move out in a hurry. It’s a win-win. I know. Brilliant.”
    ……that was hilarious THANK YOU!!!! I have severe depression and trapped in the worst state/city to have this disorder (near Seattle). Humor really helps
    2) RE:
    “The FDA’s DeLancey explains that the problem with enteric coatings is that they can prevent the uptake of supplements and medications that are best absorbed through the stomach. According to DeLancey, most of the studies the FDA is aware of indicate that fish oil is best absorbed in the stomach rather than the gut. ”
    …do u have any research/opinion on this?
    3) What’s your take on “natural vs synthetic” enteric coatings? what specific natural versions would u recommend if any?
    4) My doctor says i should be careful with niacin intake because of liver problems. Do u know any multivitamins with low or no niacin and also a multivitamin with no iron in it?
    5) do u know any websites with a search tool u can type or check off ingredients u want and don’t want in a multivitamin supplement and it will populate product lists that fit your criteria?
    6) Recommended health shake name/brand?
    7) If based on your BMI u need much more than 2000 calories/day do u need more vitamin and mineral etc intake than average person w 2000 calorie needs? example – if my BMI says i need 25% more calories than average person does that mean i need 25% more RDA of ALL vitamins minerals acids etc?
    8) Can a doctor or nutritionist measure exactly what your individual RDA of all vit/mineral/acids is based on having a high metabolism?
    sorry so many questions. would really appreciate detailed answers if u don’t mind.
    Thanks for your articles!

    • Hi Marty – thank you. Lots of good question!

      1. Humor – call it Vitamin H. It’s as critical as sunshine and social support. I’m certain that if someone were to do a study of the effect of funny stuff or music, they’d find it makes a difference in mental health, especially in sun-starved places like the Pacific Northwest.

      2. Enteric coating and comments by FDA official. The quote attributed the FDA individual (‘Most of the studies the FDA is aware of indicate that fish oil is best absorbed in the stomach rather than the gut’) is very misleading. The quote suggests that most Omega-3s are digested primarily in the stomach or preduodenally. That’s not the case. While a small amount of Omega-3s are hydrolyzed in the stomach, most Omega-3 are absorbed in the intestines via pancreatic lipase. Quite a bit of it is absorbed on the way to the liver.

      So, saying enteric coating can harm absorption feels like it misses the mark on accuracy.

      3. Synthetic enteric coatings like methacrylate copolymer work really well. They work better than algae-based enteric coatings. But people don’t like chemical-sounding ingredients in their supplements, so a lot of supplements (like us) use algae-based enteric ingredients. The alginate material is more expensive and doesn’t work as well as the synthetic stuff, but we decided to go with the algae-based material and we have no plans to change that.

      4. Most multivitamins have low to moderate amount of niacin – from what I’ve seen, this dose does not cause issues. However, if you are talking about niacin for lipid-lowering, then, yes, those doses can be problematic for some people. You’ll notice skin flushing before causing liver issues. There are dozens of multis without iron – that’s easy. Try Life Extension.

      5. No – I don’t know of a tool like that.

      6. See above.

      7. BMI doesn’t change your need for most vitamins and minerals. But needs of some fat-solubles like Vitamin D can be affected by body weight.

      8. I don’t know. Doubt it.

  55. Vin, hi! Your articles are awesome – I’ve learned a lot from them. But still some questions remain – could you, please, answer them?

    1. Is it correct that Innovix full spectrum vitamin K (500 mcg of MK-4 + 100 mcg of MK-7) can be taken on an everyday basis, if I don’t get much of K2 from food?

    2. You say that it’s better to take vitamin A (retinol) instead of B-carotene. I also read that regardless of the retinol intake we need to take some crucial carotenoids (like Lutein, Lycopene, Astaxantine and others). So, is it a good idea to take 10,000 IU of retinol for one month and the next month to take carotenoid complex like this for example: and so on? Or may be there’s a better way to alternate them?

    3. You’ve mentioned a Famil-E full spectrum vitamin E product from Jarrow – is it ok to take it everyday? (ain’t that amount too much?)

    • Hi Tim – thank you.

      1) Yes, the InnovixLabs Vitamin K2 may be taken daily.

      2) While carotenoids have some pre-vitamin A activity, many people do not convert them to retinol. If your diet is low in pre-formed Vitamin A from animal sources, then you need to take some animal/fish-derived Vitamin A supplement. Carotenoids are unlikely to fill that need as they are not interchangeable.

      Having said that, the product you mention looks interesting – I would take that two or three times a week in addition to Vitamin A for eye health. Although the ideal eye health product should also have Meso-Zeaxanthin. Ideally, for eye health, you want Lutein:Meso-Zeaxanthin:Zeaxanthin at a 10:10:2 ratio. Most carotenoid products lack Meso-Zeaxanthin due to cost and lack of awareness.

      3) Vitamin E from Jarrow. Yes, Famil-E is a large dose, so you could take it 2 or 3 times a week instead of daily. Or you could try Jarrow TocoSorb, which is smaller and has a slightly different ratio and amounts. What is important to remember is that if you are taking large doses of D3 or K2, then you also need to think about increasing your A. Vitamin E is appears to be less connected to D3, A, and K2, but be on the safe side and take some E if you are supplementing with the other 3 fat-solubles.

      • Thank you for your answer, Vin!

        1. Did I understand you correct that TocoSorb (in contrast to Famil-E) can be taken on a daily basis? And does it contain all 8 components as the Famil-E does? (because the label is confusing – only 4 tocotrienols and Alpha-tocopherol are mentioned there, whereas Beta-, Gamma- and Delta-tocopherols are not).

        2. Thanks for telling about meso-zeaxanthine – I didn’t know it’s important. It seems that even those products, that do have this isomer, have the wrong ratio. The Jarrow MaculaPF blend has a 20:10:13, which is the closest one I’ve found to the 10:10:2, so it seems to be a better option that the AstaCarotenoid complex from CGN.

        3. So, does this final combination seem balanced?

        Daily with breakfast:
        a) D3: 6000-7000 IU (according to the blood test – this is the amount I need)
        b) K2: one capsule of Innovix full spectrum K2
        c) A: 10 000 IU
        d) TocoSorb – 1 softgel

        2-3 times a week with supper:
        e) MaculaPF – 1 softgel (

        • Hi Tim

          1. TocoSorb from Jarrow is a smaller, lesser, and significantly different formula compared to FamilE. But I agree with you that Jarrow is not being clear with their labeling. So it is hard to understand what is in TocoSorb and how much. I encourage you to contact them directly. You may also wish to consider Nutricology’s Delta product, which has a slightly different ratio of tocotrieneols than the palm-derived version found in Jarrow’s items. Yes, this is confusing. It would be nice if the labels were clear.

          2. Try MacuHealth or MacuHealth. I don’t think they are available on iHerb. I get it through US. ALMOST EVERY EYE HEALTH PRODUCT is formulated incorrectly. These are the only 2 brands that make good eye health formulas. I have no relationship with them and we do not make or sell eye health product. If we made an eye health product, it would be similar to these.

          3. Yes, your plan sounds good – fat solubles and most carotenoids are taken care of. You now need to find Meso-zeaxanthin. 🙂

  56. Hi there! I just came across this blog while going through the rabbit hole of supplementation while trying to conceive.

    I took Theralogix Theranatal Core for 3 months (I’m about to finish the bottle) and I thought that it would be great to find other brands. I took it after reading the book It Starts with the Egg (Thorne and Theralogix prenatals were recommended). Your thoughts on the Theralogix brand? I noticed that their B12 is cyanocobalamin.

    Currently, I’m taking fish oil (I’ll probably shift to InnovixLabs after I finish my bottle of Viva Naturals), Jarrow Ubiquinol, and Vitamin D 1000 IU. I’m planning to do Vitamin K after reading your guide (still confused between Innovix Labs or the pure MK4 liquid by Thorne). My partner takes a daily Naturelo multivitamin, same fish oil that I take, and the Jarrow Ubiquinol.

    So my question is, do you think it would be okay if I stop the multivitamin and just replace with a folate or a B complex supplement? If so, what can you recommend? I see that you’re recommending Jarrow B-right but I also noticed that they’re offering stand-alone methylated folate and the methylated folate/b12 combo.

    For context, we eat mainly a whole food diet – beef (supposedly grass fed from New Zealand?), local fish/seafood, free range eggs, EVCO, fruits, and veggies. We live in the Philippines so Im also not sure about the Vitamin D that I need because we’re a tropical country. Currently, it’s not possible for me to test for Vitamin D since we don’t have labs here in our city who can test for Vitamin D levels 🙁 I usually order supplements via iHerb (good thing InnovixLabs is on iHerb!) or Amazon (it takes weeks to arrive here).

    Your thoughts on this? Thanks so much for reading and I really admire how you reply to each comment on your blog posts 😀

    • Hi Marya – both Thorne and Theralogix are good brands.

      Their quality is good, but as you found out, some formulas have room for improvement, like having cyanocobalamin instead of methylcobalamin. I’ll assume they are aware and in the process of upgrading their formulas. We are CONSTANTLY trying to improve our formulas and it’s an ongoing thing with all brands.

      As for your questions, if I were your Reproductive Nutritionist (I don’t think there is such a thing, but there ought to be because of the outsized impact diet, oxidative status, obesity, and inflammation have on fertility), I would need to sit down with you for a couple of hours trying to understand your/partner’s diets, sperm count/motility etc. This is a conversation that needs to be had with a professional 6 months to a year before conception.

      There are IVF clinics popping up everywhere but most (sadly) don’t have 6-month nutritional intervention therapy BEFORE they begin giving hormone shots!

      Whether you should replace the multivitamin with just folate or B complex is not something I can answer without THOROUGHLY understanding your diet. If you switch to just a B-complex, is that because you are getting all the other stuff in the multi from your diet. Unlikely, right? So I’m inclined to say stay on the multi but add to it with DHA (like our DHA 600) or K2. I’d go with BOTH MK-4 and MK-7…along with fermented foods. Add CoQ10. Add 500 mg of Vitamin C. Add Pycnogenol. Magnesium. Vitamin D and A. I am willing to bet $$ that your 1000 IU daily of Vitamin D3 is inadequate. Measure your D level (try and use a 5000 IU supplement to get it to the optimal level – work with your OB/GYN. Top up your multi with these missing or inadequate components.

      All of these things I just mentioned are critical for the male as well and it takes 90 days to see an improvement in sperm quality.

      And DIET!! Diet makes a HUGE difference. The biggest difference. You need a lot of leafy greens and prebiotic-fiber rich veggies to get your gut in order. Ban sugar, sweets, and any processed flour from your life until the baby is here! From what you say above, diet seems OK – but get a book on anti-inflammatory diets and follow it religiously.

      Good luck.

  57. Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply, Vin. Pycnogenol is new to me. I’ll look into it. I forgot to include in my initial comment that I have diffused adenomyosis (kinda similar to endometriosis and could impact implantation) and my partner has poor morphology ( count and motility are impressive though and our RE commented that it shouldn’t be a problem since the great count and motility will make up for it). I read that lycopene helps with morphology so we’re having tomato-based dishes almost every day 😀 And yes, I wish there’s such as thing as reproductive nutritionist. 😀

    Thanks again for the insights. Excited to try your K2 and fish oil!

    • Hi Marya – yes, Lycopene is one of the nutrients, along with CoQ10, Vitamin C, Pycnogenol, Vitamin E, Carnitine, Selenium, Green Tea extract etc. have all shown to help with fertility in varying degrees.

      Note that high insulin (from a high sugar/refined carb diet) can strongly hinder fertility – so watch the sugar and grain intake too.

  58. Vin, you are a Godsend. Thank you for all the work you do, for all the answers you provide, for all the time and effort it takes to do all you do.
    I didn’t know you have a blog. I found you thru reading/printing out and reading several more times – ALL the papers from brewersciencelibrary re: Hans Neiper.

    I have been diagnosed with severe osteoporosis [2004] and recently, NAFLD.
    Often, my A1C is 5.7. Which to treat first? Osteo, the others will follow if I stop eating the wrong stuff.

    I’ve been taking synergy 1, produced by Orafti/Beneo. Inulin, treated. Clinical claims of it helping to keep the calcium in the bones. It also helps with bowel movements. I haven’t seen any help in weight loss.

    Currently, I am trying to find out how much activated silica a woman over 60 should take. Haven’t found it, but found this article, when I put in your name and silica.

    In the morning when I get up and remember I take:
    one 2-AEP calcium [no added mag], OR membrane complex- potassium, mag, calc orotates and aspartate, 2, both by advanced research.

    per day I take just after eating my smoothie of 1 c org soy milk, 1 cup spinach, my sweetener, fruit, sometimes sea buckthorn oil, today I stuck in bcaa, synergy and 4 T trehalose [for the autophagy bennies more than anything] and grass fed collagen:
    1 innovix Vit K full spectrum
    Advanced Research Calcium Orotate 2 in morning
    2-5k vitamin D3 by Now
    1 silica 10 mg by Jarrow [just read it’s water soluble, so I need to take more, but how much more?]
    1 b complex, currently a brand I don’t usually use, but usually Nature’s Way, the best I’ve found. Usually 50mg, will up it to 100

    After dinner, 1 calcium orotate and 1 vitamin d3 5k
    The calcium orotate has magnesium with it.

    I thought the heart palps were from lack of water. It’s that, as well as not enough calcium. I have to re-read the Neiper papers again, some stuff I just don’t understand.
    I am 67.5. How much silica do I need?
    How much magnesium?
    When do I take all the vitamins?
    B’s and D’s in a.m.
    extra mag at night?
    I have magnesium and zinc and lithium orotate.
    I have selenium and berberine. I took one berberine a day for 3 weeks. Upped it to 2 per day and got really sick. The pill or me? who knows. Quit taking it.
    I’ve read a lot of your answers here and have written them down [google docs]

    If your company makes any of the above, I will take them. I’ve read up a lot on you. You are to be trusted.

    • Hi Janine – thanks for the kind words.

      Here are my thoughts on your supplement routine first…

      1) Your Inulin is a great supplement and it will certainly keep you regular…but it alone will not push calcium into your bones…but there’s evidence that it helps with calcium absorption. Also, taking one prebiotic fiber alone is like eating just carrots when your nutritionist tells you to eat a wide variety of veggies. My suggestion to people (and it always backfires…)is to eat 20-25 different types of vegetables every week. This will give you a much wider array of prebiotic fibers. Besides making you feel full, it will keep your gut microbiome thriving. Our sister company makes a supplement that you may want to layer onto your multi-veggie approach:

      2) Silica is important for bones, but again, like Inulin, it alone will not make bones stronger. For that, you need to have optimal Vitamin D3 (probably around 3000 to 4000 IU of D3 per day but you may need more or less – talk to your doctor about a D3 test and adjust your dosage accordingly), about 400 mg of Magnesium from a chelated source like Magnesium malate, glycinate, citrate, threonate etc., and most importantly, Vitamin K2. You need about 100 to 200 micrograms of Vitamin K2 in the MK-7 form and about 500 mcg of Vitamin K2 in the MK-4 form. With your D3, Magnesium, and Vitamin K2 optimized, then you can start looking at secondary bone-support nutrients like Inulin and Silica. Since you’re already taking The Innovix K2, you may want to increase that to two for a couple of years. Bone-strengthening is a slow and long-term thing. I’ve heard of heart palpitations with K2 if there is inadequate Magnesium. Also, there is some genetic component to how one metabolizes MK-7 form of Vitamin K2. If you are one of those, try more MK-4 form of K2 because it does not cause issues.

      3) Most of what you need is best taken in the morning…but I’d take the Magnesium at night. I take 3 or 4 of the Innovix Magnesium after dinner.

      As for the NAFLD, that’s from a lifetime of metabolic imbalance, high-carbing it, combined with lifestyle factors like exercise and circadian disruption. This can be handled with diet and exercise, but that’s easier said than done. See if you can try a paleo-ish type whole foods diet. Basically eat stuff that was alive and growing last week. Eat during an 8-10 hour window when the sun is out. Fast for 12-16 hours. This is likely to take care of your possibly rising A1c as well.

      Bottom line is that you need to start with food. Not supplements. Work on ‘what to eat,’ then ‘when to eat,’ and finally, ‘how much.’ The how much isn’t really about portion control, but about inching your way into time-restricted or intermittent fasting. Fasting may not help with osteoporosis, but certainly it will help with NAFLD and A1c.

      Hope all this is helpful.

  59. Hi Vin,
    I have been taking OmegiaVia Fish Oil, Jarrow Ubiquinol, NutriGold Vitamin D 2000, and MegaFood BlueBerry daily. I recently added NAC and NutriGold K2 to my daily intake. I take Vitamin D and NAC two times a day. What I like about NutriGold is that they provide a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for each of their products. It would be great to find a multivitamin that had everything I am looking for, but they always lack something so I decided to take individual supplements instead. I am still searching for a Vitamin D supplement. Seems that the majority of cholecalciferol is sourced from one country and in general the serving size is either 2000 or 5000 IU. 5000 IUs seems high. It would be great if there was a serving size of 4000 IU since I cannot find a standard daily dosage. Many say 5000 IUs is considered safe, and it seems to be a common serving size for a lot of the products out there. Getting a blood test to check your Vitamin D level is great, but I am not sure how many times a doctor will order blood work to frequently check these levels. Do you know if have a rapid home Vitamin D test that you recommend? Whats your thoughts on my daily supplement?
    Best Regard,

    • Hi Macyero – most people need about 3000 to 4000 IU of supplemental Vitamin D3 daily, but you are correct, it is almost impossible to find a supplement that has exact 4000 IU per pill…but this is not a problem. I take 5000 IU 5 days of the week instead of daily. This is roughly equivalent to taking 4000 IU daily. I would stay at this dosage for 2 months and then have your doctor do a blood test. That’ll give your doctor enough data to adjust dosage up or down as needed. After that, testing once a year is adequate.

      I like this Vitamin D test kit:

      Your supplement routine…may be OK but I have no context. What you supplement with depends on your current health status and your diet. Other than adding some Magnesium, which virtually everyone in American seems deficient in, it’s hard to say what else you may need. Our sister company makes this:

      Other than that, perhaps Jarrow’s B-Right and Thorne’s Trace Minerals…they’re both safe bets.

  60. Thank you Vin! I will check out the InnovixLabs Magnesium. I had bought NutriGold’s Magnesium prior, but I heard the Magnesium Biglycinate is better so I will give that a try.

    I always heard that fish is a good source of Vitamin D. For the OmegiaVia Fish Oil, are there any traces of Vitamin D? I just want to make sure that I am not taking too much Vitamin D with my other supplements. I try to get whats needed, but I know some products such as MegaFood adds their organic food blends which I question if I am getting too much vitamin and/or mineral because I am taking other supplements. Its been a challenge in finding the right supplement.

    What’s your thoughts on taking Zinc supplement (20 mg) in the morning and then take Zinc lozenges (8mg) 2x a day, preferably 5 hours apart? I heard that the capsules doesn’t absorb as much regardless of the dosage and the body plateaus whereas the lozenges absorbs quicker into the body. Dosage is low so Copper levels I assume would still be ok? Any Zinc lozenges that you recommend?

    Best Regards,

    • Hi Macyero – there is no Vitamin D3 in OmegaVia fish oil.

      You’re taking a lot zinc. Too much Zinc can cause a copper deficiency and at your dose (close to 40 mg daily) is getting close to the point where you need to think about balancing it with some copper. Try Jarrow Zinc Balance…it has both these minerals. I don’t have a lozenge that I recommend. If you’re trying to fix a deficiency, then a swallowable capsule will do the trick.

  61. Hi Mr. Kutty,

    You left out the best (indeed, crucial) reason not to take a multivitamin—pyridoxine:

    Vrolijk, M. F., Opperhuizen, A., Jansen, E. H. J. M., Hageman, G. J., Bast, A., & Haenen, G. R. M. M. (2017). The vitamin B6 paradox: Supplementation with high concentrations of pyridoxine leads to decreased vitamin B6 function. Toxicology in vitro : an international journal published in association with BIBRA, 44, 206–212.

    I.e., Pyrodixine simply is not vitamin B6 at all! It blocks real, natural vitamin B6 from bing used by the body and it should be banned in supplements.

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