Your choices are many when it comes to multivitamins — caplets, tablets, gummies, chewables and liquid — yes, liquid. It's probably not the first type you'd consider, but maybe it should be.
Liquid vitamins are gaining popularity by those who want their nutrients to be absorbed quicker with peace of mind that their body is getting what it needs.
As with every other supplement, you should be an educated consumer when choosing your liquid multivitamin off the shelf. Learn how to pick the best liquid multivitamin to ensure you're reaping the benefits.
1. Best Overall: Centrum Liquid
Centrum boasts that it's the number one doctor-recommended brand, so it only makes sense that it makes the list as a reputable liquid multivitamin supplement at an affordable price.
This supplement, recommended for adults only, hits most of the marks for what to look for in a liquid. The nutrient formulation provides a healthy mix of what you would expect in a multivitamin off the shelf.
This liquid contains more iron than most (9 mg), which is just over the recommended amount for men (8 mg) and half of what pre-menopausal women should have daily (18 mg). This makes it a great choice for most women as well as men who eat a mostly plant-based diet.
This liquid multivitamin does not need to be refrigerated, so as long as you avoid extreme temperatures, you can carry this with you. It also does not have artificial sweeteners, as it's sweetened with sugar.
2. Best for Women: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Multivitamin Liquid
Garden of Life is an established brand of supplements often tested by Consumer Lab, which makes it a generally good choice. While this particular supplement has not been tested, it gets points for the reputable brand behind it.
This multivitamin is vegetarian, with nutrients coming from a blend of fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and sprouts.
When it comes to multivitamins for women, this one is a win, with 1,000 IU of vitamin D and a small amount of iron. You'll just need to ensure you're getting additional iron in your diet (if you haven't hit menopause yet), and you'll have to get calcium, potassium and magnesium from whole foods to round out your nutrient intake throughout the day. (This can be done by drinking milk, which gives you calcium, potassium and magnesium.)
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $37.92 for 30 servings
3. Best for Men: Vitamin Shoppe Liquid Multivitamin
If your diet is not quite what you'd like it to be, this liquid multivitamin has you covered. The mix of nutrients is a great blend for a man who prefers his vitamins in a liquid form. It does not contain iron — you don't want iron in a men's multivitamin — and has a good amount of nutrients needed to maintain good health, such as selenium, zinc and B vitamins.
Vitamin Shoppe adheres to CGMPs set by the FDA, so that should give you confidence in choosing this brand.
The customer reviews rave about the great taste, but make sure you keep it in the refrigerator for best quality.
Buy it: VitaminShoppe.com; Price: $31.99 for 32 servings
4. Best for Children: Pure Encapsulations LiquiNutrients
Finding a suitable multivitamin for children can be a confusing task, as there are so many to choose from. If you want to stay away from the gummies but want a liquid with comparable nutrients, Pure Encapsulations is a great choice.
Most gummies do not have iron and only a small amount of calcium, and the same goes for this liquid multivitamin, so make sure your child is getting enough of these nutrients in their diet.
This liquid is sweetened with apple juice concentrate and stevia leaf extract and contains the equivalent of one teaspoon of sugar.
Pure Encapsulations is third-party tested and this supplement is vegan, gluten-free and meant for children ages 4 and older.
Buy it: PureEncapsulationspro.com; Price: $50.70 for 23 servings
5. Best for Older Adults: NOW Liquid Multi
NOW liquid multivitamin is a good choice for a supplement that is truly meant to be in addition to a healthy diet. NOW adheres to CGMPs, is gluten-free, non-GMO and plant-based.
The blend of nutrients includes a high amount of B vitamins and vitamins A, C and E. It does not contain iron, which makes it a good choice for men and postmenopausal women.
The nutrient formulation includes selenium and zinc, both of which are important for men's and women's health. It only contains 400 IU of vitamin D, which is below the recommended daily amount of 800 IU, so ensure you take a separate vitamin D supplement or get it from D-rich food sources or natural sunshine.
Liquid vitamins are a great choice for older adults who may have difficulties swallowing, and this supplement is one that all older adults in the house can take without having to purchase separate bottles.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $19.43 for 32 servings
6. Best Vegetarian: Nature's Way Alive! Liquid Multivitamin
This liquid multivitamin is made by Nature's Way, which adheres to NSF-certified Good Manufacturing Practices. In addition, every product carries a TRU-ID certification, which is a third-party certification that tests for purity of ingredients.
Alive! has a hefty amount of every nutrient you would expect to see in a multivitamin, with a few exceptions: It does not contain iron, and it has lower than the daily recommended amounts of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium.
On the plus side, it does have a blend of fruits, vegetables and greens like dandelion and lemongrass. It also has a blend of omega- 3, -6 and -9 fatty acids.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $28.74 for a 30-day supply
7. Best Tasting: Mary Ruth's Liquid Morning Multivitamin
If you are a review reader, then you'll see the trend on this multivitamin: Tastes great.
This liquid multi is a true supplement to your diet, as it contains many important nutrients, but not all. This means you'll still need to get nutrients like iron, calcium and zinc from your diet. It contains 800 IU of vitamin D and vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, so those are both a plus for this multivitamin.
Mary Ruth's adheres to CGMPs and is vegan, free of the eight major allergens and free of added sugar. It is not recommended for children under 12 or pregnant or lactating women.
This liquid comes in three flavors, but choose the raspberry to get 100 percent of the daily amount of vitamin C — the other flavors fall short.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $39.95 for a one-month supply
What to Look for in a Liquid Multivitamin
Keep these pointers in mind when choosing a dietary supplement, to help ensure you're getting a good quality product that's right for you.
1. Third-Party Testing
Because the FDA doesn't guarantee the safety or effectiveness of supplements before they're sold, third-party testing ensures that the supplement contains the nutrients it claims in the amounts on the label. It's done by independent labs (those not connected to any supplement brand), which may also check to ensure there's no heavy metal contamination and that a supplement breaks down appropriately in your body (although the latter isn't something you have to worry about with a liquid multivitamin).
Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of liquid multivitamins that meet this important criteria. But you can also look to ensure the supplement is manufactured according to current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs). This is a program run by the FDA to ensure quality control of dietary supplements.
2. Nutrient Formulation
It is rare to find two multivitamins with the exact same amount of nutrients. Many are designed to fit a specific need or population.
Keep in mind which nutrients are important to you, and ensure you get those in your liquid multivitamin. For example, many do not contain iron or calcium, so if those are a must, you'll need to either be choosy about your multivitamin or add an additional supplement to your regimen.
Benefits of a Liquid Multivitamin
1. Medical Reasons
Let's face it: Some of those multivitamin caplets are big, and if you have swallowing difficulties, then there's no way those are going to work for you. The liquid multi allows you to have a multivitamin in a form right for your medical needs. Liquid vitamins are also good for those who may have recently had surgery or have possible digestion issues.
Liquid vitamins may actually have a faster absorption rate because they don't need to be broken down. Throughout the process of digestion, liquids leave the stomach first, then solid foods after that, according to 2019 research in Neurogastroenterology and Motility.
Drawbacks of a Liquid Multivitamin
1. Storage and Shelf Life
Many liquid multivitamins need to be refrigerated, which means they aren't a great choice if you travel with your nutrients in hand.
In addition, just like their pill and caplet counterparts, liquid multivitamins have a use-by date, which is good to stick with, as your vitamins my lose their potency if kept longer.
Liquid multivitamins are dosed by you. Each one is different and is usually taken in teaspoon or tablespoon doses. Stick with the dosing instructions to ensure you are not getting too little or too much of the supplement. If you don't trust yourself to dose appropriately, stick with another form.
Liquid vitamins are going to cost you. They are typically more expensive than traditional multivitamin pills.
1. Children vs. Adult Dosage
There are some safety considerations when taking liquid multivitamins. If you're using your supplement for several members of the family, ensure you are dosing appropriately. The dose for adults will not be the same as the dose for children.
There are considerations during pregnancy also. Many liquid multivitamins contain vitamin A in the form of retinyl palmitate. The Linus Pauling Institute recommends not exceeding 3,000 micrograms RAE per day of retinyl palmitate during pregnancy. That's because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it's stored in the body, and too much of it can be harmful to your baby.
Beta-carotene is also a form of vitamin A found in liquid supplements. There is no upper limit for beta-carotene.
Ensure you inform your primary care physician about your supplements, as they have the potential to interact with your medications. In addition, if you experience any uncomfortable side effects after taking your liquid multivitamin, call your doctor right away.