5 Things to Look for in Your Daily Vitamins—and 6 to Avoid

5 Things to Look for in Your Daily Vitamins—and 6 to Avoid

When it comes to navigating the dizzying array of multivitamins and supplements available, knowledge is most certainly power—but researching all of the nuances of ingredient labels can also be a very tall order. How do we recognize a quality formula from one that's too good to be true? Are gummy vitamins legit? Is that mystery ingredient actually doing anything? What the heck does "bioavailable" mean?

In order to help you sift through the clutter to zero in on a product you can feel good about taking every day, we went ahead and tapped the expertise of someone who effectively scrutinizes labels for a living: Perelel's Director of Product Development, Kayte Angell, who has been making supplements for ten years. 

Follow her lead on some important things to look for when shopping for a multivitamin routine—and a few to steer clear of.

5 things to look for in your supplements

1. Choose an ideal format. (Spoiler: Hold the gummies.)

This should tick a few boxes—convenience, for one. Are you getting a comprehensive vitamin routine from a single source, or are you cobbling a bunch of vitamins together? (FWIW, we specifically did this heavy-lifting for you with our Perelel Packs: Each daily sachet contains a complete, doctor-backed vitamin routine targeted to your specific stage.)

But format also refers to how those nutrients are packaged when they enter your body. Gummy vitamins are popular because they're a tasty way to get some of those nutrients—but when it comes to getting the most nutritional bang for your buck, they're simply not an ideal option, says Kayte.

"On average, gummies can only hold 5% of active ingredients," she notes—that's thanks to all the extra ingredients required to help gummy vitamins hold their shape and flavor. Heat is also a key ingredient in manufacturing gummy vitamins, yet certain vitamins are highly sensitive to heat, and can degrade before you even take them. 

In fact: If you compare our Trimester Prenatal Packs to one of the leading prenatal gummies, you'd need to take forty of those gummies every day to get close to the amount of choline in our Core Prenatal capsules.

It's why we stick with a capsule format, allowing us to pack all the nutrients our medical panel recommends for your specific stage, in the doses you need them—with just a few daily pills. 

2. Stick to realistic claims. (With receipts.)

The industry is full of products that purport to do it all, but it’s helpful to keep a skeptical eye out for over-the-top claims. Look for brands that provide links to their sources and can support the claims being made for the ingredients in their products. 

“If it sounds too good to be true,” Kayte says, “it probably is. Make sure claims brands are making can be backed up with research or clinical substantiation.” It's why we back each of our ingredients up with research you can review on our site, along with clinical insights from our panel of doctors. And just to take it a step further, we recently committed to conducting independent studies on our finished products, to help further illustrate their impact—starting with our Mom Multi Support Pack

Another consumer-friendly tip from Kayte is to use Examine.com. “It’s a great resource for evidence-based analysis for supplements and does a great job with organizing studies to support claims based on how strong the results are. It’s also easy to navigate,” she says.

3. Make sure its safety and testing protocols pass muster.

In order to receive our Quality Team’s approval, our products are triple-tested for safety, quality, and purity—passing through three robust checkpoints to ensure you're getting exactly what you need, at its highest quality.

“We get complimented by manufacturers and third-party laboratories on how thorough our product specifications are. It sounds super nerdy, but making sure these specs are being met is one of the coolest parts of my job,” says Kayte. 

4. Ingredients should be included in their most bioavailable forms.

When reading the Supplement Facts Panel, look for vitamin and mineral sources that are high quality and better absorbed by your body—for example, methylated vitamins and chelated minerals.1 You want ingredients that have been clinically shown to have the active effect they claim to have.

“Everyone is unique, but be mindful of how different ingredients have been shown to be more bioavailable than others.” says Kayte. 

A great example is folate: Folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, is widely used across supplements. But our bodies often have to jump through a few more hoops in order to properly process folic acid—and many women have a genetic variation that makes this even more difficult.1 We include L-5 methylfolate, an active form of folate, in our vitamins for this reason.

Certain nutrients are also more bioavailable when they're paired together. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are important for baby's developing brain during pregnancy. But omega EPA plays an important role in helping omega DHA cross the placenta, which is why we include both in our formulations.2

5. Be wary of "burp-less" claims.

"Vitamin burps" are a common complaint—especially for supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for mood support and brain and heart health. But brands that claim to solve for this often aren't telling the full story. 

"Brands using this claim are typically coating the omega softgel with a chemical coating to mask the taste and smell from the lower quality oil," says Kayte. "We prioritize sourcing high quality oil that has undergone an extensive refinement process, which dramatically improves the smell and taste of the product."

(Fun fact: we use oil sourced from small fish, like anchovies and sardines, to ensure the heavy metal content is very low unlike what you would see in larger fish, like salmon and tuna.)

6 ingredients to avoid when shopping for vitamins

We're big believers that what we don't put into our vitamins is almost as important as what we include—especially when you're entrusting us with some of the most important and vulnerable stages of your life.

With that in mind, there are a handful of ingredients we steer clear of: 
  • Unnecessary sugars. We aren’t saying don’t eat sugar—but we aren’t adding it to our products, either. (It's just filler, and our products have more important things to do.)
  • Magnesium stearate. This is a common lubricant used in the dietary supplement industry to ensure fast and consistent manufacturing.3 It’s in a lot of products that you probably reach for every day, but we wanted to find another ingredient that could get the job done, which is why you’ll see the amino acid L-Leucine in our “other ingredients” panel. We challenged our teams to make this simple swap to an amino acid to be more intentional about what goes into our products.  “Whenever possible, we prefer to avoid additives that may not be necessary,” Kayte says.
  • Titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide has been used for quite some time in the food industry to improve texture, shelf life, and color in consumer goods. For supplements, it is commonly used as the colorant that makes capsules white.4 Though it’s been used for more than half a century, there is some concern with potential toxicity.4 The European Commission banned titanium dioxide as a food additive in 2022 after reviewing the data on safety, but Health Canada and the FDA still maintain its safety. Regardless of where you live, we don’t think it’s necessary in our products, which is why we use clear capsules made of vegetable cellulose. “If you’re trying to look for titanium dioxide in your products,” Kayte says, “look for 'artificial color or 'color added' since the FDA does not require the use of a chemical name on an ingredient list.”
  • Artificial colors and dyes. Colors and dyes are added to formulations to improve the look and taste of supplements. 5 “While the FDA considers them safe, we choose to formulate with natural ingredients that provide the benefit of color. For example, turmeric is great for making powders yellow when added to water and the ingredients in our Synbiotic Greens Powder give it that vibrant color!” says Kayte. 
  • Carrageenan.  Carrageenan is an additive used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve supplements, foods, and drinks. There has been growing concern over the health risks posed by carrageenan, with some research linking the ingredient to inflammation, gastrointestinal ulcerations, and damages to the digestive system, though more research is needed.6 Still, the ingredient has been removed from the National Organic Standards Board, meaning foods containing carrageenan may no longer be labeled "USDA organic.”
  • Fillers and excipients. Fillers and excipients are not explicitly harmful, but you don’t need them, either. To figure out if your supplement contains any of these ingredients, look closely at its Supplement Facts, particularly the “Other Ingredients” section.

Shop the Article:

Shop our vitamins made clean in the USA now. Plus, learn more about our guiding principles that inform our ingredients and formulations.


1. Bioavailability of Micronutrients From Nutrient-Dense Whole Foods: Zooming in on Dairy, Vegetables, and Fruits

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Pregnancy

3. What Is Magnesium Stearate?

4. Titanium dioxide in our everyday life; is it safe?

5. Applications of food color and bio-preservatives in the food and its effect on the human health

6. Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments

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