Is Your Multivitamin High-Potency? Here’s What That Means

The simple and simple term “potency” refers to the amount of ingredient a supplement contains. As Ferreira explains, “Think of ‘potency’ as a dose that carefully considers the daily requirements of the ingredient if known, or scientifically supported levels.

In fact, the FDA regulates the term “high potency,” specifically, stating that products can only call themselves high potency if they include 100% of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake), also known as the Daily Value (% DV), for the vitamins and/or minerals it contains (or more) per serving. In a multivitamin, for example, that contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, at least two-thirds of them must have a dose of at least 100% of the RDI in order for this multi to be classified as high potency.

Quick example: If your multivitamin contains 20 ingredients, it must provide 100% of the RDI for at least 14 of those nutrients in order to promote itself as highly effective. (Unless you want to land in a lot of hot water, that is.) Ferreira concludes, “A single nutrient combination or multivitamin/mineral supplement that boasts a ‘high potency’ claim is not marketing. Instead, this particular designation indicates levels of Concentrated and intentionally effective nutrition.

Is there a good reason to be sure the vitamins you’re taking are really high potency? Research shows that more than 30% of adults lack eight essential nutrients when relying on food alone. Meanwhile, one in three people is at risk of having at least one real nutrient loss. Basically, we’re really, really lacking in essential micronutrients, which suggests that a multivitamin with low doses of nutrients is really, says Ferreira, “weaksauce,” really helping us fill in the gaps we face. *

The sad reason so many multiple formulas cut corners on the potency of their ingredients (nutrients and phytonutrients, alike), according to Ferreira: To save money, space, or both. (Some nutrients, especially the premium sources and forms of them, can be pricey and bulky!)

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