Multi Vitamins for people who hate taking vitamins

  • My wife hates taking vitamins
  • A lot of my clients hate taking vitamins.
  • There is even a facebook group dedicated to the hatred of vitamins.

And that’s why I went looking for nutritional supplements that can give you all the benefits of multivitamins without setting off your gag reflex.

And, after an extensive 2 months of guinea pig / training client / wife  testing, I have come up with two products that I can honestly recommend as an alternative to those giant, stinky multivitamins you are choking down this morning with your O.J.

Disclosure – During this little experiment, I tried out products from 7 different manufacturers. These were the two products that I found worthy of recommending to you. The other 5 are in a landfill somewhere.


Athletic Greens

In the past, I have written about my favorite “green food” supplement – Vege Greens.

And while I am still a big fan of Vege Greens, I have always had one big problem trying to convince clients to replace their Flintstone multivitamins with a tub of green food.

While it’s great to know that each scoop of green food has 115 mg of Acerola Berries…

…I have no idea how much Acerola Berry me and my clients need every day.

But, I do have a good idea how much Beta Carotene and Vitamin C and Magnesium we need to consume.

And that’s why I contacted the fine folks at Athletic Greens.

Because unlike with Vege Greens, I can tell my clients that each serving of Athletic Greens contains this much Beta Carotene or that much Magnesium, etc…

Personally, I replaced my Vege Greens with Athletic Greens and was very pleased with the results. In the past, when I have cycled off Vege Greens, I have always noticed a drop off in energy and an increase in my stupid allergy symptoms.Plus, it tastes great and after pestering the owner of the company with about a million emails and questions, I am very happy about the quality of ingredients and manufacturing process of this product.

I felt great on Athletic Greens and now I have a product I can very easily recommend to clients.


A lot of people who have read this article and clicked through to the Athletic Greens site have emailed me complaining about the price of Athletic Greens. And while it’s true that a tub of AG is pricier than a tub of Greens+ or Vege Greens, I always tell them that once they try AG, they will never question the price again.

It’s been almost a year, and I am still buying Athletic Greens for me and my wife.



Multiforce ORAC

Another product that was really popular with my clients was multiforce ORAC from Prairie Naturals.

Especially popular with those people who just can’t stand the taste of green food, multiforce ORAC not only covers your basic vitamins & minerals, it gives you a serious dose of antioxidant polyphenols from Hi-ORAC berries and fruit

Prairie Naturals is another company whose manufacturing process and ingredient quality I feel comfortable recommending.

On a personal note, I found the multiforce ORAC to be a little too sweet for my tastes, so I cut the sweetness on alternate days with either a splash of lemon juice of a serving of Prairie Naturals Morning Rise & Shine product. And while both the lemon juice and Rise & Shine were equally effective in cutting the sweetness of my morning health drink, the Rise & Shine provided a very noticeable impact upon my digestive regularity.

I am telling you – it was like clockwork.

Long story short… even though I didn’t request a sample of Rise & Shine, I am pretty happy they sent me one.


So there you go…two multi vitamin alternatives for people who hate to take multi vitamins.



  1. Only seven different manufacturers? That’s not very thorough. Are these products pharmaceutical grade? Do they dissolve in your body? Do they contain toxic substances?

    Why bother doing that work when it has been done in a very scientific way already. Read “A Comprehensive Guide To Nutritional Supplements” by Lyle MacWilliams.

    Nutrisearch evaluates over 1600 supplements in this book.

  2. From what I understand (thanks internet), Market America is an MLM firm started by a former Amway distributor that markets white label nutritional supplements.

    I can’t say anything (good or bad) about the products, but I have never been a fan of MLM supplement companies

  3. Oh, I see, if its MLM it’s immediately bad. Hmmmm!

    I’m glad my doctor is more scientific in her efforts to give me good medical advice!

  4. Roger/Doug,

    I have never met any credible Personal Trainers who are fans of supplement companies, or people that endorse them. I have found that good PT’s (I hope that people count me as one of them) often say, “this product works for me, that supplement has worked well with similar clients, those tabs haven’t done anything for anyone I know” etc. Ie. PT’s make recommendations to clients based on personal experience and research. They are also always sceptical of people who have a vested interest in a company or product endorsing that company or product.

    I read this article as a piece from a responsible PT who has tried a few things for himself and shared his experience. Read in conjunction with the ‘About Doug’ page, one can get a good feeling about the conclusions and know that they may not apply to everyone.

    I may now talk to my clients and say, “I have read that ‘Athletic Greens’ is a good multi-vitamin supplement, but I haven’t tried it myself”. That’s all I can do. I have no opinion and can offer no opinion on MLM because I have done no research on them.

    For what it’s worth, I have always found fitness and nutrition advice is better from a good PT than a doctor . . . but that’s just my experience.

  5. Thanks for the comment Simon,

    Personally, I consider myself a classical skeptic – I don’t believe statements of “fact” without proof while at the same time I try to keep an open mind.

    So, when it comes to supplements/drugs/diets/etc, I try and look at the science behind a product. if that’s not enough, I will call up the company and ask to speak to someone who can talk intelligently about the product. Then, I will beta test the product on me and some clients to get some real world experience.

    After all that, I should feel comfortable to either recommend or disregard that particular product.

    On another note, I wanted to ask you how the PT biz is across the pond. Over here PT is still the big profit maker for health clubs, but there has been a real push towards group training and boot camps as a way to save money.

    And on even another note, I was wondering if I could convince you to write an article for my health & fitness blog network – Hive Health Media?

  6. Personal Training is having a tough time in the UK. More and more people are becoming PTs, but there are fewer and fewer clients, who are now spread thinly between us all. I know some PTs who were turning people away a couple of years ago who are now working only half a week! Most of us sensible ones have diversified (for example, I now also teach motivation and self-esteem to school children from disadvantaged backgrounds and have branched into iPhone app writing – see, but times are still hard. Boot camps and group training are available, but haven’t really caught on over here.

    I would be delighted to write an article for you – let me put something together and I’ll email it to you.



  7. There doesn’t seem to be any iron in either of these preparations. Very curious as that is a major nutrient that is often lacking, especially in women who are watching their total overall dietary intake, and it is consumed quickly by people who are actively trying to exercise and build muscle. Why would these companies fail to even put a minimal dose of Fe?

  8. I am guessing because men aren’t supposed to take iron supplements – we have no way (except donating blood) of ridding ourselves of excess iron and too much iron can lead to a condition called hemochromatosis

  9. Interesting post comments. A comment from one of your readers said they’ve never come across credible trainers that are fans of supplement companies or people that endorse them. Slightly unfair, perhaps?

    Can good trainers not endorse good products? I don’t see the problem with trainers diversifying their income by endorsing products they themselves take, have researched and have seen positive benefits from.

    I would hope a trainer wasn’t selling purely for profit but nothing wrong with making a profit by selling something you know will help someone. Isn’t it similar to PT’s selling PT sessions? Making money doing something you know will help someone.

    Just a thought.

  10. I’ve never heard that men were not supposed to take iron supplements. Males can become anemic (hypochromic, microcytic) from Fe deficiency. Just because men don’t menstruate doesn’t mean they can’t and don’t experience this type of anemia. Because often men DO eat enough, especially of the foods high in Fe, I admit, it doesn’t happen often. But, it does and has happened and a man is prescribed an Fe supplement if they become Fe deficient.
    Re: the supplements — if these supplements contained in the 50-100% of the DRIs for Fe, this amount would be HIGHLY unlikely to result in a healthy exercising male inability to clear it from the body. Certainly, this amount would not cause a secondary hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis is primarily a genetically inherited disorder of iron overload which can have its onset precipitated from moderate iron supplementation. If someone doesn’t have the genetic component, it would take hefty dosages of Fe supplements to effect in hemochromatosis.
    If the manufacturers of these supplements are leaving out Fe because of hemochromatosis risks in males, I’d be surprised.

  11. I’m surprised about the comments concerning iron supplements for men. I’ve taken iron supplements while training hard and noticed a considerable difference in my energy levels. I also understand they are ‘de rigeur’ for endurance athletes who compete on many consecutive days (eg Tour de France).

    To reply to Rocofit, I stand by what I say, but perhaps I can clarify what I mean.

    Whenever I have met someone, a PT or otherwise, who receives a reward from a particular supplement company (or any organisation), then they have lost their impartiality and independence, and push that company’s products over all others. (I think this is right. If I paid someone to endorse my products, I would expect them to be biassed towards me).

    I’m sure, however, there are a few people who do maintain an independent viewpoint, despite their associations.

    I think what I’m trying to say is it is up to consumers to check the motives behind why someone praises or damns a supplement or company (or anything really). Do they benefit from being impartial (like Doug or Tom Venuto) or do they benefit from having a bias?

  12. Hi MJ

    From the NIH:

    Who may need extra iron to prevent a deficiency?

    Three groups of people are most likely to benefit from iron supplements: people with a greater need for iron, individuals who tend to lose more iron, and people who do not absorb iron normally.

    These individuals include:

    pregnant women
    preterm and low birth weight infants
    older infants and toddlers
    teenage girls
    women of childbearing age, especially those with heavy menstrual losses
    people with renal failure, especially those undergoing routine dialysis
    people with gastrointestinal disorders who do not absorb iron normally

    Celiac Disease and Crohn’s Syndrome are associated with gastrointestinal malabsorption and may impair iron absorption. Iron supplementation may be needed if these conditions result in iron deficiency anemia [41].

    Women taking oral contraceptives may experience less bleeding during their periods and have a lower risk of developing an iron deficiency. Women who use an intrauterine device (IUD) to prevent pregnancy may experience more bleeding and have a greater risk of developing an iron deficiency. If laboratory tests indicate iron deficiency anemia, iron supplements may be recommended.

    Total dietary iron intake in vegetarian diets may meet recommended levels; however that iron is less available for absorption than in diets that include meat [58]. Vegetarians who exclude all animal products from their diet may need almost twice as much dietary iron each day as non-vegetarians because of the lower intestinal absorption of nonheme iron in plant foods [1]. Vegetarians should consider consuming nonheme iron sources together with a good source of vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, to improve the absorption of nonheme iron [1].

    There are many causes of anemia, including iron deficiency. There are also several potential causes of iron deficiency. After a thorough evaluation, physicians can diagnose the cause of anemia and prescribe the appropriate treatment.


    Who should be cautious about taking iron supplements?

    Iron deficiency is uncommon among adult men and postmenopausal women. These individuals should only take iron supplements when prescribed by a physician because of their greater risk of iron overload. Iron overload is a condition in which excess iron is found in the blood and stored in organs such as the liver and heart. Iron overload is associated with several genetic diseases including hemochromatosis, which affects approximately 1 in 250 individuals of northern European descent [67]. Individuals with hemochromatosis absorb iron very efficiently, which can result in a build up of excess iron and can cause organ damage such as cirrhosis of the liver and heart failure [1,3,67-69]. Hemochromatosis is often not diagnosed until excess iron stores have damaged an organ. Iron supplementation may accelerate the effects of hemochromatosis, an important reason why adult men and postmenopausal women who are not iron deficient should avoid iron supplements. Individuals with blood disorders that require frequent blood transfusions are also at risk of iron overload and are usually advised to avoid iron supplements.

    However, since I really have no idea why they did or didn’t include iron in their formulation, I will be asking them that question and will post their response

  13. Regarding experts (doctors, trainers, etc) endorsing nutritional supplements, there is a long history of snake-oil salesmen either selling or endorsing products that don’t live up to their hype.

    But, I don’t think that’s limited to the health food industry.

    Most products are never as good as their celebrity endorsers claim them to be.

    But when it comes to trainers/health experts, I do tend to take it personally when I feel one of them is misleading the public in order to earn an endorsement check I don’t enjoy being painted with the same brush as a trainer who is willing to lie to the very people who trust them.

    My business & my blog is based on trust.

    The last thing I want to do is ruin that trust.

  14. Very good info from the NIH, Doug, and all very true. Which is why I never encourage people to take ‘therapeutic’ dosages of anything unless there is a clear indication of a need/deficiency. So, yes, I completely concur that a dosage of Fe in any supplement that is higher than 50-100% of DRIs (so, we’re talking 6-7 to 12-14 mg)is unecessary and CAN cause untoward reactions — especially in people who don’t even know they have a genetic predisposition to iron overload until they get it! This goes for several nutrients and added substances to many preparations that are out there. One can inflict damage to organs by taking supplements that yield vitamins and minerals in therapeutic (ie — amounts needed to treat deficiencies — often therapetic preparations of Fe provide 50 mg and as high as 300+ mg — yikes!) ranges, especially if they are fat-soluble which means the excess amounts are stored instead of excreted through urine and feces. Fortunately, the above preparations that you are recommending, have taken into account THAT point as I see that the >100% dosages occur in nutrients that are water-soluble — still of concern for folks with impaired renal function.
    So, I’m not questioning your recommendations at all — it just struck me as odd that Fe was omitted and I wondered why. I mean, these were not recommendations exclusively for males, right?
    When the companies inform you why — I’ll be curious to see their answers

    Thanks. You are always so through and informative and I appreciate that about you very much.

  15. I realized, in reading your headline, that I had become one of those folks, too (much as I have researched, experimented and explored supplements for close to 40 years) having swallowed many, many things.

    My stomach complained, my symptoms persisted, my health was hardly optimal, and my beliefs and understanding about what my body really needed, and the reading/research published every year, made the discussion frustrating and mired. My eventual menopausal journey pushed the envelope, and I knew I needed to change the conversation.

    I found that another aspect of the bigger conversation is a very few products available which are created from whole food/vegetable sources. This is a dependable solution, if bio-availability of the raw, enzymatic, active state is maintained, and in a liquid form, for cell permeability.

    But particularly important is the sea as a source of nutrients. When sea plants are combined with aloe, which, (along with its many active nutrient compounds, supports optimal absorption), it creates healing that is both mechanical, and nutritionally developed for a strengthened immune system.

    The critical parts (lacking from most sources) are the wider range of minerals, spark plugs for all cell function. Minerals from land based plants are lacking the diversity originally available from the earth, and replenishing them is inadequate, or non-existent.

    Sea plants are a unique source for this range, especially of the essential trace and ultra-trace minerals (small though the necessary daily requirements are), of which we are destined to be depleted, without this kind of consistent support.

    Supplying blood stream transfer, absorption before digestion, liquid whole foods (rather than powdered extracts from miscellaneous sources, collected and combined), deliver the body the where-with-all to rebuild, and heal.

    Our bodies are remarkable self-healers, but only when complete/whole foods (recognizable nutrients) are consistently supplied.

    An easy to drink (vegetable juice) solution is especially helpful, and manageable for most people. Heartening to see the difference this makes.

    I believe that any licensed practitioners/trainers who specialize in health and wellness, and for whom you have a trusted referral (always the best way to choose), are absolutely not going to risk their most valuable asset … their reputation making uninformed nutritional recommendations. They, and their clients/customers also know that an honest solution is a treasured and shared commitment to long term health and wellness.

    I appreciate this discussion.

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