test-Whole Food Vitamins: A Closer Look at Supplements Made from Real Food Sources
Food & Nutrition
Whole Food Vitamins: A Closer Look at Supplements Made from Real Food Sources
Lindsey Toth, MS, RD • June 23, 2022

Better Health the Way Nature Intended: Whole Food Vitamins

When it comes to getting your daily dose of the vitamins and minerals you need to thrive, experts agree that getting them from real foods is best.

Faced with a modern western diet, however, this isn’t always feasible. Thankfully, food-form supplements can help plug any nutritional gaps that may exist in your otherwise healthy diet!

Some studies indicate that supplements derived from real food sources may be absorbed by the body nearly twice as well as their synthetic counterparts.1

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of our top real food vitamins, plus a closer look at their ingredients and the health benefits they can deliver.

Real Food Vitamin K2

There are several forms of Vitamin K. The primary forms are vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 (also known as menaquinones).

To make matters just a little more confusing when it comes to choosing a vitamin K2 supplement, there are multiple forms of vitamin K2 available.

Of these compounds, menaquinone-7 (MK-7) is the most biologically active form in human physiology. 2

This fat-soluble vitamin is especially useful in promoting calcium transport, which helps boost bone health and heart health by making sure calcium is reaching the skeletal system and not overloading the vascular system, which may lead to calcification.Vitamin K2 activates the vitamin K-dependent protein called matrix Gla protein which regulates mineralization in the vascular system. Matrix Gla protein removes free circulating calcium and directs it to the bones.

Food sources of vitamin K2 include animal sources, fermented dairy and fermented soybeans, such as natto.Swanson’s vitamin K2 is derived from Japanese natto which is the richest natural source of vitamin K2.

The daily Adequate Intake (AI) of vitamin K2 for adults is 120 mcg for men and 90 mcg for women.3

If you’re looking to add a real food vitamin K2 supplement to your daily routine, try Swanson Real Food Vitamin K2. These once-daily softgels deliver 200 mcg of vitamin K2 sourced from non-GMO natto (fermented soy) for bone and cardio support.

Real Food Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble vitamins with a particular set of antioxidant capabilities. The naturally-sourced form of vitamin E is commonly called d-alpha-tocopheryl, which can be found nuts and seeds, hazelnuts, peanuts and almonds, as well as some vegetable oils including safflower oil and corn oil.4

Vitamin E is essential because it helps boost heart health while helping to neutralize free radicals within the body.5

The daily recommended amount of vitamin E for adults is at least 15 mg (22.4 IU) and the tolerable upper intake level (UL) is 1,000 mg or 1,500 IU.6

Our Real Food E from Non-GMO Sunflower Oil delivers everything you need from a real food-sourced vitamin E supplement. These once-a-day softgels contain a generous 400 IU of vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopheryl) sourced from non-GMO sunflower seed oil.

Real Food B-Complex

Incorporating B vitamins into your diet or wellness regimen is an exceptional way to boost health in a number of ways.

The family of B vitamins includes:

Getting all of your B vitamins from diet alone requires eating a wide variety of foods, which makes supplementation a convenient option.

This is especially true when it comes to individuals who follow vegetarian or vegan diets, as B12 is almost exclusively found in animal sources.7

The health benefits of taking B vitamins are wide-ranging and include stress support, promoting a healthy mood, increasing energy, better heart health, improved athletic performance, enhanced skin and hair health, powerful antioxidant support and much more.8, 9

When selecting a B vitamin supplement, it’s important to keep in mind the recommended daily intake (RDI) or adequate intake (AI) of each of these vitamins. They are:

Daily B Vitamin Intakes

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 1.1 mg for women, 1.2 mg for men (RDI)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 1.1 mg for women, 1.3 mg for men (RDI)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 14 mg for women, 16 mg for men (RDI)
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 5 mg for women and men (AI)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 1.3 mg for women and men (RDI)
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin): 30 mcg for women and men (AI)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate): 400 mcg for women and men (RDI)
  • B12 (Cobalamin): 2.4 mcg for women and men (RDI)

You can get your daily dose of the entire family of energizing, stress busting B vitamins sourced from organic quinoa sprouts in our Real Food B-Complex.

This B-complex supplement is great for heart health, energy production, healthy metabolism, antioxidant support, skin and hair health, athletic performance and more, and it’s vegan-friendly, non-GMO and gluten-free!

Real Food Multivitamins for Men & Women

Traditional Western diets aren’t always on par with our nutritional needs, but multivitamins offer a great way to help fill in any nutritional gaps that may occur.

If you’re looking for a food-form vitamin to boost daily intakes of your essentials, real food multivitamins can help.

We’ve created multis for both men and women, featuring vitamins, minerals and herbs specifically chosen with the unique health needs of men and women in mind, plus they’re sourced from wholesome real foods!

Swanson Ultra Real Food Men’s Daily features a trio of herbs for prostate and bladder health and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.

This non-GMO, vegan-friendly and gluten-free formula is an excellent way to boost immunity, antioxidant function, male vitality, stress reduction and more.

This blend features ingredients sourced from pumpkin seed extract, quinoa sprouts and algae among others.

Swanson Ultra Real Food Multi Women’s Daily features a trio of herbs for women and a wealth of vitamins and minerals from the absolute best real food sources.

This formula supports healthy hair, skin and nails, immune function, bone health, urinary tract health and delivers a powerful dose of antioxidants.

It’s a non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan-friendly real food women’s multi that features ingredients sourced from organic food sources like cranberry concentrate, turmeric root extract, quinoa sprouts, kelp and more.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like The Science Behind Your Supplement—Real Food Protein and The Science Behind Your Pill—Real Food Vitamins. Also, be sure to sign up for Swanson Health Emails to get expert advice and our best promotions delivered straight to your inbox.

Lindsey Bristol, Swanson Health Products

About Lindsey Toth, MS, RD

Lindsey is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for pie. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food. Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition.

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


1. Human Plasma and Tissue Alpha-Tocopherol Concentrations. PubMed. Read source

2. The Role of Vitamin K. National Library of Medecine. Read source

3. Vitamin K Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Read source

4. Vitamin E Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Read source

5. Vitamin E Consumption and the Risk of Coronary Disease in Women. PubMed. Read source

6. Vitamin E Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Read source

7. Vitamin B12. National Library of Medecine. Read source

8. Vitamin B Benefits. HealthLine. Read source

9. Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Read source