Best Multivitamins

Get better at the sports you play and the life you lead at STACK. Improve your training, nutrition and lifestyle with daily

Your defense is sick, but how well does your body defend against sickness?

Missing the big game bedridden with the flu is a hard pill to swallow. One that isn't: a liquid multivitamin, which can help your body maintain a healthy immune system.

According to the American Dietetic Association, two vitamins that help fight infection are B6, which also aids other bodily functions, and C, a key antioxidant that battles inflammation by neutralizing tissue-damaging free radicals. Research in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that, along with vitamin C, vitamin E supplementation reduces muscle damage resulting from intense activity. Iron, which female athletes especially need, aids in delivering oxygen to muscles, which can prolong the time before you tire.

Simply put, your body requires all sorts of micronutrients to remain healthyand to keep you in action. Note though: while a surplus won't necessarily enhance your performance, a deficiency will certainly hinder it. For instance, a lack of certain B vitamins can lead to anemia, and a shortage of calcium and vitamin A may impair bone growth.

Two measures that help protect against insufficient conditions are a balanced diet and a daily multivitamin. Here's a list of top liquids and tablets.

Vitamin Shoppe Liquid
$22 per 32 fl oz. bottle

Vital 411: Orange-vanilla flavor offers 100 percent of your daily value [DV] for 10 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, which assists in blood-clotting protein synthesis and bone mineralization

Centrum Liquid

$10 per 8 fl. ounce bottle

Vital 411: One dose provides 100 percent DV of a dozen vitamins and minerals; it also offers 50 percent DV of iron

GNC Mens Mega Men Sport Multivitamin

$35 per 180 caplets

Vital 411: Along with B vitamins, this multi is enhanced with branched chain amino acids, which help reduce the amount of protein broken down during activity; also provides 100 percent or more of nearly 20 vitamins and minerals

Mega Vitamin for Teens

$11.49 per 120 tablets

Vital 411: Supplies 26 vitamins and minerals; 100 percent DV of 16, including vitamins A and E

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock