Have you taken your vitamins today? GNC Women’s Ultra Active Vitapak review

I’ll be the first to admit it. Although I know how important it is to augment my healthy diet with a daily multivitamin, in the midst of the morning chaos, I often forget.

It’s not that the bottle is hidden away somewhere (that’s it, right there next to the cinnamon). It’s not that I have anything against taking vitamins (I don’t). And it’s definitely not because my diet is so complete that vitamins would provide no benefit!

I suspect it’s just because, other than during pregnancy, I’ve never made a regular habit of it.

About weeks ago, after participating in a Twitter chat (if you’ve never been part of a Twitter chat, you’re missing out on a whole lot of fun) hosted by FitFluential and GNC, I got to re-thinking the whole vitamin idea. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea just to ‘fill in the nutritional cracks’, so to speak.

I visited my local GNC store to ask for advice. The sales clerk (so friendly and helpful) pointed me in the direction of the Women’s Ultra Mega Active Vitapak.

GNC vitamins

Thirty days of prepackaged supplements including;

  • 2 multivitamins ‘specially formulated for active women’ (“featuring B-vitamins for carbohydrate metabolism and energy production”)
  • calcium (650 mg)
  • conjugated linoleic acid (CLA, 1000 mg; “a naturally occurring healthy fatty acid“)
  • 2 energy enhancer tablets (“helps to enhance metabolism, burn calories and boost energy levels“)

I happily left with my purchase and started taking them the next morning.

A few days later, I received an email from GNC asking me if I’d like to try the very same product and report on it to my readers. I told them I’d just purchased a box, but they insisted on treating me to a second month (as well as a gargantuan tub of chocolate whey protein powder, which I will review soon!). Thanks so much GNC!

What I liked:

GNC vitamins

  • having (almost) all the supplements I need in one package
  • feeling more energetic within about a week of starting them (my group fitness participants took note almost immediately and wanted to know ‘what I was on’)
  • being forced to drink a very large glass of water with breakfast (they are large pills and I find it challenging to swallow them)
  • their name; I feel strong and athletic just taking something with the words ‘ultra’ and ‘mega’  and ‘active’ in it’s name

What I’d like to see:

  • the addition of an Omega-3 fatty acid to the mix; I still need to remember to take this on the side. While GNC has another women’s Vitapak that does include Omega-3’s it doesn’t have the fat burners that the Ultra Mega Active pack does. I’m greedy, I want it all
  • a little ‘tear here’ spot on the package; I cannot open it without scissors. I have 3 young children and my kitchen scissors are rarely in the kitchen
  • instructions as to when to take each supplement. The sales clerk told me to take one of the multivitamins at breakfast and the other later in the day, but I’m curious about the best time to take the other two. For example, I’ve heard differing opinions about the best time to take calcium supplements.

And two words of caution if you’re new to taking high quality vitamins or vitamins with energy enhancers;

  • your pee will be yellower than normal (I took a picture to illustrate this point, but decided that you really didn’t need to see it). If you’re like me, this will make you think that you’re not drinking enough and up your water intake, thereby making you get up more frequently through the night to visit the bathroom
  • the main ingredient in the energy enhancers is tea (178.2 mg of caffeine per two tablets). If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you might want to scale back your regular coffee or tea intake. It took me three days to figure out why I was still wide awake at bedtime and ditch my second espresso of the day. Now I’m golden.

I have another week’s supply left in the first box, then I’ll be opening box number two. I think this is a product I’ll be taking for a long time to come (unless they come up with a new package of vitamins that includes both energy enhancers AND Omega 3’s!).

Do you take vitamins daily?

Which ones do you take?

Disclaimer: GNC Canada provided me with a month’s worth of their Women’s Ultra Mega Active Vitapak supplements and I thank them. All comments and opinions expressed in this review are my own. NB. Since writing this post I have become an Affiliate Marketer for GNC. Purchases made through this website will result in my receiving a commission from them. For more information, please see my Privacy and Disclosure Policy.

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Comments

  1. great review! especially the pee and caffeine tip! never would have thought of those!

  2. most excellent review and I love GNC!

  3. Thanks for the detailed review! I do take a multivitamin but not daily, and not always at the same time. Sounds like it’s doing wonders for you, though . Maybe I should work on being more consistent!

  4. I love the idea of having them all in one easy package. Great for traveling!

  5. bitesizewellness says:

    I love that one of your reasons for loving the vitamins is because of the words like “ultra” and “mega” I did look into the VitaPak and think it is a great option. Thanks for the review!

  6. Thanks all for your comments and tweets today!

  7. I am a big fan of GNC’s wellBeing line, and started taking their vitapaks a few years ago to “fill in the cracks,” as you put it. I’m happy to hear such a positive but balanced review, and really appreciate your great tips re: cutting back on caffeine, etc.

  8. I too have just started taking this same vitamin pack, the girl at the store told me to take all the pills with breakfast and have the additional vitamin (the large pink one) with lunch. Just wondering if I should continue taking my additional vitamin D and fish oil or not??? Thoughts??

    • Is the pink one 1 of the 2 multivitamins? Mine are orange (or maybe I’m colorblind?!). I’m still taking my fish oil as well; that’s the Omega 3 that I’d like them to add. The multivitamins have a total of 400 IU vitamin D. There’s been so much controversy about D dosage, that I’m not sure what to suggest. How much were you taking before?

      • I suppose it is more of a salmon color, (pinky orange), and yes that’s the one she told me to take one in the morning the other at lunch as the body can’t absorb that much in one sitting. I have heard varying opinions on Vitamin D, anywhere ranging from 1000-2000 per day, I have been taking 2000, so think I might just continue.. I just know that 400 is not quite enough.

  9. I have been taking these too… so handy!

  10. Debi Brannon says:

    Did you find them helpful for weight loss?

    • I don’t take multivitamins for weight loss; nor do most people. If you are cutting calories to lose weight, taking a supplement to make sure you’ve got all your vitamins covered is never a bad idea!

  11. Thanks so much for this post! I just picked up this vitapak too and had the same question about when to take them. I usually take my vitamins right before bed, but things like energy enhancers, CLA, or even L-Carnitine do not sound like before bed supplements. Any suggestions on when to take the vitamins in the pack?

    • Krystle, I take everything in the morning; but only 1 of the multivitamins. I used to take one in the morning and the other at bedtime, but I ended up with symptoms of vitamin B overload (extreme lethargy and electric green pee!). I would recommend that you start the same way!

  12. Marie anne says:

    Hi! Thank you so much for your post. Recently I bought the women’s ultra mega, but I’m scared because of the neon color of my pee. I think I’m forcing my kidneys. I only take one pill. Do you think the color is right? Or I just need to take the half of the pill?

    Help me, please.! 🙂

    • Marie Anne, almost every review of these supplements that I’ve read referred to the same neon green pee. Before suggesting anything, I’d like to ask how you’re feeling. Personally, these vitamins ended up making me feel really tired. So tired my husband and I thought I might have mono. Turns out that took much vitamin B can cause this. I resorted to taking only one of the vitamins daily and then stopped altogether

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  1. […] I reviewed GNC’s Women’s Ultra Mega Active Vitapak. Near the end of the post, I mentioned that the vitamins made my pee yellower than normal and I responded by increasing my […]