The importance of including a good quality daily multi-vitamin mineral supplement is a concept I don’t believe many people seem to grasp. In a perfect world, we would be getting all of our much needed nutrients from the foods we consume, but sadly this is not the case, since a majority of people eat SAD (standard American diet). I hate to burst your bubble, but One-A-Day is not the ideal choice for a multi. Sure, it’s a great marketing ploy-“I can take only one vitamin per day and get all the important nutrients my body needs!” Riiiight. My friends, most of the vitamins in your multi are WATER soluble, and guess what our bodies are mainly made up of? You guessed it-water-about 70% of our body weight, if you want to get technical. This means, that most of the vitamins and minerals taken in are getting excreted through our urine. Yes, we pee most of them out, meaning, you need more than ONE-A-DAY to actually receive the benefits from them. A high quality multi will most likely have you taking 6 per day. Sounds like a lot, but again, in order to absorb the vitamins and minerals, you need to take more since many don’t get absorbed due to excretion. Some vitamins (A, D, K, and E) are FAT soluble, so these you don’t need as much of, as they are stored in our fat cells and can actually be toxic if you get too much. Let me give you a little bit of info on what should be in your multi-vitamin supplement, and offer you some key ingredients to look for to know you are getting a good quality product.
First off, let me tell you what you DON’T want in your multi. Artificial additives for starters; sweeteners such as Aspartame, or any other non-natural sweetener-this is just a common one they like to use. Artificial colorings or dyes should not be in your multi as well. Again, these are man made CHEMICALS, so why should they be in a multi-vitamin that is supposed to be serving you? These are foreign substances your body does not recognize, so they should definitely not be included in your multi-vitamin. Cheap vitamins typically contain fillers made with starches or silica and these can be toxic to your body as well. Try to stick with as natural a product as possible.
Tabs versus capsule form…tabs usually contain more binders, which if it is a cheaply made supplement, can be made up of artificial ingredients making it junk. Capules are typically easier to swallow for people and get absorbed into your body more quickly. I do have to say though, that I take an excellent high quality supplement in tablet form, so there are good ones out there.
When looking at the ingredients of a multi, you should look for most of the contents to be in chelated forms. Chelated means that the vitamin or mineral are tightly bound to amino acid molecules making them easier for the body to absorb because your body can recognize it and break it down. Some examples of things to look for are calcium citrate vs. calcium carbonate. The reason is that calcium is better absorbed in an acid environment (citrate) versus an alkaline one (carbonate). Another clue is to look at the vitamin E. You do not want a supplement with synthetic vitamin E. Look for mixed tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, etc) with “d” in front on them such as d-alpha tocopherol. Do not choose one that has a dl form of tocopherol such as dl-alpha, dl-beta because this form is synthetic. One other clue is to look at the amount of vitamin C. Back in the day, RDA suggested that 60mg of vitamin C was enough to take on a daily basis. This is just enough to prevent scurvy folks…and I don’t know about you, but I don’t think scurvy is too common these days (scurvy is a deficiency in vitamin C). The amount of vitamin C should be at least 200 mg per tablet or capsule.
Fun fact: the use of limes by the British Royal Navy to prevent scurvy gave rise to the name “limey” for an English immigrant in the former British colonies (particularly America, New Zealand and South Africa). The use of this word has been extended to include all British people in American slang.
Here is the ingredient list for Bayer’s Women’s One-A-Day….see if you notice anything fishy…
INGREDIENTS: Calcium Carbonate, Cellulose, Magnesium Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Ferrous Fumarate, Corn Starch, Maltodextrin, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Acacia, Croscarmellose Sodium, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Dextrin, Hypromellose, Magnesium Stearate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Niacinamide, Silicon Dioxide, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Gelatin, Polyethylene Glycol, Cupric Sulfate, Dextrose, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Glucose, Soy Lecithin, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Acetate, Chromium Chloride, Folic Acid, Beta-Carotene, FD&C Yellow #5 (tartrazine) Lake, FD&C Yellow #6 Lake, Sodium Selenate, Biotin, Phytonadione, FD&C Blue #2 Lake, Cholecalciferol, Tricalcium Phosphate, Cyanocobalamin.
Now, hopefully, you noticed the Calcium Carbonate right away…so, clue #1, it’s not the best form. Remember, you want to look for Calcium Citrate. Did you also notice that the form of vitamin E is dl-alpha-Tocopheryl? As stated before, this is a synthetic type of vitamin E, so again, not the best for you.
The fact that it contains soy brings up a good point. Many people have developed allergies to soy because soy is in EVERYTHING. Most of the time, you can bet dollars in Vegas that it’s a GMO type of soy product. Corn and soy are America’s #1 harvested crops, and commercial farmers do some wacky things to their crops to increase production and therefore increase their profits, but soy should not be in your multi and if it is, it BETTER be organic. Did you also notice all the artificial coloring such as Yellow #6 and Blue #2? No bueno. These are chemical substances that have no business living in your multi-vitamin.
Okay, here is a link to a women’s multi vitamin made by New Chapter, which is a whole food based supplement company. They are also organic, which is another plus about New Chapter.
Take a gander at their ingredients. Now, this is top of the line, people. Theirs does contain soy as well, but as you can see on their label, it is non-GMO.
If cost is an issue for you, consider this; with the money you “save” on cheaply made vitamins, you will “spend” in other ways such as other forms of healthcare or prescriptions. If you invest in a high quality multi, you reap the benefits of having a killer “insurance policy” on your health by taking a supplement where the nutrients actually get ABSORBED, helping to keep you healthy.
New Chapter is pretty pricey, but they are the Mercedes Benz of supplements because they are food based, meaning they are bio available and your body doesn’t have to do much to absorb them and also they are organic, so you do get what you pay for here. They are available in the body care section of Whole Foods.
Some other alternatives are:
Vital Nutrients: http://www.vitalnutrients.net/
Source Naturals: http://www.sourcenaturals.com/
Metagenics (although this is a professional line, so you have to get them through a licensed professional-your chiropractor may carry them…this is my brand of choice, actually…I LOVE this company) http://www.metagenics.com/
Which ever multi you choose, just make sure to read the ingredients. Follow the guidelines I laid out to help you be a savvy consumer. Do your research and see where the product comes from. It’s your body, so you have full control of what goes into it. Love your body and treat it well because it is the only one you will have. It will thank you for it. 🙂