DID YOU KNOW ?
There is hardly anything going on in our bodies, which does not require vitamins or minerals; even a minor deficiency of just one or another will cause our cells to start functioning inefficiently, causing a slow-down of the metabolism and weakening of the immune-system.
Consuming the foods available to us today, it wouldn’t be an easy task to provide all the right nutrients in the correct proportions to ensure continuous optimal functioning of all these multiple processes, even if we made our best effort to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Therefore it often proves beneficial to fortify our diet with high-quality vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements; however, most commercial multi-vitamin/mineral supplements are NOT the optimal way to do so.
Fact is that many multi-vitamin/mineral products are synthetic chemical cocktails, which do more harm than any good; the wide majority of commonly sold multi-vitamin/mineral supplements is inadequately composed; many include low-quality, cheap, hardly absorbable, and most often synthetic, even health-damaging versions of particular nutrients.
Another shortcoming of multi-vitamin/mineral supplements is that they supply all their nutrients to the body at the same time. While this may be perceived as convenient, bunching up all of these nutrients into one single formula causes some of these substances to compete with each other for absorption, which may diminish the uptake of certain vital nutrients.
Inferior multi-vitamin/mineral supplements to avoid can usually be distinguished by identifying some untoward ingredients on their labels.
One such “low-quality indicator” is the type of Magnesium included in multi-vitamin/mineral supplements. Many include Magnesium in its poorly absorbed forms as Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Carbonate, Magnesium Sulfate or Magnesium Gluconate, which should all be avoided. Only a tiny amount of such substandard types of Magnesium is actually absorbed, not enough to effectively raise the blood levels of this extremely important mineral. Manufacturers, who utilize such unhealthful cheap ingredients, prove that they value their companies’ profits higher than their customers’ health. A slightly better form of Magnesium is Magnesium Citrate, but truly high-quality chelates of Magnesium include Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Malate, rarely found in multi- vitamin supplements.
Inferior multi-vitamin supplements also often contain Calcium in its cheap and poorly-absorbed Calcium Carbonate form. Better quality products commonly include Calcium Citrate instead, which is more bioavailable and easier absorbed.
Low-grade multi-vitamins may also feature synthetically-manufactured dl-alpha tocopherol as “vitamin E”, which is not only just half as potent as natural d-alpha tocopherol, but has the potential to bring about a wide spectrum of health issues. Beware of products with synthetic dl- alpha-tocopherol included as “vitamin E” . Natural d-alpha-tocopherol is better, although d-alpha-tocopherol is just one component of the complete natural vitamin E-complex, consisting of 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols. Of the four tocopherols, it actually is the so-called gamma tocopherol, which is the most important and beneficial member of the vitamin E family; it acts to trap and remove free radicals, such as reactive nitrogen, from the body in a way that d-alpha-tocopherol cannot.
Iron should never be included in any multi-vitamin, as it is a quite risky substance. Ingesting supplemental iron, while not actually being deficient in this mineral, can easily lead to an excess building up in the body, as our body has no specific mechanism to rid itself of excess iron. Any stored excess is detrimental to health, as it generates free radicals by acting as a pro-oxidant, thus accelerating aging and promoting cancer, heart disease, and other health issues. Even when a true iron-deficiency exists, obtaining iron from foods naturally high in iron, such as dark leafy greens, grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, as well as eggs and diary products, is safer than relying on supplements, because the body is able to regulate its iron intake from foods. Truly iron-deficient people, who decide to ingest supplemental iron, should take iron individually (best as Ferrochel Iron Bisglycinate), as iron is ideally ingested on an empty stomach, not with meals, as multi-vitamins generally are. For most individuals, who, despite all the above mentioned concerns, opt for a multi-vitamin, an iron-free multi-vitamin/mineral product may likely be a better choice.
Folic Acid is the synthetic version of vitamin B9 and is NOT found in food. As its conversion to active vitamin B9 is slow and ineffective, un- metabolized Folic Acid may build up in the blood-stream; this may over time cause health problems, such as an increased cancer risk. While the names Folic Acid and Folate are often used interchangeably, they are NOT the same. Try to find a product, which provides Folate, the naturally-occurring form of Vitamin B9 (or 5-MethylTetraHydroFolate), or at least Folinic Acid. As opposed to synthetic Folic Acid, natural Folate is non-toxic, as any excess is easily eliminated.
Vitamin D should be included as vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), which is the same form of vitamin D that our body produces in response to sun exposure. As opposed to the less bioactive, cheaper plant-based vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol), our bodies’ nature-identical vitamin D3 is better absorbed, utilized and 300% more effective.
As it may prove difficult to find a multi-vitamin supplement with exclusively high-quality ingredients, it may be best to fine-tune your vitamin/mineral intake in accordance with your individual needs, and separately ingest selected high-quality-nutrients at the appropriate times and in the correct amounts and combinations for best absorption and maximum effectiveness.
If you should nevertheless wish to rely on a commercial multi- vitamin/mineral product, do yourself a favor and try to find the concoction with the least harmful ingredients. Avoid “convenient” once- a-day formulations, but rather choose one, which provides your daily vitamin/mineral ration in several doses throughout the day: water- soluble vitamin C and most B vitamins ( except B12) can not be stored in your body, and any amounts that are not immediately used by your system are usually excreted very quickly with the urine, leaving you unprotected just short hours after intake. Last, but not least, always prefer capsules to tablets, due to the unhealthful binders and fillers which tablets generally contain.