If you’re like most people, you compare prices before deciding on which product or service you want to buy. But when it comes to deciding on the best multivitamin take, quality counts—you get what you pay for. Although the inexpensive prices of the multivitamins sold by major retailers are tempting, there are a number of things you should know about these products.
The vast majority of all multivitamins are made out of cheap, synthetic, chemical isolates that claim to promote health, but don't.
You can typically identify a chemical isolate by its two-part name. For example: thiamin HCL, tocopheryl succinate, ascorbic acid, calcium carbonate etc. If you are taking a multivitamin with a list of ingredients like this, you’re better off not taking it at all!
The problem is that...
when scientists study the relative effects of nutrients, they do not make a distinction between a nutrient created in a lab versus one extracted from a whole food. But there is a difference—a big difference. Vitamin C, for example, doesn't exist as an isolate in nature; it is always found with other supporting antioxidants and phytonutrients. So taking vitamin C (ascorbate) from a plant-based source is qualitatively different from taking vitamin C created in a lab (ascorbic acid). Unfortunately, most conventional scientists (and doctors) are not aware of the difference between what is synthetic and what is real and do not make a distinction in their research studies.
Synthetic multivitamins do not provide a properly-balanced mix of nutrients.
This is due to cost limitations. You will typically get large quantities of the most inexpensive nutrients (like B vitamins) and not enough of the others (like calcium and magnesium). Because the physical processes of the human body are all nutrient-driven and inter-connected, taking an improper balance of vitamins and minerals can actually create the health and fitness problems you are trying to prevent or avoid (reduced energy and well-being and increased risk of disease such as osteoporosis, heart disease and even cancer).
It's important to realize, too, that the actions of vitamins and minerals are highly inter-related. For example, without enough of the vitamins A and K or the minerals, magnesium and zinc, your body cannot fully utilize vitamin D—no matter how much of it you take. And without an adequate amount of vitamin D, for example, your body will not be able to effectively utilize all the omega 3 fats in your fish oil or the fish you eat.
Your body absorbs only a small percentage of vitamin and mineral isolates—and it uses even less.
The human body has evolved for millions of years to digest and utilize foods for nourishment. Most synthetically-produced vitamins and supplements are chemical compounds that cannot be found in nature; hence the human body doesn’t use these ingredients well. Simply put, the body knows the difference between what’s real and what’s not; and it always prefers what’s real.
There are many negative health and environmental impacts from the synthetic ingredients found in conventional multivitamins.
Most of the raw materials used in conventional vitamins and mineral blends are made in China from genetically-modified sources or made in the United States as by-products of pharmaceutical manufacturing. In addition, many of the chemicals used as a base for synthetic vitamins are toxic and include nicotine, coal tars, and petroleum waste products. It's important to avoid these as well as other potentially-toxic ingredients such as magnesium stearate or stearic acid (used as flowing agents), silicon dioxide or common sand (used as an inexpensive filler that makes the bottle weigh more), natural flavors (a common term for toxic MSG used to disguise bland tastes), methylcellulose, carnauba wax, titanium dioxide, and many more. If you cannot be sure what the ingredients in your multivitamin are, don’t take it. These chemical agents may pose significant health risks when they are consumed regularly over time.
Nature intended for you to consume food in its WHOLE form because all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes work synergistically.
The natural nutrients found in food concentrates work together to give your body the raw materials it requires for optimal health. Isolated vitamins, by definition, were (ineffectively) designed to address short-term disease states (such as scurvy), not long-term nutritional diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. This has been shown in a number of studies that have proven isolated synthetic vitamins devoid of any long-term health benefits.
On the other hand, thousands of studies show a reduced risk of illness correlated to a high fruit and vegetable or phytonutrient intake. Used in an isolated state, vitamins alone cannot get the job done, but the combination of vitamins and their complementary phytonutrients (which occur naturally together in whole foods) can.
In a perfect world, you could satisfy all your nutritional needs by eating a “healthy” diet. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. And even if your diet is perfectly-balanced and 100% organic, you can still suffer from a variety of nutritional and/or metabolic imbalances. The ever-diminishing quality of our food supply, lack of adequate sunlight, environmental pollution, and unavoidable effects of both physical and mental stress are largely to blame.
Here’s the bottom line: if you want to optimize your health and well-being, you should be taking the very best multivitamin—one crafted exclusively from whole food concentrates.