Multi-Vitamins: What you need to know!
When it comes to quality, not all multi-vitamins are created equally. There are many factors to consider when determining what type of multi-vitamin is right for you. However, one thing most of us can agree on is that when we plan to invest into something, especially when it comes to our health, we want something that is going to be of benefit. When it comes to assessing multi-vitamins, most nutrients within them are measured in terms of weight, as opposed to the form, source of or biological activity. This can be misleading and even deceiving. If we were to use magnesium as an example, while a particular multi-vitamin such as Centrum Silver for adults may contain 50 mg. of magnesium in the inorganic form of magnesium oxide (magnesium bound to oxygen), it is important to remember that this form of magnesium is poorly absorbed from the intestinal tract into the body (with evidence yielding an average bioavailability of 2-3%). Better forms of magnesium that can be absorbed in higher levels and thus yield a greater level of bioavailability would be the organic forms such as food state magnesium or amino acid chelated forms which are bound to amino acids. These forms usually have a much better absorption rate ranging around 25-40%. Even if a multi-vitamin claimed to deliver 400 mg. of magnesium in the form of magnesium oxide, with a 2-3% absorption rate one would be lucky to absorb around 8-12 mg. of actual magnesium, whereas magnesium from a multi-vitamin that delivers 100 mg. of a much more bioavailable form has the potential to deliver more than twice that amount to the body.
Another valuable factor to consider when looking for a multi-vitamin is the form of the nutrient in terms of biological activity. In most cases, nutrients in their biologically active forms require fewer steps in enzymatic processing by the body’s cells and instead are “ready to be properly used by the body”. For instance, when it comes to Vitamin B-12, most companies use a less expensive form of B-12 known as cyanocobalamin. This form of B-12 is not an active coenzymated form and while a good percentage of this form of B-12 can be converted in the intestines over to a coenzymated form known as Adenosylcobalamin (which can help support nerve health) only around 1% of cyanocobalamin can be converted over to Methylcobalamin, the form of B-12 which comprises around 70% of the total blood plasma B-12 reserves and is considered the most superior form in terms of its ability to enhance human health.
Sometimes it can be just as important to “keep an eye out” and look for certain ingredients that are not in a multi-vitamin as it is to look at what nutrients are in one. For many people, especially people who are already aware of their chemical sensitivities or food allergies it can be best for them to avoid, as much as possible, exposure to unnecessary ingredients such as gluten, dairy, corn, yeast, or any artificial additives, colors and preservatives.
There can be a lot to know and take into consideration when it comes to the art of choosing a good multi-vitamin supplement. Some great brands with good forms of organic and more bioavailable nutrients without artificial additives, colors, preservatives or fillers are: Megafood’s food-state multi-vitamins, Garden of Life’s Raw food state multi-vitamins, Europharma’s (Terry Naturally’s) Everybody’s Multi and also Orthomolecular Nutrition’s Alpha-base multivitamins.
Keep in mind that there are literally hundreds of different multi-vitamins on the market. When it comes to running a business one of the most important factors to consider is generating a profit and preventing from going bankrupt. Most companies take strong consideration to the fact that the majority of consumers know little about or pay little attention to the fine details regarding the nutrient facts used on the label of a product, beyond amounts expressed in weight and the cost. As a result, many companies will cut corners and purchase cheaper or inorganic forms of individual nutrients to combine together and use in their multivitamin formula. This allows them to be able to offer what seems like a higher amount of nutrients for a lower price. Pfizer, an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation (not to mention, one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the world), has been very successful with this marketing ploy. While it is true that marketing statistics have revealed that Pfizer’s Centrum multi-vitamins are the top selling multi-vitamins, it is also easy to understand why, since they retail for around $10. Have you ever read the details on their nutrition labels? Have you ever read the extra ingredients in their formulas?