Should I be taking a Multivitamin? This question is often asked in my practice and one that I feel is of the utmost importance to address. Statistics show that 64% of Americans are taking some form of multivitamin every day; that’s over 200 million people! The real question is, “Why are you taking it and what is best for me?’
Premise for Taking a Multivitamin
The basic idea for taking a multivitamin is to fill in the nutrient gaps that each of us likely has based on our personal food intakes. No one’s diet is perfect all of the time; and, unfortunately, some of the foods that we consume and assume to be healthy simply don’t have the same nutritional contents that they did fifty years ago.
With the evolution of farming and increased use of potentially harmful GMO seeds in combination with spraying toxic chemicals to kill pests we are witnessing a depletion in the nutrient density of today’s fruits and vegetables. To make matters worse, our diet has changed from the “hunter gather” to a uptick in the “Western diet” that is composed mostly of processed and refined foods. It is no wonder why our society is sicker than ever. These “new foods” are commonly eaten at the expense of nutrient-dense, whole foods. To complicate matters, we are regularly exposed to many environmental toxins, also having a negative impact on our health. Therefore, it has become even more important for each of us to take personal responsibility for what we eat.
What should I look for in a Multivitamin?
Do you take a over the counter multivitamin like Centrum, GNC’s Megaman, or another store bought brand name multivitamin? I remember long ago looking at the back of a Centrum bottle and seeing thousands of percents of vitamins and thinking that surely this multivitamin would do the trick and provide me with what I need.
I was dead wrong.
The bad news is that Centrum and many others multivitamins can actually be very harmful and do the opposite of what they market being able to do. Take a look at this list from Megan Telpner as she takes a deep dive into the harmful effects of Centrum
A Few Centrum Facts:
- Centrum is a product produced by the company Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
- The dosages of most of the nutrients in Centrum are negligible and not even close to therapeutic levels.
- The forms that the nutrients are provided in are the cheapest and the least absorbable forms.
- Supplements that come in tablet form are often hard to digest and contain binders and fillers.
- Water-soluble nutrients (vitamin C and the B-vitamins) are either used or excreted within about 4 hours. Thus, a one-a-day multi is completely useless and a sure sign that it is of poor quality.
The Ingredients In Centrum:
- Calcium Carbonate This is the least absorbable forms of calcium on the market. A very small percentage is actually absorbed.
- Ferrous Fumarate This form of iron is incredibly constipating.
- Pregelatinized Corn Starch This is used as a binder to hold all of the ingredients together. It most likely a genetically modified corn which presents a number of problems for sensitive people.
- DL-Alpha Tocopherol This is vitamin E and they are using two forms. The “D” form which is natural and the “L” Form which is synthetic. The “L” form is used to “water-down” the more expensive more bioactive “D” form.
- BHT Butylated hydroxyanisole has been shown to be toxic to the liver, thyroid, kidney, lungs, and affecting blood coagulation. BHT can act as a tumour promoter.
- FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake Why is there food colouring in a health supplement?
- Gelatin Vegetarians watch out!
- Hydrogenated Palm Oil Hydrogenating any oil turns the oil rancid and makes it into a strong free radical. Free radicals promote cancer and heart disease.
- Nickelous Sulfate and Tin I have never come across any nutrition book discussing a nickel or tin deficiency. Have you? We most likely don’t need to supplement it.
- Sodium Benzoate A preservative that may cause organ toxicity.
- Talc Has been shown to cause cancer.
- Sodium Aluminosilicate Used as a food additive for its anti caking effect.
Even for kids, while Flintstones or gummy vitamins are colorful, they may be actually contributing to sickness in your children. In fact, many chewables for children contain Aspartame, in order to make it sweet. Aspartame is a very well known brain toxin, killing brain cells. Check out this article by Dr. Russell Blaylock on Excitotoxins and what he says about these colorful vitamins.
Whole Food Vs. Synthetic Supplements
More is not always better. Just because a bottle may list thousands of percent of something doesn’t make it better. In nature, things are never found like this. A synthetic vitamin does something called “fractionating”. This is how they get the 3500% of Vitamin C in one pill. What they do is take the whole vitamin C chain and then dice it up into small little components, then count each of those small components as 1%… sneaky huh?
Remember, chemically made substance as just that, chemically made. Chemicals and synthetics don’t sustain life, they only serve to break it down and destroy life. Only food, in its natural whole form supports and sustains life. If synthetic vitamins don’t actually come from food, where do they come from??
Dr Richard Schulze in “Superfood” has the following things to say about just a few of the “vitamins” that are in synthetics:
“Many so called natural vitamins are made from horrible substances. All the vitamin B-12, cyanocobalamin, on the market is made from either ground up toxic cow livers or activated sewage sludge. These cow livers are overloaded with steroids and antibiotics, and the pesticides the cow assimilates while eating. The sewage sludge is just that, fecal matter. In today’s environment of depressed immune diseases I can think of hundreds of reasons that these materials would be a health risk, not benefit. Just because a so-called natural substance (fecal matter is natural ) is high in a particular vitamin, does that also mean it is a good food?
How do you know a supplement comes from whole foods?
When considering what type of multivitamin to put into your body I always suggest you start by comparing the source of ingredients. Taking a quick peek at manmade (aka synthetic) compounds like Centrum ingredient list and you find nothing resembling food at all. But there is an alternative. In 1929, Dr. Royal Lee, the founder of Standard Process, made his first whole food supplement called Catalyn. Catalyn was designed to contain a little bit of everything that the body needs in order to function correctly. Because food eighty years ago had much more nutrients, just taking six Catalyn per day helped the body heal from an untold number of health issues. Since then, many other whole food products were designed by Standard Process to meet the increasingly complex nutritional needs of people. Lets take a look at the source ingredient list of Catalyn:
Rice (bran), carrot (root), calcium lactate, nutritional yeast, bovine adrenal, bovine liver, magnesium citrate, bovine spleen, ovine spleen, bovine kidney, dried pea (vine) juice, dried alfalfa (whole plant) juice, mushroom, oat flour, and soybean lecithin.
All of these ingredients together in super concentrated form provide the body with the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzyme, phytonutrients and co factors that the body needs to function correctly. All of their supplements are cold pressed around 90 degrees in order to preserve the enzymes and make sure all of the vital ingredients are still vital!
Isn’t it nice to know where your ingredients come from right? Many other great whole food supplement companies have since started due to the demand people now are making on supplements that actually help to restore health, but my favorite remains Standard Process.
If you are interested in taking a multivitamin please make sure it is whole food based, organic and comes from a reputable company. Here is a LINK to buy Catalyn for yourself to try. If you are a patient of mine, next time you are in the office, let me know and we can get you started on Catalyn when you come in next.