Best Multi Vitamins
There is surprising news regarding the best multi vitamins: they’re not necessarily the ones that are the most expensive. In fact, contrary to expectations, some of the least expensive ones are actually the best. Some of them may not be good for you at all, so proceed carefully when choosing a brand.
An organization called ConsumerLab.com keeps a careful watch over the supplement industry, and does extensive laboratory testing of the various brands on the market. It’s an industry watch-dog, not unlike Consumer Reports, and their recent research has tested over twenty of the brands seen on shelves in health food stores, markets, and other venues. Also surprisingly, more than half of the ones tested were found to be counter-productive in one way or another. Some of them contained either too much or too little of some vitamins, others were found to contain substances that are actually dangerous. Lead is one of the harmful ingredients, not listed on the label, which has been found in some of the multi vitamins on the market. Lead can be a by-product of the manufacturing process, and it is not added intentionally.
Finding the Best Multi Vitamins
Different kinds of multi vitamins are best for people at various life stages. For women in child bearing years, multi vitamins that have 400 micrograms of folic acid in them are helpful in developing cell growth. For pregnant women, 600 micrograms of folic acid are recommended, as it can help to avoid neural damage in the birth canal. For women before menopause, multi vitamins that contain iron replace the iron naturally lost during the menstrual cycle, but on the other hand, women who are going through menopause, or have gone through it already, don’t need the iron. In fact, the unneeded iron could increase the chances of developing heart disease. Men should ideally take multi vitamins that contain no iron, or at the most, a very low dosage, as it can lead to joint pain and other problems. There isn’t a kind of multi vitamin that is best for everyone.
If you are concerned about the quality of multi vitamin you want to take, there are several sources online to help you make that choice. You should also look at the bottle, and check to see if there are stamps of approval by various agencies, which will at least indicate purity of manufacture. Certain labels insure that the vitamins do not contain toxic ingredients. ConsumerLab.com has a “CL” label on the bottle. Some of the other nonprofit organizations you can trust to insure purity of the contents are the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and NSF International (NSF). You can certainly do some research on your own, consulting sources such as ConsumerLab.com, or Health.com, for advice. It’s highly recommended that you avoid any brands that have not passed the ConsumerLab.com, or other quality-assurance labs’, testing process. Some products have no endorsement labels on them at all, and these should definitely be avoided. Many manufacturers will not allow their products to be tested because they know that they won’t pass.
You will never know this from the industry hype associated from the multi vitamins on the market. Product endorsements invariably use words like “scientifically proven” or “natural” to convince consumers that their product is best. They are often endorsed by a doctor, but doctor of what is the question.
What Are the Problems with Some Multi Vitamins?
The answer to this question varies, depending on the source. A recent paper by researchers in Denmark and other countries in Europe says that taking any kind of vitamin might actually reduce your life expectancy. American researchers, including those at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, disagree, saying that taking multi vitamins is beneficial.
Too much or too little of certain vitamins may make some brands harmful. For example, Vitamin E acts as a blood thinner, and if you are taking a prescription that already has this effect, you should be careful not to take those vitamins that contain too much. Also, certain vitamins can be contraindicated during chemotherapy. You should check with your doctor when making a choice of multi vitamins, to make sure that the brand you choose won’t undo the benefits of treatment.
Vitamin labels have a reference list on them that defines the amount of each vitamin you should take daily, and the percentage of those vitamins in each pill. However, these figures are highly unreliable, as they have not been update since 1968, and a great deal of research has been done since then. The amount of each vitamin in a dosage should never exceed the tolerable upper limit, or UL, recommended by the governments Dietary Reference Intakes, or DRI. Excesses of some vitamins can be stored in the body and have a toxic effect, so pay close attention to the UL for each.
The type of vitamin dosage can also present problems. Liquid vitamins in capsules, for example, degrade much more quickly than those in pill form. Once they have degraded, they lose their effectiveness. On the other hand, some sources claim that liquid multi vitamins are more easily absorbed by the body.
Which Brands of Multi Vitamins Are Best?
USP recommends the Kirkland or Nature Made multi vitamins. Some of the cheapest on the market, like the One-A-Day brand, at $8.99 a bottle, and Centrum, brands that are easily found in many locations, are among the best.
ConsumerLab.com has tested some of the most expensive vitamins, which sell for about forty dollars a bottle, and they haven’t passed their tests. Two of those are The Greatest Vitamin in the World and Eniva Vibe. Don’t be fooled by the flashy names or price tags; cost doesn’t equate with quality in the multi vitamin business.
Avoiding Multi Vitamin Queasiness
Do you sometimes feel queasy after taking a multi vitamin? Experts say that you may be taking the wrong kind, and advise changing brands to see if another works better for you. It is also suggested that multivitamins should always be taken with food, because the fats in foods are break down the vitamins and allow them to be absorbed by the body. Vitamins are not a replacement for food, but an enhancement. The absorption of vitamins doesn’t depend on the form. Liquids in capsules still need food to help the body break them down.