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Old 01-30-2004, 03:57 PM   #1
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What's the deal with multivitamins?

My mom and a few members on this board say that the vitamins found in multivitamins are not actually the ones found in nature, but rather synthesized vitamins whose effect and value (to the human body) hasn't been evaluated by the FDA and others...

Does this mean that whatever multivitamins we may be taking may be just pills or liquids of NOTHING !? How are we supposed to know if it's real or not; if our bodies are getting the nutrients essensial for optimal functioning?

Can someone please clear things up for me?

Thanks.

 
Old 02-02-2004, 05:08 AM   #2
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Re: What's the deal with multivitamins?

Nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, D. E, minerals and various other nutrients have significant value to our health and wellness and the FDA does acknowledge it. Ever hear of RDAs? The RDA values "recommended" by the FDA are the amounts a body requires in order to NOT have a deficiency or have symptom related deficiencies. Most of these rather low values have not been updated for many years, some up to 60 years. Considering the devalued nutrients in our food supply, the significant increase in processed food consumption and our exposure to environmental toxins that say a person living in the 50's was exposed to it should be very clear to any human being that our need to increase our intake of nutrients with companion supplements is essential. Many diseases rampant in our society can be related to a long-term nutrient deficiency.

As for supplements. The term synthesized does not meant he same thing as synthetic. There is no such thing as a "vitamin tree" where one could pick a vitamin C tablet off a branch. Supplements are synthesized, or MADE, by man. There are however, synthetic vitamins, not derived from a natural source. Vitamin E is a very good example of that. D-tocopherol (E) is the natural source. dl-tocopherol is the synthetic form (notice the difference in d as opposed to dl). Even the so called "whole food" supplements are misleading. These supplements are still synthesized - Nutrients that are cultured on yeast for example.

Understanding the manufacturing process of supplements is one that most, emphasize MOST, consumers have no knowledge of. Anyone with a keyboard and a monitor can look up the various uses and applications of vitamins and minerals, but to understand why one form is better than another, why one is absorbed and one is not is an entirely different science. How they are manufactured is a topic barely touched by most. Many people can't even pronounce the ingredients on their supplement label, let alone understand what they are and what impact they have on their vitamin product.

I can completely understand why conventional medicine is leary of recommending the use of supplements, other than the basic low dose run of the mill. The supplement industry in general does a horrible job of regulating itself, in many cases putting a persons health at risk, the unknowing consumer thinking they are doing the right thing, and vitamin manufacturers stuffing their pockets with the help of their PR Department.

If consumers would put as much effort into choosing their supplements as they do the grade of gasoline they put into their cars, some of this issue would clear up. Sadly many don't. The real sad thing is, it almost isn't their fault because manufacturing issues and standards issues are difficult to understand and unavailable to most.

I would recommend that if you are considering a supplementation to your daily food intake to consider going to a health food store that is independently owned and question the owner/clerk about the quality of any given brand. Even this won't give you the whole truth, as many stores will stock nationally know brands that you may be familiar with and still be getting garbage, but if you ask for a professional "brand" or therapeutic quality brand, generally speaking you'll be getting one that is good for you.

This issue could have a thread all unto itself. Very complex. Good luck. M

 
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Old 02-08-2004, 05:38 AM   #3
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Wink Very Informative!!!

Thanks for the reply (it was nearly 3 times as long as my question! I think I understand now.

Thanks again.

 
Old 02-08-2004, 05:43 AM   #4
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Re: What's the deal with multivitamins?

What about liquid vitamins?
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Old 02-08-2004, 06:09 AM   #5
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Re: What's the deal with multivitamins?

Excellent question and one with two sides. In theory, liquid nutrients have a higher absorption rate since they necessitate very little "breakdown". Similar to foods, the process of conversion is shorter than a vitamin that is compacted into a tablet or capsule. You have undoubtedly heard the phrase - readily bioavailable. So in THEORY this is true. In some situations liquid nutrients are the preferred form. Some being the key word here.

Generally speaking, while the theory above is true, applying that same approach to OTC liquid nutrients is misleading as most vitamins in liquid form that one could easly have access to in say a hfs are not gastric stable. Liquid vitamins that are gastric stable would be above the average consumers tollerance for cost. They are very expensive and prepared in such a way as to survive stomache acids and still be of any value. Most are reserved for IV nutritional therapy and are very pricey.

So you see, this is how the PR game is played. A company can make a claim saying that liquid vitamins are better absorbed and not be lying. They ARE better absorbed. Gently implying that THEIR liquid vitamins are what is being reffered to...but that's the consumers interpretation. The same game is played with other claims. How many times is this one used - 'Clinically proven to..... ?' Often (most) times the clinical reference being made is NOT reflecting the use of Company XYZ's product. All they are really saying is an ingredient in their formula has some clinical value. It does NOT mean it is THEIR product. Again, that is the consumers interpretation.

Just as some consumers think that anything that comes in a capsule must be better absorbed as opposed to a tablet. Sometimes a certain nutrient or herb should be in tablet form, and sometimes it should be in capsule...depending on how it is made, what the deliver mechanism is and how it interracts with the gut.

It's all a word game....a very tricky word game. I'm certainly not opposed to alternative therapies and supplementation, just the opposite. However, I am quite vocal about how the retail supplement industry is duping the general public. M

 
Old 02-08-2004, 08:33 AM   #6
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Cool Re: What's the deal with multivitamins?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NatApoth2003
Excellent question and one with two sides. In theory, liquid nutrients have a higher absorption rate since they necessitate very little "breakdown". Similar to foods, the process of conversion is shorter than a vitamin that is compacted into a tablet or capsule. You have undoubtedly heard the phrase - readily bioavailable. So in THEORY this is true. In some situations liquid nutrients are the preferred form. Some being the key word here.

Generally speaking, while the theory above is true, applying that same approach to OTC liquid nutrients is misleading as most vitamins in liquid form that one could easly have access to in say a hfs are not gastric stable. Liquid vitamins that are gastric stable would be above the average consumers tollerance for cost. They are very expensive and prepared in such a way as to survive stomache acids and still be of any value. Most are reserved for IV nutritional therapy and are very pricey.

So you see, this is how the PR game is played. A company can make a claim saying that liquid vitamins are better absorbed and not be lying. They ARE better absorbed. Gently implying that THEIR liquid vitamins are what is being reffered to...but that's the consumers interpretation. The same game is played with other claims. How many times is this one used - 'Clinically proven to..... ?' Often (most) times the clinical reference being made is NOT reflecting the use of Company XYZ's product. All they are really saying is an ingredient in their formula has some clinical value. It does NOT mean it is THEIR product. Again, that is the consumers interpretation.

Just as some consumers think that anything that comes in a capsule must be better absorbed as opposed to a tablet. Sometimes a certain nutrient or herb should be in tablet form, and sometimes it should be in capsule...depending on how it is made, what the deliver mechanism is and how it interracts with the gut.

It's all a word game....a very tricky word game. I'm certainly not opposed to alternative therapies and supplementation, just the opposite. However, I am quite vocal about how the retail supplement industry is duping the general public. M


I truly understand what you are saying. My husband and I were taking liquid vitamins from what's suppose to be a reliable company, and they said that they were 'Clinically proven to....'. My husband said he noticed a difference, but, I on the other hand, didn't notice anything. I guess it either depends on the individual or maybe it's all in their heads.

Thanks so much for the info.
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Old 02-16-2004, 09:48 AM   #7
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Re: What's the deal with multivitamins?

Hi,
I started having bad leg cramps. A friend told me to take potassium. I did and the leg cramps stopped. I ran out and didn't buy anymore. The cramps came back so I do believe in supplements. Started taking the potassium again and the cramps stopped again. Be careful of the dosage though. Too much can be bad. I buy mine at a dollar store. Went to a health food store and the lady tried to sell me several things. It would have cost me over $100. I pay $2.00 at the dollar store for one bottle of potassium. They last two months.

 
Old 02-16-2004, 12:27 PM   #8
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Re: What's the deal with multivitamins?

A word of advice. If you are getting your supplements at a dollar store you may want to consider whether those supplements are putting your health at more risk than if you had taken too much potassium. A word to the wise. M

 
Old 02-17-2004, 11:25 AM   #9
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Re: What's the deal with multivitamins?

OK, so what should we be looking for in a vitamin? absorbtion rate? ingredients? what manufacturing process is better than others?

 
Old 02-17-2004, 04:02 PM   #10
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Re: What's the deal with multivitamins?

This is a difficult question to answer in 25 words or less. More than just difficult, it's impossible. There are so many facets of manufacturing to have a handle on that to cover all the bases and understand all that is involved in processing would leave the average or above average supplement consumer dizzy to say the least.

To mention a few considerations consumers should keep in mind:

Who MADE the supplements. Not who distributes them, but who actually had hands on in the manufacturing of the supplements. This is the first step in helping a consumer decifer good from bad. Most times that will end the decision making process right there. The label should say "manufactured BY" not distributed by or manufactured FOR. Unless you can call the distributor and find out were they were made - pass. However, there are some good supplements out there that are manufactured to certain required specifications decided upon by qualified formulators, there are very few actual manufacturers.

You should be able to either call the manufacturer (or distributor whether it be a chain health food store or a representative as in MLM products) and ask if they have what is called Certificate of Analysis on their product. You will either be able to get it from them yourself or have the person you purchased it from get it. It should ALWAYS be available. If the answer is 'no we do not give it out to consumers" this is a bad answer. A good manufacturer WILL give it out. Although you may have to get it from the store or a rep.

Most products should always have expiration dates. Best before dates are inadequate.

Consider what consumer information the company has available on their products. This is the very, very least a good (or borderline) manufacturer should have available. I'm not talking about a slick or ad, I'm talking about real honest research material on THEIR product. Not general information like - Calcium builds strong bones. This elludes to a general statement - not specifically THEIR product. This is a common PR stunt many, many companies use to get you thinking it is their product they are referring to.

Just because a brand is familiar to you because it's been around a long time or a store has a huge display of a particular brand or they are advertised everywhere doesn't mean it is a good quality brand. Companies are bought and sold a million times over the years and what the signature label represented 10 years ago may not be the same. New owners make many changes behind the scenes. Usually cost cutting measures, i.e., quality measures.

At the check out counter stop and think of this. Quickly calculate the cost per tablet or capsule of whatever supplement you are thinking about purchasing. Let's say a bottle of Vit C, 500 mg, 100 capsules has a price of $2.99 (I've seen them even lower at dollar stores, BJ's and Costco). Hmm, let's see that means you pay almost .03 per cap. Part of the cost is in the packaging so probably more like .02 per cap. The store you bought it from has overhead and they made a profit. The company that made or distributed the supplement made a profit. They made a profit...that's after the cost of making it and distributing it. How much do you really think went into manufacturing? Most low cost supplements have a 50% markup on the retail end (that also goes for most retail brands). Yes there is profit in volume. That's a given. So very large companies can do this and make money. But if they are still making a profit wouldn't you want to know where else they are cutting costs to make it? Most people will spend an extra .02 to get a better grade of gasoline than a better multi.

This only barely, not even barely, skims the surface of your question. Hopefully this will open the door for you to want to learn more about what exactly you are putting into your body. M

 
Old 02-22-2004, 03:51 PM   #11
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Re: What's the deal with multivitamins?

Great thread so far!

How about the differences between the multivitamin "daily packs" and just the lone one-a-day tablet?

Also, is there anything wrong with posting brands you like to take/have taken and why?

thanks.

 
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