The medical community has largely recognized that multivitamins have no real benefit. The position makes sense, considering that many all-in-ones have such small amounts of what the body needs that they offer no noticeable difference.
Consider the following about the most popular one-a-day supplement, Centrum, courtesy of Meghan Telpner:
Trust in the makers: Centrum is a product produced by the company Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
Dose dependent: The dosages of most of the nutrients in Centrum are negligible and not even close to therapeutic levels.
Nutrient quality: The forms that the nutrients are provided in are the cheapest and the least absorbable forms (feed grade).
The non-medicinal components: Supplements that come in tablet form are often hard to digest and contain binders and fillers.
The "One A Day" marketing ploy: Water-soluble nutrients (vitamin C and the B-vitamins) are either used or excreted within about 4 hours.
Besides this, it is also pharmaceutically impossible to compress the stated label contents enough to fit into a small tablet that can still be dissolved by the body--one may as well swallow a pebble. This would indicate at the very least, no consideration in product design.
To be more specific, here is a brief overview of just a few of Centrum's listed medicinal ingredients:
Calcium as Calcium Carbonate: This is the least absorbable form of calcium on the market. A very small percentage is actually absorbed.
Magnesium as Magnesium Oxide: The least absorbable, cheapest form of magnesium.
Iron as Ferrous Fumarate: This form of iron is incredibly constipating.
B Vitamins: Citing anywhere from 1.1 mg to 15 mg per vitamin is a concentration so low as to have no impact on energy levels, as outlined in their claims.
Nickelous Sulfate and Tin: We have been unable to locate any references discussing a need for humans to supplement with nickel or tin.
As the label lists more non-medicinal ingredients than medicinal ingredients, here is anoverview of some of those, as well:
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.
Talc: Has been implicated with increased risk of cancer.
Gelatin: Though not inherently a bad product, most of is manufactured from feed lot animal waste, which means vegans and vegetarians best beware.
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.
Yellow 6 Lake: Why is there food colouring in a health supplement? Also known as tartrazine or FD&C Yellow #6, this chemical is banned in some European countries. Side effects of ingestion can include gastric upset, diarrhea, vomiting, nettle rash (urticaria), swelling of the skin (angioedema) and migraines. It is also linked to hyperactivity in young children.
Red 40 Lake: Contains chemical compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl which research has linked with cancer.
Hydrogenated Palm Oil: Hydrogenating any oil converts the fat into an unnatural structure that has shown to be toxic to the body. It forms strong free radicals associated with increased risk of cancer and heart disease.
Maltodextrin: Several studies have linked maltodextrin consumption to the suppression of “good bacteria” in the digestive system increasing risk of gastro symptoms and intestinal inflammation.
Crospovidone: There is an abundance of documented cases of serious allergenic response.
Sodium Benzoate: Especially dangerous because of its destructive effect on DNA. This means that the sodium benzoate consumed today may still be causing problems in future generations. Sodium benzoate is known to specifically attack the mitochondria of DNA.
With the above considerations, it is a good thing that some medical establishments have taken a stance against one-a-day supplements. However, they may also draw an extreme conclusion and state that because multivitamins are not effective, no vitamins are effective, and all nutrition should be gained through food instead. While we agree that no single pill is a substitute for a healthy lifestyle (of which exercise and healthy eating are a part), the nutritional content of today's generic food is not substantial enough to fit the body's needs. Scientifically, organic food is better, with higher antioxidant levels and lower cadmium levels, but it is often still not enough to therapeutically treat the body.
When supplements are designed therapeutically, their true potential can be unlocked.
Life Choice supplements are vegetarian capsules, not tablets. Between our new Next Generation B Complex and our Opti-Cal/Mag with K2, you can find all the vitamins and minerals your body truly needs for a daily multi. We recommend 2 capsules of each per day to replace an "all-in-one."
With over 10 years of experience, Bond Consulting is a leader in the SR&ED industry. The SR&ED program is designed to support innovative companies with cash reimbursements from the Canadian Government due to their private R&D efforts. (www.bondconsulting.ca)