Choosing a Multi-Vitamin/Mineral
By Dr. Bruce Miller
Do you want to feel even better? Not many of us want to feel worse, so many people are choosing to add food supplements to their diets. They realize that it is difficult, if not impossible, to get optimal nutrient intake with our fast-paced lifestyles, meals on the run, and the often unwise food choices we make.
There are 19 vitamins and minerals listed in the U.S. RDA. These initials stand for United States Daily Allowances. Are you positive you get optimal amounts of all 19 of these nutrients daily? If you do not get these in your diet every day, chances are you are not feeling and performing as well as you possibly could if you consumed these nutrients daily. Government reports prove not one age group in the U.S. is consuming even the minimum.
What is a good multi-vitamin/mineral? Its purpose: to insure that your daily nutrient intake is at least adequate in the supply of U.S. RDA vitamins and minerals. A well-nourished person looks better, performs more efficiently, and has more energy. Wouldn’t you like to have these pluses?
What is our problem? To sort through the thousands of “multis” on the market today to be sure we purchase a quality supplement. Would you like some basic common sense rules for reading labels and small print on the bottles? If your “multi” can pass these rules, then…you are purchasing a quality product.
The rules, in a condensed form, and a chart comparing some of the more popular brands on the market today, appear below. Our concern…your better health!
Rule One - Biotin is vital for health and should be present in 100% of the U.S. RDA.
READ THE FOLLOWING RULE CORRESPONDING TO THE UNDERLINED NUMBERS ABOVE.
If you will use these rules when you shop for a "multi" supplement, you will be able to select a quality product. If you are unable to locate a product which meats these requirements, please feel free to CLICK HERE regarding the company and products we endorse or CONTACT US with any questions. We represent a company that has never in any way taken advantage of the consumer's ignorance, or used artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives, etc. It was the first supplement company, making the first vitamin product before the word was even coined. They are the only company allowed to publish their research in peer reviewed medical journals -if you don't have the science, you don't get accepted. Our science is impressive - more money is spent on nutritional research than the U S government.
EXPANSION OF LABEL READING RULES
Rule One. There are eight B vitamins. They should be present in at least 100%. Biotin is the B vitamin that often points to quality. It is essential for your body, as is the rest of the B complex, but it is often very low in some preparations. Why? Biotin is the most expensive B vitamin. If it is present: below 100%, you can be sure the only reason is to save the vitamin manufacturer money at the expense of your health! Put that bottle back on the shelf! A deficiency in Biotin can cause fatigue, depression, hair loss, and various skin problems such as itching and scaley skin.
Rule Two. The ideal is for the B complex to be present in ratios of 100-150% of each. If they vary from each other more than 500%, you are looking at a "fluff" label. BEWARE! The company "loads" the product often with thousands of milligrams of inexpensive B vitamins such as B1, B2, B6. This makes the label look impressive, but it throws the B complex way out of balance. As excess of one B vitamin could cause a relative deficiency of other B vitamins and be injurious to your health. For instance, B6 requires other B vitamins to make it active. Too much B6 will use up some other B vitamins, causing muscle weakness, digestive problems, and lack of concentration. Therefore, it is important to keep a balance for optimal health.
Rule Three. Check the copper-to-zinc ratio. Ideally these two minerals should be present in a one-to-one ratio based on the percentage of the U.S. RDA. In other words, 100% copper and 100% zinc. If the company is paying close attention to micro-mineral research, this ratio will be present. High blood copper levels can depress zinc absorption, and high zinc intakes can reduce copper absorption. A zinc deficiency can cause eczema, susceptibility to infections, and while spots on the nails. A copper deficiency can cause water retention, irritability, brittle bones, and poor hair texture. Be sure of balance!
Rule Four. Make sure the "multi" supplies adequate amounts of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. We are being told to cut down on fat. Unfortunately, many of our best sources of these minerals, such as many diary products, come with quite a bit of fat attached. To compound the situation, in late 1989 the RDA for calcium was raised from 800 to 1200 mg. Adequate calcium has a role in preventing osteoporosis and maintaining strong bones. It has even been shown to play a part in blood pressure reduction and possibly the prevention of colon cancer. Magnesium and phosphorus work hand in hand with calcium. A quality "multi" will contain at least 50% of the U.S. RDA for calcium, 45% for magnesium, and 40% for phosphorus. Do not get short-changed on these vital minerals.
Rule Five. Ignore labels and associated literature that promise to cure baldness, make wrinkles vanish, or lose weight without dieting. Also, many labels contain meaningless statements that sound good, but are actually just sales "hype," such as "extra strength plus," "natural high potency," "bio-balanced," "advanced formula," and so on.
ADDITIONAL CHART COMMENTS
A. Sodium: The American Heart Association says to reduce sodium due to our epidemic of high blood pressure. Why add it to a supplement?
B. Artificial Colors: Many people are sensitive to these and can have allergic reactions. Why color the tablets anyway?
C. "Nutrients" with no U.S. RDA: Why load up a supplement with unproven "nutrients?"
LIMITATIONS OF THE U.S. RDA
You may wish to consume some nutrients above the levels listed in the U.S. RDA. Here are a few of its limitations:
1. The amounts are averages loosely based on how much of a nutrient will keep a healthy person healthy. But where do we find this theoretical "average" person, and it seems no one can define "healthy."
2. These numbers are based on ideal fresh foods and do not take into account numerous nutrient looses due to storage, processing, shipping, and preparation. This is the case in almost all foods available in local grocery stores.
3. There is no increased allowance made for acute or chronic illness or increased nutrients needed to counter side effects of drugs (birth control pills, alcohol, antibiotics, etc.).
4. The U.S. RDA for a four-year-old is the same as that of an adult. Does this make sense to you? Our nutrient needs change at various ages.
5. In summary, the amounts in the U.S. RDA are not for optimal health. In numerous situations additional amounts of nutrients are appropriate.