As you surely realize, dietary supplements are just that—something to improve upon a good diet, not a substitute for one. A multivitamin/mineral is a good foundation for a supplement program, but some brands are not very much help. It might be tempting to select a multi that does a lot of advertising on TV or in magazines…or one that is recommended by mainstream doctors. However, those might just be by manufacturers that put a disproportionate amount of money into marketing (including marketing to doctors) instead of into high-quality ingredients. Here are some key quality factors to watch for:
Top supplement formulators follow the research and include what the science says we need. They hope you will learn the value of those substances. Others, ones that I call “marketing vitamins”, just put in whatever is currently getting a buzz.
- For example, a cheap vitamin product would probably not include Beta glucan (powerful for the immune system) or Black pepper fruit extract as Bioperine™ (which enhances the absorption of other nutrients), or Boron (helps bone and to maintain testosterone)…because few people know to ask for them
Best nutrient forms:
Baloney and beef tenderloin are both meats, right? But there is obviously a big difference in quality and benefits. There can be a big difference in absorption, usability (bioavailability) among different forms of the same nutrient.
- The shiny stuff on a trailer hitch and chromium picolinate are both forms of the mineral chromium, but, of course, you can’t improve your blood sugar by gnawing on the trailer hitch.
- The more absorbable forms of minerals are bonded to something to make them act more like the ones in food. With many products, you must look in the fine print at the bottom in the ingredient paragraph to figure out what form was used. Some highly advertised brands use cheap rock-like forms (e.g. calcium carbonate). As one example, magnesium citrate (in Molecular Multi) is better than magnesium oxide (used in Centrum Silver). Read more about miraculous magnesium…most people are deficient and need to supplement it extra because it is too bulky to put enough in multis.
- Vitamins also vary in quality of form. For example, some vitamins use cheap synthetic vitamin E (Dl-alpha). Synthetic E doesn’t work as well as natural (D-alpha). Worse yet, it occupies our cell’s binding sites so that natural vitamin E from food can’t be used. (If you supplement additional E separately, I recommend Jarrow Famil-E which contains all 8 forms of E—each type has a different benefit.)
- B vitamins are most beneficial if in the active forms that the body uses, e.g. B-6 as Pyridoxal-5-Phoshate and B12 as M Centrum Silver uses B12 as Cyanocobalamin. If “Cyan” sounds familiar, that is because it is short for cyanide. (We need methyl groups for detoxification, but we don’t need the cyanide group.)
The right dose is one large enough to provide the benefits shown in studies and yet not too much. When a supplement lists only a tiny percentage of the amount found useful in studies, I call that just a “label decoration”—i.e. for marketing purposes only.
- An example of that type of marketing trickery is the 300 mcg of lutein in Centrum Silver. That is less than 1/3 of one milligram and a proper dose is 5-10+ milligrams. (Molecular multi contains 12 mg.)
- Selenium is one of the more expensive minerals, so the marketing type vitamins usually put in the smallest amount they can get away with.
Free of toxic junk.
- When he was on HBN, June 8, Anthony Jay, PhD told us to avoid foods and pills with titanium dioxide because it collects inside cells and eventually keeps them from working properly.
- Avoid nickel as a supplement ingredient. I have never seen a client that needed to increase their levels of nickel. (In fact, reports from labs that test for minerals and toxins, list nickel in the toxic)
- Supplements should be free of useless chemical junk that some mass market brands put in for marketability or their manufacturing convenience. Examples: sugar, artificial colors that contain aluminum, artificial flavors, chemicals, carnauba wax, paint pigments & anti-freeze to name a few. No kidding! Look at the fine print on this label.
An inexpensive product often is not necessarily a good value because it may not delivery results. My bad examples above are from the highly advertised Centrum Silver. The good examples (and I could go on with star quality features) are from Molecular Multi formulated by Bill Sardi. You can’t do better than that. (By the way, the good folks he trained are maintaining his standards and you save a lot if you bite the bullet and get 2 free when you order 3.)