If you're going to take a multivitamin

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    Feb 08, 2011 4:57 AM GMT
    take the Trader Joe's Multi for Men.

    It's not that it's a particularly good multivitamin. It isn't. But the good ones cost more money than most people are willing to pay for a preventative supplement (that's to say, one people don't expect to produce any palpable results.) And at least it doesn't have anything toxic in it.

    The number of people that I see daily that take Centrum, One Daily, Nature's Made, and other cheap multivitamins never ceases to astonish and aggravate me. Aggravate, because in the interest of keeping costs down, brands such as these have been consistently unscrupulous in sourcing their vitamins and minerals.

    Unfortunately for consumers, not all vitamin E is the same, nor vitamin A, D, or many other vital nutrients. The same is true for minerals. Companies seeking to cut costs routinely make use of the cheapest substances that they can call a vitamin, even if that substance is indigestible, inactive, or even toxic.

    A reasonably reliable test of your multivitamin is the check to see if it contains:d, l-alpha tocopherol. It's easy to overlook that little l, but it makes all the difference. Sparing you the chemistry, let be said simply that a company that uses d, l-alphatocopherol doesn't have any compunctions about ripping you off.

    The acceptable kinds of vitamin A and D are a lot more complicated; there's not a lot of point in going into them anyway, as most of the more unscrupulous companies take advantage of the fact that they are not legally required to list their source.

    Unlike vitamins, with minerals it's rare that the source you are taking will actually be harmful. Usually, inferior products are just excreted unabsorbed by the body.

    Calcium carbonate, for instance, is considered to be dietary calcium. It's limestone; you know, gravel? While not the most bioavailable form out there, your body can generally absorb and use some of it, at least as a healthy young adult (saying nothing about the state of most of those using it.) Worse yet is dicalcium phosphate, which is cheaper yet, and even less bioavailable. Basically any chelated form will be better absorbed than either of these.

    Iron in the form of ferrous oxide is always a bit of a laugh. Google it and then imagine how easily your digestive system will make sense of eating rust. Remarkably, a few companies actually list this source on their packaging.

    As a rule, a company that actually lists the source of their minerals on their package is more likely to be consumer conscious in their selection of those sources than one that chooses not to.

    Personally, I don't even take the things. If you're going to start taking them--and there are plenty of arguments for why you should--it's worth doing your homework.
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    Feb 08, 2011 4:58 PM GMT
    I actually was unaware that there were various quality levels for multivitamins. Thanks for sharing.
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    Feb 08, 2011 5:09 PM GMT
    Actually there is one comprehensive multi-vitamin that actually has had placebo controlled clinical cross over studies showing it actually lowerl LDL oxidative stress , increases cardio vascular health and clinically raises anti-oxidant levels. I use this with my patients for the very reasons above. You can view this info at: www.pharmanexmd.com. If you have any questions about the information you can always get ahold of me... www.jedidiahdsmithllc.com .

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    Feb 08, 2011 9:11 PM GMT
    BoulderingBum saidtake the Trader Joe's Multi for Men.

    It's not that it's a particularly good multivitamin. It isn't. But the good ones cost more money than most people are willing to pay for a preventative supplement (that's to say, one people don't expect to produce any palpable results.) And at least it doesn't have anything toxic in it.

    The number of people that I see daily that take Centrum, One Daily, Nature's Made, and other cheap multivitamins never ceases to astonish and aggravate me. Aggravate, because in the interest of keeping costs down, brands such as these have been consistently unscrupulous in sourcing their vitamins and minerals.

    Unfortunately for consumers, not all vitamin E is the same, nor vitamin A, D, or many other vital nutrients. The same is true for minerals. Companies seeking to cut costs routinely make use of the cheapest substances that they can call a vitamin, even if that substance is indigestible, inactive, or even toxic.

    A reasonably reliable test of your multivitamin is the check to see if it contains:d, l-alpha tocopherol. It's easy to overlook that little l, but it makes all the difference. Sparing you the chemistry, let be said simply that a company that uses d, l-alphatocopherol doesn't have any compunctions about ripping you off.

    The acceptable kinds of vitamin A and D are a lot more complicated; there's not a lot of point in going into them anyway, as most of the more unscrupulous companies take advantage of the fact that they are not legally required to list their source.

    Unlike vitamins, with minerals it's rare that the source you are taking will actually be harmful. Usually, inferior products are just excreted unabsorbed by the body.

    Calcium carbonate, for instance, is considered to be dietary calcium. It's limestone; you know, gravel? While not the most bioavailable form out there, your body can generally absorb and use some of it, at least as a healthy young adult (saying nothing about the state of most of those using it.) Worse yet is dicalcium phosphate, which is cheaper yet, and even less bioavailable. Basically any chelated form will be better absorbed than either of these.

    Iron in the form of ferrous oxide is always a bit of a laugh. Google it and then imagine how easily your digestive system will make sense of eating rust. Remarkably, a few companies actually list this source on their packaging.

    As a rule, a company that actually lists the source of their minerals on their package is more likely to be consumer conscious in their selection of those sources than one that chooses not to.

    Personally, I don't even take the things. If you're going to start taking them--and there are plenty of arguments for why you should--it's worth doing your homework.


    Thank you for posting this. Blind trust in any corporation shortens lives.
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    Feb 08, 2011 11:00 PM GMT
    Any brand suggestions for quality fish oil capsules?
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    Feb 08, 2011 11:04 PM GMT
    I take GNC's Mega Men Extreme Athlete, which comes in individual packs (roughtly 7 or 8 caps per pack). It's kinda expensive, like around $60/box of 30 packs, but it's pretty good. I'm sure there are cheaper varieties out there but just haven't found them.
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    Feb 09, 2011 7:54 PM GMT
    DOMINUS saidI take GNC's Mega Men Extreme Athlete, which comes in individual packs (roughtly 7 or 8 caps per pack). It's kinda expensive, like around $60/box of 30 packs, but it's pretty good. I'm sure there are cheaper varieties out there but just haven't found them.


    From their web site...

    MEGA MEN® EXTREME ATHLETE
    GNC Mega Men® Extreme Athlete Vitapak® Program conveniently combines nutrients and special ingredients designed to support overall health, athletic performance and exercise intensity.*

    * Mega Men® Sport – Our premium timed-release, clinically studied formula includes vitamins and minerals to supplement key nutrients that may be missing in your daily diet. Mega Men ® contains 1,600 IU of vitamin D-3 for breast and bone health and immune support, as well as, B-vitamins that are important for cardiovascular health and energy production.* It's enhanced with a broad spectrum of cell-protecting antioxidant nutrients that also support immune health.*
    * X-12™– Contains a clinically proven, proprietary thermogenic blend shown to help you burn 12 times more calories. It also helps increase your metabolism before, during and after exercise – helping burn to 278 more calories cumulatively. ** In addition, just one capsule of X12™ contains ingredients to support improved endurance and performance.*
    * Amplified Creatine 189™– An enhanced, cutting-edge form of creatine that is designed to get in your muscles better than ordinary creatine.* Creatine supplementation may help to improve athletic performance.*
    * Amplified Maxertion N.O. ™– GNC’s champion of nitric oxide products! This formula features clinically studied ingredients designed to enhance blood flow and amplify intense workouts. It’s technologly-enhanced for better absorption of muscle fuel that you need to push through the wall and go above and beyond your regular workout.*

    ===============================

    Somehow I don't think you and the OP are on the same page. Creatine? Really?
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    Feb 09, 2011 8:35 PM GMT
    heybreaux saidEat food, not too much, mostly plants.


    This is from In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. One of my favorite books.
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    Feb 09, 2011 8:36 PM GMT
    Chip2Stan saidCreatine? Really?


    Oh noes! Not creatine!!! Wait... what?
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    Feb 10, 2011 3:22 AM GMT
    Chip2Stan said
    DOMINUS saidI take GNC's Mega Men Extreme Athlete, which comes in individual packs (roughtly 7 or 8 caps per pack). It's kinda expensive, like around $60/box of 30 packs, but it's pretty good. I'm sure there are cheaper varieties out there but just haven't found them.


    ===============================

    Somehow I don't think you and the OP are on the same page. Creatine? Really?


    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate any comprehensive list of ingredients or their sources for this product on the internet. It appears to me that the marketing strategy for this product is based around its inclusion of

    a) creatine
    b) the amino acid arginine (amplified maxertion N.O.)
    c) a proprietary thermogenic formuation (probably caffeine and synephrine)

    There are also some super doses of vitamin D-3, sundry B vitamins, and unmentioned antioxidant nutrients (I'm guessing CoQ-10 and grape seed extract.)

    GNC is reliably one of the worst offenders (sorry guys,) frequently spending the extra dollar on marketing and false claims over investing it product quality or consistency. It seems unusual to combine so very many compounds (see above) in a multivitamin, particularly since they don't seem to be features you'd generally expect in a multivitamin. The number of tabs/caps needed daily must be astronomical, as it's difficult to get optimum nutrient levels into a 2-4 tabs daily multivitamin. Check the side of the bottle, read the source for vitamin E. If there's an 'l' after the 'd', then you don't need to read any further.

    marcobruno1978 saidAny brand suggestions for quality fish oil capsules?


    There are quite a few good fish oil supplements on the market, and a whole slew of undesirables. The concern with any fish oil supplement (or any omega-3 fatty acid containing supplement) is that the very nutrients you are trying to consume are at risk of oxidative degradation. That means that the longer the period of time spent from ship to processing plant to store window in light or heat, the greater the percentage of the oils converted into their carcinogenic twin. Enzymatic Therapy, for example, produces the high quality fish oil product Eskimo-3 (although I'm not sure it's worth it at that price point.) The sourcing of fish away from areas with high levels of heavy metal contamination is good, as are the high percentages of EPA and DHA (any listing at all on the bottle is a good sign.) Even so, an expensive product languishing on a hot, sunny shelf longer than others because it's pricier can result in it's degradation (opaque, airtight bottles or not.)

    The best test for most of us (there's significant variation in our individual abilities to detect rancidity) is to break open a capsule and taste it. If the taste is offensive, acrid, and intensely fish, chances are you've got a product that could actually be harming your body.

    More importantly, these essential fats are macronutrients. They are food. It is absurdly expensive and prohibitively impractical to get dietary, let alone therapeutic, levels of a macronutrient into the body by taking it in capsules. It is far better to incorporate the source of the desired macronutrient into the diet, or as a supplement in bulk form. Think protein, another macronutrient. Would anybody consider taking protein supplements in pill form? That'd be ridiculous. You would either have to take huge numbers of expensive pills or end up taking too little to make much of a difference. It just makes more sense to either eat more high-protein foods, use a bulk protein supplement (like protein powder in a shake) or do both. The case is not entirely as extreme with fish oil, in that the dietary mass requirements for fat are not as high, it's still next to impossible to get therapeutic or even optimum daily levels through pills. Rather, pills can be a helpful supplement to a diet that already conscientiously includes dietary sources, or as damage control when the person taking them would benefit from some where they would otherwise receive none (elderly people restricted to nursing home fare, or intractable fish-haters.)

    A better or complementary option would be to dump some hemp seeds and/or some flax or hemp oil into that daily shake, salad, or oatmeal as a part of your daily routine. It'd save you a lot of money, give you a much higher level of daily nutrient consumption, and provide immediate feedback if that oil you're taking goes off.
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    Feb 15, 2011 3:06 PM GMT
    GNC is a joke. Better living through chemistry may make you look like a Ken doll in your 30s, but by 50 you'll look like hell and the gaps in your nutrition will come back to haunt you, such as with cancer.

    Just eat real food and get exercise.
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    Feb 15, 2011 3:25 PM GMT
    As a born again vegetarian :] I take vitamins erday so I hella appreciate this post, i'll have to do some research and find a good all natural supplement. Thx for the trader joes suggestion ;)
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    Feb 16, 2011 12:20 AM GMT
    The following paragraph was copied from an advertisement for an article published by the Harvard Medical School. A link is given to the article which can be purchased. It is a good read.
    http://www.health.harvard.edu/special_health_reports/The_Benefits_and_Risks_of_Vitamins_and_Minerals.htm

    "About half of all Americans routinely take dietary supplements, the most common being multivitamin and multimineral supplements. Yet, as this report explains, there is no compelling evidence to support this practice. In general, studies of people who eat diets rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and fish show that they consume higher levels of vitamins and minerals from these foods and also have a lower risk of many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancers. On the other hand, trials testing the effect of selected vitamins or minerals as pill supplements have mostly shown very little influence on health. The main exception may be fish oil supplements, for which some trials show a lower risk of heart disease and possibly vitamin D."

    Vitamin and mineral supplements can have adverse effects.
    In a joint study by the University of North Carolina and the University of Washington found certain common vitamins increased the risk of lung cancer rather than prevent it.
    http://www.examiner.com/nutrition-in-new-york/anti-cancer-vitamins-increase-risk-of-lung-cancer-major-study-says
    Last year the British Medical Journal published an article that calcium supplementation used by women to prevent osteoporosis was increasing the risk for myocardial infarctions. The calcium was calcifying the coronary arteries. This has lead to debate in the medical community on how to prevent osteoporosis without causing cardiac damage.

    Just save you money and eat a balanced diet. You will be healthier and wealthier for it. I do; however, supplement with vitamin D and fish oil.icon_lol.gif
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    Feb 16, 2011 12:34 AM GMT
    Are there any multivitamins that you would avoid like a plague?