We all know we need to eat fruits and veggies, less processed foods and no junk -- most of our diets are lacking. So millions of people take a multivitamin to fill in the gaps but never feel any different or read reports like this one from March 17, 2008 Vitamins A, C and E are 'a waste of time and may even shorten your life'. It can make you dizzy with confusion. What are we supposed to do?
Two things. 1. Read and understand the ingredients in your multivitamin. 2. Unless directed by a physician don't take isolated vitamins, like vitamin E alone. * Don't take mega doses, more is not better.
Two things to know about these important studies. 1.These studies are done using synthetic ingredients. 2.The studies were also done using isolated synthetic vitamins.
These isolated synthetic vitamins are not absorbed and utilized properly by the body. That's because - the 'main vitamin' ingredient, (e.g. A, E, C, etc.) which is extracted by synthetic vitamin makers, does not include the chemical cousins and other ingredients that main vitamin comes with in its natural form. Apparently, the body needs these "cofactors" to absorb the main vitamin.
It appears now from these studies that the synthetic vitamins are useless or worse. As you read in your "Are Your Vitamins Safe?" report the study I noted above is only the most recent in a growing number of studies finding that synthetic vitamins (either from a lab beaker or isolated from a plant or animal) are worthless or even risky for a significant number of people.
What to do if you want to take a multivitamin, you know to fill the gaps in a not so perfect diet, for peak performance, or just for insurance?
Use your "Are Your Vitamins Safe?" report. Check the ingredients from your multivitamin against the report. If you see things like, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) instead of Vitamin C (from camu camu fruit) you are taking a synthetic vitamin.
--Other synthetic additives : Glucose, sucrose, starch, microcrystalline cellulose etc. for binding or dissolving ingredients, or for texture and taste.
--Artificial colors, like FD&C Blue #2 Lake, or FD&C Red 40
If you are a regular multivitamin user, a synthetic form, and you never feel any different taking them it's not working for you or worse.
Do your own study, try a whole food multivitamin. Ingredients in a whole food supplement are listed using the names of the actual fruit or vegetable, like “blueberry” or “broccoli”. Many health food stores carry these, ask for them.
Two things to think about when taking a multivitamin. Don't expect the multivitamins to be the new fountain of youth. Don't replace eating healthy with a multivitamin.
Know what you are taking, is it from food or made in a lab, then decide which is better for you.
Closing thought, since the recent reports about vitamins causing harm, many supplement makers have picked the studies apart showing what was wrong with the study.
--Some say it was funded by the drug industry so they (drug industry) want the results to be negative. --Some say the amount of vitamins used were to small or large. --Some talk about the meta studies being at fault or have a political stance, etc.
The important thing is the fact that the studies are showing synthetic vitamins can cause harm. If the reports continue to show the harm and help get people off synthetic vitamins, I feel it's served a purpose. It's not taking supplements that is dangerous, it's what's in them.
We need more of these studies for the public to learn and then decide what is best.