Today I wanted to go over one of my favorite topics. It seems like I go over this again and again, so it’s certainly something that I deem important and pretty basic. It always surprises me how people will spot pick vitamins, but they don’t take a good basic multivitamin as their foundation. I wanted to go over the things that I look for when I’m picking a vitamin and what I would consider to be important.
I picked up several examples from the grocery store that I know are familiar to you, just to show you what I’m looking for. Most vitamins do not have a quality assurance seal on them, and there’s two good ones to look for. One is GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). There are three different organizations that can certify that the company is following good manufacturing protocols. The most popular would probably be NSF. The other seal would be the USP seal, which is the United States Pharmacopeia.
Then the next thing I look for is what type of B12 they use. B12 comes in four forms. The two most popular are methylcobalamin and cyanocobalamin. I’m not going to bore you with the other two, because you’re just not going to find them very often. So methylcobalamin is the B12 that the body can use. That’s the activated B12. Approximately 40% of people don’t have the genetics to activate their B12. That’s a significant portion of the population. Cyanocobalamin is a cheaper product. That’s what you will find almost across the board. It’s really hard to find methylcobalamin in an over the counter product. In the hospital where I work, the multivitamin from the pharmacy has cyanocobalamin in it. I’m terribly disappointed, but most people don’t know the difference.
Cyanocobalamin is B12 combined with cyanide. It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s cyanide. The thought behind that is that it’s not enough cyanide to cause the person harm or to cause them to die. If you get enough cyanide, then yes, the person would die. The person dies because the cyanide poisons the mitochondria. If your mitochondria can not make energy, then you eventually die. Your cells just don’t have the energy to live and to make all of the chemical reactions occur that need to happen. That’s how cyanide works. The thought is that a little bit of cyanide probably won’t cause you any difficulty. A lot of cyanide, that’s a problem. So that’s why they use it. Well a little bit of cyanide still kills mitochondria, so it causes you to have fatigue and difficulty healing and repairing tissues. As you get older, the number of mitochondria within your cells starts to decrease.
Frankly, I just don’t have any good reason to give people cyanide. I may make more profit if I offer a cheaper product and mark it up, but I just ethically can’t give people cyanide. So those are two things, quick and easy, right off the top that I look for when I’m choosing a vitamin.
Let’s look at One a Day. Really popular brand. There is no certification on it for quality assurance. The thought is that because this is made by Bayer, and they’re a very large pharmaceutical company, their factories are probably up to standards of quality assurance. However, I like for a third party to come in and audit the company and provide their own certification. Through the years, even Tylenol has had a lot of problems with quality assurance in their factories and have had to recall multiple lots of Tylenol. If you Google that, you’ll find all the headlines. So that’s my first issue with this product. My second issue is that it says vitamin B12, but it doesn’t tell you what type of vitamin B12. Then when you get down into the small print, it is cyanocobalamin. This is the B12 combined with cyanide. This is not a product that I would choose for my family.
Next, I have Centrum by Pfizer. Another well-known and popular product. Again, thought being it’s a big company, so they probably maintain quality assurance. But again, there’s no seal for quality assurance on their product. I don’t like that so much. Then for B12 it just says B12. Down in the fine print it’s cyanocobalamin again. So B12 combined with cyanide. So I don’t like this product for my family either.
Then I went to Flintstones vitamins. I loved Flintstones vitamins when I was growing up. I don’t know if you had the same experience, but I loved Flintstones vitamins. But again, cyanocobalamin. I almost didn’t even want to look. I was so worried about what I was going to find. Sure enough, it had the cyanocobalamin.
Okay, so next I have Nature Made. Nature Made has the USP certification on it. As far as over the counter companies, Nature Made is a vitamin line that has some products I do recommend to my clients. Kirkland (the Costco brand) also has a USP stamp on them. I like their products for some things, but their multivitamin has cyanocobalamin in it. So Nature Made, cyanocobalamin. So again, it’s the cyanide. This is not a multivitamin that I would choose for my family. But overall, I like the Nature Made product line.
All of the supplement companies that I use in my clinic have the GMP stamp of approval. I used to carry a supplement line that was excellent. They had great products, my clients were getting great results, but their representatives lied to me and told me that they were GMP certified. Then one of my clients pointed it out to me that they couldn’t find that seal. We pulled out all the information, couldn’t find it. I called my rep, and he emailed me and said they do internal testing that meets those standards, but they don’t actually have the external process. I emailed him back and I said you either need to provide me with a USP certification, a GMP certification, or the audits from an external auditor. My children tell me that they do their homework, but I want to see it. I need to see the proof that there’s an external auditing process of quality assurance. And I never heard from him again. I pulled that product line from my clinic and I don’t use them anymore. It’s a shame, because they do have really great products.
With Metagenics, they have a vitamin that I recommend quite a bit. I have four supplement lines in the clinic; they all have great vitamins and a multivitamin. But this is the one that I tend to offer the most. It’s the PhytoMulti with iron. I’ve only had two clients that did not need iron. I want a ferritin level greater than 100, and I’ve only had two clients that met that need. The vast majority of people need some iron in their system. So as for the GMP certified process, Metagenics goes above and beyond. They actually have a GMP certification from all three organizations. They certainly go above and beyond when it comes to quality assurance. Their B12 is the methylcobalamin. So it is in the form that I want my clients to take.
Now when you compare the difference between these two products there’s a huge difference in how they’ve put them together. For instance, the biotin in Nature Made is 30 micrograms, and the biotin in Metagenics is 500 micrograms. That’s a significant difference. 30 compared to 500. If I were you, the first thing I would be thinking is, well is Metagenics overdosing people? Keep in mind, the U.S. Government set the RDA for the bare minimum to keep people alive. If you have an 85 pound elderly lady, what is an amount of vitamin that would not cause her any harm? So the RDA is not a recommendation for everybody in the population. It’s the recommendation that would be safe for everybody to take in our society. So I do not feel that the 500 is too much.
The majority of vitamins are water soluble, so if your body doesn’t need 500 micrograms of biotin, you’ll just pee it out. Your kidneys will get rid of it, it’s not going to cause you any harm. The fat soluble vitamins are the ones you need to be concerned about with toxicity. When I get to magnesium, this one [Nature Made] has magnesium oxide. Magnesium oxide is the cheapest magnesium, and it’s the least absorbed in the body. So you really have to take a lot of magnesium oxide to get an appreciable amount into your body. The magnesium in the Metagenics product is magnesium citrate. But then this [Nature Made] products ends, and the PhytoMulti continues.
So the PhytoMulti has choline and inositol. Nature Made does not. Choline and inositol are important for pulling fat out of the fat cells and burning them up into the mitochondria to make energy. Then it’s got lycopene, which is the chemical out of watermelon and tomatoes. That’s where you get the majority of lycopene. Then it’s got zeaxanthin and lutein. Those are important for eye health, for vision, to prevent macular degeneration as you age. Then there is resveratrol. Resveratrol is out of grapes, red wine. It’s really hard to get enough resveratrol in your diet. Even if you just drink a bottle of red wine every night, you’re still not going to get enough resveratrol. Then it’s got citrus bioflavonoids, which are important for weight management. EGCG, green coffee bean, gallic acid, which comes out of garlic… I can’t even go through the list of all the phytonutrients that are in Metagenics. This is a bigger, fuller product that’s put together. So that’s why it’s called PhytoMulti. It’s the phytonutrients on top of the vitamins and on top of the minerals that your body needs.
I’ve had so many clients come in with various health problems, put them on this [PhytoMulti], and they can immediately tell the difference. They can feel it. When you get a good multivitamin product, you can tell the difference between this and something like One a Day or Centrum.
Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re not taking any multivitamin at all, then yes, please take Centrum or One a Day. You need to start somewhere. Something is better than no multivitamin. A step up would be the Nature Made, and then this [PhytoMulti] is definitely a product that I highly recommend. So that’s how I look at multivitamins, what I’m evaluating, what I’m looking for.
I hope that helped. If you have any questions, please let us know or please share this blog with anybody in your circle that you think needs help with vitamins (friends, family, anybody that’s struggling with any kind of health issue at all). The PhytoMulti is what I immediately put them on. If you’re struggling with depression, you definitely need the PhytoMulti with iron. Iron is a big part of making brain chemicals. I’ve had several people with treatment resistant depression and have found them to be iron deficient. We replaced their iron and that’s been a significant piece of their puzzle.
But whether it’s diabetes, high blood pressure, weight management, whatever your health issue is, it all comes down to biochemistry. Supporting your biochemistry is really so basic. You just have to have vitamins and minerals in your system. This is across the board one of the first things that I start with, with all my clients. I hope that helped. If there’s anything else I can do to help you out, please let me know.