New Research: Common Multivitamins ARE bad for you. I agree.

New Research: Common Multivitamins ARE bad for you. I agree.

Don’t throw away your Multi yet.  But read on to learn how you can find a good one.

Every couple years the media hits us with a sensational tag line like the most recent, Docs Say Stop Taking Multivitamins.  The essential conclusion from the article, “Multivitamins aren’t making people healthier, and they might even be doing the opposite, according to a series of recent studies.  Signaling a sea change in the medical consensus about using multivitamins, leading experts say they’ve had ‘enough.'”  And in the past we saw headlines like, “Fish oil causes prostate cancer” and “Vitamin E causes early death.” Wow, they definitely grab your attention when you’re taking these things to enhance your health.

Well you may be surprised to hear that I completely agree with the latest retrospective study finding no benefit (and potential harm) in taking a daily multi.  Specifically, I agree with the conclusion because the multivitamin given in the study was Centrum Silver.  I am no fan of wasting supplements or money, but at the end of the week you’re bound to find Centrum bottles (or some other waste of a brand) in my office trashcan because in my opinion these synthetic and well-marketed vitamins likely do more harm than good.  After they understand what they’re actually taking my clients tend to toss them immediately and upgrade.

Poor quality multivitamins have a reputation for their incredible ability to “not digest”.  Nurses call these cheap vitamins “bed pan bullets” because they end up essentially in tact in bed pans, often. Chiropractors often find these multi’s by X-ray, sitting in tact in the GI tract.

But besides the waste of time, money and effort, they can be a waste of health.  It takes me half a second to scroll through a vitamin like this and know that it’s going to do more harm than good.

Here are some bullet points about cheap Multivitamin supplements:
  • The forms of vitamin or mineral in a multi like this are not absorbable forms, or at best are poorly absorbed. They use nutrient forms like “oxides” and “carbonates” we know do not get absorbed well and generally not found in nature.  Why? They’re inexpensive and most of us wouldn’t know to consider this an issue.
  • Loaded with fillers and dyes – why? Marketing… to cover up the fact that they are very cheap and not well absorbed.
  • Hydrogenated oil – yes the one ingredient you look for in your packaged foods to make sure you’re not eating… the ingredient that has been banned in other countries because of known detrimental effects like heart disease and diabetes. Yes, you heard me–they put hydrogenated oils in Centrum.
  • soy, corn, lactose and sugar- four of the well known food allergens/sensitivities
  • aspartame–yes, this healthy multi you are supposed to swallow contains aspartame, a potential neurotoxin
I will let you decide, take a look at the Centrum Multi label and tell me this, “Do you expect it to promote health and wellness?”
I am not going to get started on the Vitamin E studies where they utilized one component (instead of the 8 naturally occurring tocopherols) of Vitamin E (which you would not find anywhere in the natural world) and found no benefit.  Or the study where they concluded fish oil causes prostate cancer, even though not a singular participant in the study was ever given a drop of fish oil… huh?
As with politics and religion, in medicine you have to be wary of media hype.  Do your own research; use your investigative thinking skills or bring your questions to your next appointment.  Of course, no vitamin will ever trump a healthy diet and lifestyle.  Supplements are just that… a supplement (an addition) to your healthy diet.   So, if you do supplement, find quality products.  Your body will thank you.
So to help you make sense of it all, I created a wallet card and a quick video to help you quickly navigate the supplement world.  It’s appropriately named MAD DOC because I’m mad that people seeking health are getting taken advantage of, even harmed.  There are a few key quality control parameters to be aware of.  Once you know what to look for, you won’t be fooled by marketing again.

photo credit: Furryscaly via photopincc