The popular drug store vitamins are generally manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, and may do you a little good, but are probably the least beneficial. These products must contain what they say they have, or else it is a crime. However, that they are usefully assimilated and utilized is a different matter. There are even reports that undissolved vitamin pills are found in sewage. However even if the pills dissolve, the vitamins could still be chemically bound so that they aren’t assimilated. These same companies will advertise how quickly and efficiently some of their products are absorbed into your system, so therefore I don’t think they are so inept and stupid that they overlooked this issue with vitamins. It is rather more likely that it is deliberate, as the fewer vitamins you assimilate the poorer your health, and the more money they make on pharmaceuticals that you will buy. It is not in their interest that you be healthy.
I have always sought high quality vitamins, because popular, budget vitamins have other clear deficiencies. For example, you will almost always find magnesium oxide in budget vitamins, which is hardly usefully absorbed. Also budget vitamins will use synthetic forms of vitamins rather than natural, and the biological activity of the two differ, in some cases very much. In some cases, synthetic vitamins give undesirable side effects. The synthetic oil-soluble vitamins (especially A & D) tend to be much more toxic in large quantities than the natural ones. So, I have always sought out vitamins and nutrients made from natural sources, or that are known to be bio-identical and that are absorbable. I have usually been pleased with vitamins found at independent health-food stores, and less pleased with those found in some health-food-store chains, and I have never bothered with those sold in drugstores.
A quick comparison of one of the most popular multi-vitamins, Centrum for adults under 50, shows the large superiority of Dr Mercola’s Whole Food Multivitamin PLUS: 8 times the Vitamin C, 12.5 times the Vitamin D-3, and 13 times the Vitamin E (furthermore it is synthetic vs natural). This is only a very cursory comparison, and it is no wonder that some of the recent studies panning vitamins show virtually no benefits if they only use such paltry amounts.
Reasons supplementing with vitamins is necessary for us in our times. In previous generations the food in its natural state was provided by God with sufficient vitamins and micro-nutrients for good health, and the environment was not contaminated with pesticides and multitudes of other toxins. Now, much food is severely depleted as it comes from the field because of: 1) Soils depleted of the micro nutrients, which are not added back in the fertilizer and 2) Genetically modified plants, and plants contaminated with glyphosate (the herbicide in Roundup which kills the weeds) are drastically depleted of mineral nutrients. “A 2012 nutritional analysis of GMO versus non-GMO corn shows shocking differences in nutritional content. Non-GMO corn contains 437 times more calcium, 56 times more magnesium, and 7 times more manganese than GMO corn” Then add to that the over-processing of most of our food which further depletes nutrients. Finally, add to all that the fact that we need much more vitamins and micro-nutrients than our ancestors in order to defend against and eliminate the toxins which we now absorb from our food and environment. So, we get the double whammy of less nutrients, but much more need for nutrients, so that without adequate nutritional supplementation it is highly unlikely that we can maintain good health and stave off illness over the longer term.
How Mainstream Vitamin Studies are Often Structured Unfavorably towards Nutritional Supplements:
1. They invariably use synthetic vitamins, which generally are more toxic and less beneficial.
2. They tend to use dosages below therapeutic amounts.
3. Studies are not run long enough to see good results. Many medicines give almost instant results, but vitamins are generally a long-term proposition. You could compare it to growing an oak tree, which is very slow growing, but is very strong.
4. If there are placebos used in the study, there is considerable leeway in choosing them to influence the study to come to a pre-determined conclusion.
I supplement also with the following anti-oxidants in addition to a quality multiple vitamin & mineral supplement. Anti-oxidants tend to reduce inflammation, neutralize free radicals and slow down aging among other benefits.
1. Astaxanthin. One of the best anti-oxidants.
2. Grape Seed Extract. A very good one also.
3. Lycopene. The red from tomatoes, particularly good for the prostate.
4. Alpha lipoic acid. This one is both water and oil soluble and so cooperates with many other antioxidants.
5. NAC N-Acetyl Cisteine. This is a precursor to the body’s most important anti-oxidant, glutathione.
Other nutrients I supplement with in addition to those in a multiple-vitamin are:
1. Magnesium. About 75% of Americans are deficient in this important nutrient. See my article about its many benefits to me personally. (Note that the form magnesium oxide is not very beneficial because it is poorly absorbed.)
2. Vitamin K-2. This vitamin in combination with Vitamin D and Magnesium are very important in the proper use of calcium. Without these, calcium tends to deposit in the wrong places, such as in your arteries and joints. Earlier I was not taking this vitamin, and I believe that fact is responsible for the calcium which deposited in my arteries and contributed to my heart attack.
3. Iodine. About 75% of Americans are deficient in this nutrient also. My wife tells me that my hands are cold when I do not take my iodine.
4. Bromelain. This is a proteolytic enzyme extracted from pineapple. It will digest the dead protein in your system and in so doing will healthfully thin your blood, and in general un-clog your system. When I had my heart attack, especially at first, I took lots of bromelain to relieve the attack and keep it from getting worse. DO NOT TAKE THIS IF YOU ARE ON PHARMACEUTICAL BLOOD THINNERS SUCH AS COUMADIN. Interestingly, I found bromelain listed as a blood thinner in a fancy book about coumadin, etc. in a doctor’s office. Apart from interactions with certain pharmaceuticals, bromelain has no known significant side effects.
There are some other nutrients I take, but the above covers the important ones.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and so none of this can be considered medical advice.