How to Choose a Multivitamin
Jul 01, 2017 10:45AM
By Paula Comstock
At some point, many people ask themselves, “Do I need a multivitamin?”
If we look at the Standard American Diet, we need to first look at where that food comes from. If you eat beef, what is the source of the food fed to the animals? Often they are fed grains, corn and soy which fatten the animal quickly. This food turns to sugar and fat and is void of most minerals and vitamins. Grass-fed cattle eat an abundance of plants in open fields and this meat produces the nutrients, including about 60 percent more Omega-3s and twice as much vitamin A and E, among others.
What about the plant-based food we eat? We need to consume a variety of colored plants each day and want to be sure the soil in which they’re grown has plenty of nutrients. If you buy organic plants, you’re assured by the stance the organic food industry takes that it is beyond scientific doubt organic foods are higher in vitamins and trace minerals. So you may get the idea that the same guidelines apply to fish, chicken, pork, etc. This is where the saying “you are what you eat” comes into play.
Back to the multivitamin. If you eat the color of the rainbow, grass-fed animals, and plants grown in proper, vitamin-rich soil with little to no chemical residue, then you probably don’t need a multivitamin. For those of us who see the need and are looking at our choices, it is basically the same as food—we must look at the source of vitamins and minerals. There are two basic types: isolated/synthetic and whole food nutrition.
Let’s dig into the first option: isolated/synthetic. Your body treats these vitamins as foreign substances. They are created in a lab and use high doses because the enzymes in your body do not recognize them and can only absorb a small amount, excreting the rest. Included in the synthetic vitamin category you will also find “other ingredients” listed below the supplement facts. These include various artificial sugars, color additives, fillers and binders which are also man-made chemicals with no nutritional value.
Now let’s look at the whole food vitamins. These are created from living foods which means they are highly complex structures of antioxidants, enzymes and trace elements, known and unknown. There are naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in nature that are undiscovered; whole food vitamins will contain these. In synthetic vitamins, we cannot include what we do not know. Whole food vitamins work synergistically and rely on their whole food structure and complexity to work in harmony with the enzymes your body produces. Science cannot create life. Only life can create life.
The keys to looking for a multivitamin: Look for it to be as close to natural form as possible. See that care has been taken in all areas, from growing the plants to production, to testing for quality and potency. For further questions on vitamin choices, look to your local health food store. They will have the knowledgeable staff to help you make the choice that is right for you and your family.
Paula Comstock is the owner of Sassafras Health Foods, in White Bear Lake, and is a board certified holistic health practitioner and nutritionist.