By Rick Cohen, M.D.
Core 4 Nutrition
Targeted Solutions for Optimal Health and Performance
If you’re like most busy people, you don’t always have time to eat regular, nutritious meals. As a result, You’re probably supplementing your diet with a multivitamin. Multivitamin formulas contain a variety of different vitamins and mineral combinations. But do you know what vitamins and minerals actually are? Or how much of which ones you’re currently taking?
Vitamins are organic substances that are essential for life. Almost all vitamins are phytonutrients, meaning they were originally sourced from plants.
The common textbook definition of a vitamin is “an organic substance that cannot be manufactured by the body but is regularly needed in small amounts to prevent a combination of symptoms (disease) that can develop over a relatively short term (months to few years).” For example, if your diet is deficient in vitamin C, you will develop a set of symptoms known as scurvy. A lack of vitamin D will present in a set of symptoms called rickets, and too little vitamin B1 causes beri-beri.
Vitamins are also called micronutrients because the amounts that are required for normal functioning are very small, but very necessary. Vitamins can be hormones, antioxidants or even the co-enzymes required for many metabolic functions. Among other things, vitamins help us digest our food, fight infection and manufacture new cells. Vitamins help our bodies operate fully and efficiently.
Unfortunately, almost all vitamins found in a typical multivitamin formula are isolates. Isolated vitamins are an incomplete, albeit inexpensive, alternative to a whole food extract or concentrate. Isolated vitamins are missing the essential, naturally-occurring, food-based co-factors that allow the nutrient to be used most effectively by the body at a cellular level.
Nature always packages vitamins in groups; they were designed to work together to provide nourishment to the cells. Vitamin isolates, on the other hand, do not provide the same synergistic benefits. In fact, the body often responds to an isolated vitamin like it responds to a toxin—it rejects it as a foreign invader.
Minerals are naturally-occurring chemical elements found throughout the human body in the bones, muscles, teeth, blood and nerve cells. Minerals support the health of virtually every human system; they influence everything from immunity to the beating of our hearts. Minerals cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from foods or supplements.
Unfortunately, most multivitamins don’t contain real minerals; they contain mineral salts. Even though mineral salts are often labeled as “natural,” they are fabricated from chemical substitutes. While mineral salts are natural food for plants, they are not a natural food for humans. As a result they are very poorly absorbed and ineffectively utilized by the body.
Now let’s return to our original question—what’s in YOUR multivitamin?
Although there are thousands of healthful phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables, most multivitamin brands contain only 12 to 25 ingredients, the majority of which are isolated and derived from a synthetic source.
The vitamins are classes or groups of related compounds that perform some function in the body. There are fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin A, D, E and K and there are water-soluble vitamins including vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and the B vitamins, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenate), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalomin), and B15 (folate).
There are six major minerals your body needs to function. These include calcium, phosphorus, chloride, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. These minerals support many critical processes in human body, especially fluid balance, the growth and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, muscular and nervous system function.
Most multivitamins don’t contain enough of the major minerals, which our bodies need in relatively large amounts when compared to other nutrients—approximately one gram a day for most healthy adults. And the minerals that are present are man-made (discussed previously), which are counter-productive because they interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.
Next are the trace minerals. These minerals are all essential for good health, but your body needs only a very small amount of them. Trace minerals are important for immune system function, energy, metabolism, and antioxidant protection. Trace minerals include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, and selenium. You may also see products that contain iodine, boron, nickel, silicon and vanadium in very small amounts.
It is also important to identify what ELSE is in your multivitamin. Most conventional brands feature not only a low-quality, poorly-absorbed mix of synthetic chemicals, but a range of preservatives, additives, colors, fillers, processed oils and genetically-modified ingredients. Not vitamins, not minerals and not what I believe can even be safely classified as “edible.”
Here is the list of the OTHER ingredients found in the world’s best-selling multivitamin:
Microcrystalline Cellulose, Pregelatinized Corn Starch. FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum Lake, FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, , Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Hypromellose, Soy Lecithin, Magnesium Stearate, Modified Food Starch, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Aluminosilicate, Tribasic Calcium Phosphate.
When you consider the purchase of ANY nutritional supplement, remember what’s most important!
Should you choose a soup of man-made isolated chemicals that has no measurable effect on your health and well-being or a whole food formula crafted exclusively from fruit and vegetable concentrates and organic botanicals? The answer should be easy. Getting the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals isn’t complicated or difficult when you use the right product—a pure, high-quality, food-based multivitamin that can be quickly and easily absorbed by your body.
Want to learn more about how to select and use a multivitamin formula?
Then visit us at http://www.core4nutrition.com. Here you can learn more about all the foundational nutrients your body needs for optimum health, energy and performance, including our “honest to goodness” multivitamin made exclusively from raw, organic, fruit and vegetable concentrates.
Have questions? Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of the many risk factors associated with heart health and cardiovascular disease (CVD), the primary targets of natural products are cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, blood flow, endothelial function, atherosclerotic plaque formation and heart rate/rhythm. The broader view considers the effects of natural ingredients on various cardiac events, in preventing and limiting damage, as well as aiding recovery.
Natural Products Insider featured an article that showcases over seventy studies using, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, CoQ10 and numerous other nutritional supplements to impact cholesterol and heart disease.
It’s a good start next time your doctor tells you there isn’t enough research on foods and nutritional supplements.
Cranberry researchers encourage consumers to consider the wealth of evidence supporting the health benefits of cranberries
CARVER, Mass., Oct. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Cranberries in many forms are enjoyed by millions of people globally on a daily basis. Despite the discussions stemming from the recent Cochrane Review, “Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections”, cranberry science and nutrition experts assert that consumers should still feel confident in consuming cranberries as a means of maintaining urinary tract health. There is a wealth of scientific evidence, from independent research institutions globally, that has demonstrated that regular consumption of cranberry products helps promote urinary tract health.
“UTIs affect over 15 million U.S. women each year, and cranberries are regarded and researched as a viable means to help address the public health challenge that management of UTIs present, including the growing issue of antibiotic resistances,” says Dr. Amy Howell, Associate Research Scientist at the Marucci Blueberry and Cranberry Research Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey. “For decades, cranberries have been recognized for their powerful anti-adhesion properties against bacteria like E. coli that cause urinary tract infections. The Cochrane Review analyzed results from some of the clinical trials, using criteria that apply to studies on drug treatments. These are not necessarily appropriate for diet and nutrition research.”
Dr. Howell’s position is supported in the scientific literature. Three new UTI clinical studies published after the Cochrane Review was prepared have indicated significant benefits in children, with the participants experiencing as much as a 65% reduction in UTIs and subsequent use of antibiotics. It is also important to note that a recent review contradicts the results of the Cochrane findings. In the July 9, 2012 publication of the Archives of Internal Medicine, scientists reviewed thirteen cranberry and urinary tract health trials with 1,616 subjects and concluded that cranberry-containing products are associated with protective effects against UTIs. In addition, the Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy published a randomized clinical trial involving female patients with UTIs suffering from multiple relapses and the impact of cranberry juice. The results showed that cranberry juice prevented the recurrence of UTIs in a subgroup of this female population with 24-week intake of the beverage. This is another indication of the positive attributes of cranberries with respect to the urinary tract health.
Cranberry Benefits Go Beyond Urinary Tract Health
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), cranberry juice may also have a beneficial effect on blood pressure due to polyphenolic antioxidant compounds found in cranberries. The study, led by Janet Novotny, research physiologist for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, recently presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions, found that participants who drank cranberry juice as part of a healthy diet had lower blood pressure levels than those participants who did not.
“Cranberries naturally contain the flavonoid, proanthocyanidin (PAC) and other polyphenols that have potential health benefits,” explains Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, LD, FADA, past president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association. “Flavonoids have been heralded in heart health promotion.”
Given that Americans are looking for options to increase their fruit and vegetable intake, Diekman urges consumers to consider cranberry products as a way to achieve the recommendations.
“Cranberries fit within the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate recommendations,” states Diekman. “Cranberry products – cranberry juice cocktail, dried cranberries, cranberry sauce or fresh cranberries – give people that slightly sweet but tart and tangy taste they enjoy, so it’s easy to help them incorporate into their daily lives.”
“The bottom line is if people are currently consuming cranberry products for their positive health benefits, the results of the Cochrane Review do not provide a compelling reason for them to change their current practices,” recommends Dr. Howell.
For more information about the health benefits of cranberries and current scientific research visit www.CranberryInstitute.org.
About the Cranberry Institute
The Cranberry Institute is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1951 to further the success of cranberry growers and the industry in the Americas through health, agricultural and environmental stewardship research as well as cranberry promotion and education. The Cranberry Institute is funded voluntarily by Supporting Members that handle, process, and sell cranberries. Supporting Members are represented in national and international regulatory matters and research efforts are done on their behalf.