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Foundation Five: Multivitamin

Many health-conscious people believe you can get all your nutrients from food. Nutritional surveys don’t support this. “Most people do not consume an optimal amount of vitamins through diet alone,” write the authors of a 2002 review in the highly respected Journal of the American Medical Association. 

Why You Need It: 

 

This graph from the 2010 NHANES survey that recorded the diet of Americans found that adults of all ages didn’t come close to meeting the Dietary Reference Intake DRI for many of the 21 most important micronutrients for health. Deficiencies were above 80 percent for vitamin D, vitamin E, potassium, and over 50 percent for choline, potassium, and magnesium. 

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise when you remember that the average American has a high consumption of low-nutrient, high-calorie processed foods. However, even diets rich in whole foods are coming in as nutrient deficient due to the following factors:

  • • The large use of pesticides and herbicides on crops significantly lowers nutritional quality.
  • • Modern day farming practices mean the production of high yield crops depletes the soil of micronutrients.
  • • Prescription drug use drastically depletes nutrient levels. Simply taken an oral birth control can sap your body of much needed nutrients including CoQ10, DHEA, folic acid, magnesium, tryptophan, tyrosine, vitamins B2, B6, B12, C, and E, and zinc. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here is a list of drugs that diminish nutrient levels in the body (http://www.granbypharmacy.com/uploads/7/5/4/7/7547647/nutrient-depletion-chart.pdf).
  • • Chronic stress depletes vitamins and minerals at an accelerated rate. High levels of cortisol and adrenaline increases the use and excretion of vitamins such as A, C, D, E, K, B complex, and minerals including magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, chromium, selenium, zinc, and potassium.
  • • Virtually every vitamin and mineral is involved in energy production and carbohydrate metabolism. 

How To Choose A Multi?

Because multivitamins combine so many nutrients into one, quality is often compromised. All minerals are bound with another compound for stability. An easy way for companies to decrease production costs is to use mineral salts for binding.  Mineral salts, which you can identify as carbonate, oxide, and sulfate are very poorly absorbed. 

Poor absorption can be largely avoided by choosing minerals that are bound with an amino acid because they are treated by the body like proteins and are easily digested. Examples include taurate, glycinate, orotate, arginate, lysinate, and citrate. 

It's also important to keep an eye out for multis that have high levels of preformed vitamin A (called retinyl palmitate or acetate on the label) and manganese because these can be toxic at higher levels. 

Finally, folic acid should be the bioavailable tetra-hydrofolate form because other forms of folic acid are not absorbed by the 50 percent of the population that have a specific gene variation. 

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