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Health January 2016

Dear Pharmacist

This Is Why I Threw Out My Multivitamin

By Suzy Cohen

We need to stop fooling ourselves into thinking we can eat garbage and take one tiny pill to fix it all! Ain’t gonna happen.

I used to think multivitamins filled a nutritional gap, but today I think differently. There’s no way that 1.7 mg of any B vitamin will boost energy, or 20mg of magnesium could improve mood. I’m beginning to realize that multivitamins are an absolute joke! It’d be funny except the joke’s on us, and you spent good money on them. Here’s my rationale:

Negligible amounts: There are so many nutrients in a multivitamin that the amounts of each become negligible. For example, 1 mg of pyridoxine (B6) doesn’t impact you metabolically speaking. I think it’s on the label “for show” as clearly this amount doesn’t optimize health. By the time this 1 mg gets past your digestive tract, hardly anything could have made it to your blood stream, no less your nerves where B6 is required. The same goes for cyanocobalamin, a typical form of vitamin B12. One popular multi-billion-dollar-producing brand has 1 mcg cyanocobalamin in it! MICROGRAM folks, that is just one-thousandth of a milligram. With hundreds of B12 dependent metabolic reactions (including methylation), what do you think that 1 microgram does for you? I’ll tell you, nothing! It’s there for show.

Allergies: Multivitamins have upwards of 68 different ingredients, some of which are synthetic –  are you sure you’re not allergic to this stuff?

Inactive forms: It’s one thing to take insignificant amounts of a nutrient, but there are usually completely inactive vitamins in your multivite, and they remain inactive until converted by your liver to something that could work. After you take cyanocobalamin B12, your body breaks it into cyanide and cobalamin, and then you have to methylate it. Superior forms of B12 are methylcobalamin, hydroxycobalamin or adenosylcobalamin.

Potential toxins: Let’s revisit that cyanocobalamin B12 – what I consider to be inferior to other B12 supplements. It contains minute amounts of cyanide which has low potential to do harm when bound to organic cobalamin, but still, I don’t want it in my body even in teeny-tiny amounts.

Cramps and diarrhea: Yep, you could get that due to the addition of cheap forms of magnesium such as the “oxide” form. Gentler forms of magnesium include the “chelated” forms, or threonate, or glycinate.

Artificial colors: One popular brand contains three artificial colors FD&C Red #40, Blue #2 and Yellow #6 and there is a controversy over the safety of those dyes.

The greatest deception is that the minerals from these multivitamins will get into your bones. Magnesium oxide and calcium carbonate don’t penetrate your bone cells well. They have a tough time leaving your intestines.

In my humble opinion, it’s not possible to take a multivitamin once daily, that contains biologically active ingredients and has them in dosages that advance your health. This is why I threw out my multivitamins. You can get biologically active nutrients if you just eat real food, nothing from a box or can. Your diet should include the basics like salads, greens, nuts, seeds, citrus fruits, berries and of course, lean, clean protein. We need to stop fooling ourselves into thinking we can eat garbage and take one tiny pill to fix it all! Ain’t gonna happen.

 

A licensed pharmacist for over 22 years, Suzy Cohen shares the pros and cons of medication use as well as natural substitutions for most any of your health concerns. Visit Suzy’s website at www.dearpharmacist.com.

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