Vitamin Ratings are a complex topic. There are very important components that need to be part of the ratings, such as safety, purity, potency, quality, and effectiveness. The problem is that vitamins are not regulated by any governing body. In my research I have found some interesting information, but not a comprehensive source of ratings. There are just too many variables.
Let’s look at some facts. In the case of natural vitamins, ingredients only have to be 5 to 10% natural to list ‘natural’ on their label. With synthetic vitamins, your body may only be able to absorb and use about 50% of the ingredients. And it is up to the brand to set their own safety standards and the quality of ingredients they use.
Can you see why it is tough to rate vitamins, or even compare them?
Let’s also review the types of vitamins before we rate them. There are all natural vitamins that are also called whole food vitamins because they are formulated as close to real food as possible. You have to trust the brand that they really are 100% natural since as stated above, vitamins are not regulated like pharmaceutical drugs.
Next you have vitamins that are synthetic, meaning they are not natural ingredients. They are chemically reproduced ingredients and certain vitamins are not 100% bio-available to your body – meaning your body can’t absorb them completely.
The types of vitamins make a review challenging as well because if you are looking at ingredients on the labels and think that you are going to get the benefit of the total amount listed, that is not always going to happen.
For example, many natural nutrition experts feel that vitamin E is best absorbed when it is all natural and that only about 50% of a synthetic form will be available for use in your body. That would affect the rating of the synthetic form since you would have to take double what you actually need to have absorbed.
ConsumerLab.com is one of the better regarded sourcec for multivitamin reviews, and they test them to make sure the ingredients break down in your body to be utilized for better health, to make sure the amount of vitamins and minerals they state on the label are really in the product, and that there is not anything extra in the vitamin such as fillers or impurities. What’s disturbing is that this agency finds at least 30% of brands do not have the amounts of ingredients stated on the label inside the tablets. So how do you know which 30% that is?
The FDA tests vitamins, although not on a regular basis. 2008 was the last that I could find. At that time 320 out of 324 brands contained small traces of lead. The FDA stated that the amount of lead did not exceed the ‘provisional tolerable intake levels’ for their intended use. Some contained more lead than others. The problem I have with that is: next month, or at some time in the future, are they going to change the amount that is tolerable or tell us that what they thought was tolerable really was too high and people are sick because of it? Unfortunately things like this have happened, and it’s not a risk I want to take.
Maybe what we should focus on in a multivitamin comparison is is what the specific brand has to offer. If companies aren’t regulated, the industry is going to have a huge variance in quality of products.
The Shaklee Corporation conducted a 20 year Landmark Food Supplement Study, in conjunction with the University of California at Berkley School of Public Health (also published in Nutrition Journal), and tested the blood levels of people using their brand of 100% natural supplements, other multivitamin brands, and no supplements at all.
The Shaklee brand fared the best, with excellent health results in the participants, across the board of blood tests. However, for me it was very disturbing to learn that in some areas of testing, people were better off not taking any supplement than to take certain brands that produced the least favorable blood test results.
Research Your Brand
What does your brand have to say about purity and potency? Do they test for contaminants and effectiveness of ingredients?
There are 350 contaminants, including over 320 pesticides, that can find their way into your vitamin tablets and yet only 80 are required by pharmaceutical standards that companies have an option of participating in to show their quality standards. Shaklee tests for all 350 because their own personal standards are the toughest in the nutrition industry.
How many scientists does your brand have on staff? Are there patented, exclusive formulas that are proven effective?
One large, well known brand that only employs about 4 scientists actually bragged that they put out 200 new products in one year and sales would determine ‘what products would stick’! In contrast Shaklee has 75 full time, highly regarded scientists and may only introduce one new product per year.
How effective is your brand? Are the vitamins getting absorbed in your body and producing better health results for you? Are your blood tests and the way you feel showing the kind of results you want?
Certain delivery systems can allow your body to absorb nutrients better than others. For example, your body can absorb a sustained release vitamin delivery system vitamin B+C formula up to 198% better than a conventional delivery system.
What scientific proof does your brand have that their products will work? How do they confirm the efficacy of the ingredients?
I think the most important takeaway is to do your homework. Be in charge of your own good health. Your doctor has had very little education in nutrition. Most doctors do not have the time to research brands of nutrition. It is up to each of us, as individuals, to find a brand that provides the safety, purity, potency, quality, and effectiveness of the vitamins we use.
We take vitamins to be healthier. To get sick less often. To fight the diseases of aging. Maybe to have more energy or improve our mood and quality of life. We put these nutrients into our bodies – the most valuable asset we have. Don’t we want the best quality going in? After all, we only have one body.
Learn more about Shaklee Vitalizer and how it has been proven to make you healthier now and in the future!