I really don't believe that there is any way any chemist or company could possibly take all of the benefits out of whole fruits and vegetables and wrap them all up in a tiny capsule (I don't care how many A's you got in chemistry). Not to mention the fact that our bodies were really designed to absorb vitamins and minerals from food itself, not from some man-made product.
But…here is the problem with my point of view. Not everyone is a veggie and fruit lover like myself. Let's take my husband for example. He absolutely hates vegetables. I mean he practically goes running in the opposite direction at the site of something green (unless its romaine lettuce which he claims is just a good medium to eat my homemade salad dressing…ok, I'll take that as a compliment.)
In a case like this, I have to surrender my views and accept that the only way someone who does not get in the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in one day is to take a high quality multi-vitamin each and every day. Otherwise, they may run the risk of being highly deficient in many vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are essential for a healthy body (as well as feeling good each day.)
Now the key word here is "high quality".
I see way too many people picking up their supplements at the local grocery store or pharmacy and thinking they are doing something healthy for themselves. Well, I'm not here to bash any name brands specifically, but many of these "big name" products are really just made from cheap ingredients and even contain artificial fillers and preservatives that can be doing your body more harm than good.
Why would they do that?
It's a lot easier to sell your products at a cheap price if you don't spend the money on the good stuff, right? Again, I'm not into bashing anybody, but many times you really do get what you pay for.
With that being said, I also am not suggesting you spend thousands on your multi (I know I sure can't). But what I am saying is that the "cheapy" supermarket brands are really not the way to go and we should all be purchasing our multis (and all of our supplements for that matter) from a reputable company.
That takes me to my next point. Many of these products are made by big companies where their employees and even chemists are not as "on top of" the quality of their products as much as they should be. In some cases, these companies do not just specialize in supplements but they make everything from toothpaste to hair gel. I don't know about you but I want to buy my supplements from a company that focuses only on nutrition supplements. I'd rather not risk that chance of there being hair gel in my multi (ok, maybe that wouldn't happen…or could it?)
The next question is…Is it better to take your multi in a capsule, powder or liquid form for optimum absorption?
Some might say that taking it in the form of a liquid would result in the vitamins and minerals being more quickly absorbed into the blood stream. Others would argue that nutrients can remain more stable in a pill or powder form. There is some truth to both of these but I have found the differences to be negligible and the quality of the ingredients to be much more important that the form it comes in. Even if your liquid multi was going to be better absorbed, if the ingredients used were not the best of the best, than what are you really absorbing anyway? Possibly not something good.
When looking for a high quality multi-vitamin, here are a few points I want you to consider:
1. Is it made from whole foods? Many brands have this written right on the label while some others may take a little bit more research. A good, reputable supplement company should provide not only their ingredients list right on their website, but also a good description of what the source of those vitamins and minerals is.
2. Where are you buying your supplements? Chances are if you're just picking up any old vitamins and the local grocery store, the employees are definitely not qualified to answer your questions or give you any information on the product. Seek out a local health food store or specialty store that carries health foods and vitamins and chances are the employees will be much more knowledgeable about their products. If this is not possible for you, seek out a company that you can reach via the internet who will answer any of your questions.
3. Read the ingredients list. This is no different than what you do with the food you are eating. If a particular supplement contains "Red No 40? chances are it's not exactly the most natural product and not the best quality. Also watch out for hidden sugars (anything ending with -ose like sucrose), soy and hydrogenated oils (Yes! Some multis actually have hydrogenated oils in them).
4. What kind of company is manufacturing the product? I know this may sound like a lot of work and research but lucky for me and you, the power of the internet has made this much easier. Did you know that one very, very popular multivitamin company that is sold in almost every supermarket and pharmacy also owns Sponge Bob Square Pants? Now does that sound like a company that is passionate about their nutrition products? And I easily found this out right on their website.
I highly suggest you do just a little bit of homework before making any multi-vitamin purchase. If you currently are using a product that you know fits the above requirements and you trust, please let me know. I love to hear about and continue to research new products.
As for my own research, the only recommendation I make to my clients and my readers (and my dear old hubbie) is Prograde Nutrition's Multi Vitamin products, VGF 25+. Not only do they use only the highest quality ingredients in each product but their only focus is nutrition…and nothing else.
They also were more than willing to send me all the information I asked them for (ingredients, ingredient sources and their own research) when I contacted them. Actually, the CEO got back to me personally… I'm not sure if I would have gotten such a response from some of these other "big name" companies.
Prograde's VGF 25+ also contains whole food ingredients like Kale, Parsley and Spinach. Since pigs may fly sooner than I would ever get my husband to eat kale or spinach, this was a great added benefit for him (and maybe for you too.)