Why I Threw Out My Multivitamins

This Is Why I Threw Out My Multivitamin

Suzy Cohen RP

From Dr. Heather Hunt DC

I love this article written by pharmacist Suzy Cohen.  I have never been a fan of multi-vitamins myself, and she articulates my feelings about it well.  I am also a real stickler for quality. Personally, I try to eat organic whole foods and stay away from synthetic ingredients, GMOs, etc.  This is why I only carry a few lines of supplements in our office.  There truly is a quality difference and just like the food I buy, I want my vitamins to be top quality.  And I do think that natural supplements can be absolutely vital in improving our health.  Instead of a general multi-vitamin, I recommend doing some blood testing, system surveys and a personal intake with a qualified health care professional to access what your body truly needs, instead of throw a bunch of possible synthetic harmful substances at it.  I do not recommend buying supplements from GNC, Costco, Drug stores or online retailers selling cheap supplements.  In this case, often you do get what you pay for. Indeed, the New Your Times (Feb 2015) and others reported a raid on popular brands of supplements and stated this:

“The authorities said they had run tests on popular store brands of herbal supplements at the retailers — Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC — which showed that roughly four out of five of the products contained none of the herbs listed on their labels. In many cases, the authorities said, the supplements contained little more than cheap fillers like rice and house plants, or substances that could be hazardous to people with food allergies.”

Because the FDA does not regulate supplements, it is important that you really investigate the quality of what you are ingesting.  Indeed, they may be doing more harm than good.

Yours in heath,  Dr. Heather


From Suzy:

I’m just like you and have spent a lot of hard-earned money on multivitamins figuring they will work behind the scenes and improve or maintain my good health.  I was never really sure if they did anything for me, so I’d just keep switching brands. It’s not like I felt anything happening, nor did I feel more energy. If I missed a day, I wouldn’t even notice. Was I just making ‘expensive’ urine?

Call me cynical but if you have to spend that much money advertising to convince me your stuff is good, how much money have you put into the formula? Is it possible that companies multi-million dollar advertising budget is just causing you to skimp on ingredients?  And in order to produce massive quantities of multivitamins, cheap excipients have to be used in order to make their machines run faster. It’s a universal dilemma, one that I have faced myself. Take a multivitamin or not? So I don’t. I threw them all out recently.

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 jokes 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. I’m not sure why colors matter on a multivitamin but apparently the biggest makers like to use them. If you have all the money in the world, why not choose natural colors?! There are many, including blueberry juice concentrate, carotene from carrots, paprika, beet juice, purple sweet potato, hibiscus, natural astaxanthin, CoQ10 (it’s a beautiful orange) and red cabbage extract.

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 so if you’re taking these minerals to improve bone mass, make sure you take easy-on-the-tummy supplements that break apart easily and travel to your bones.

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.