Cheap multivitamin vs high quality supplements
A cheap multivitamin will often have the quantity of a component equal to 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). RDA is a very misleading term. It is the minimum amount that will keep a person from dying of a disease directly caused by an individual vitamin deficiency.
Multivitamins can be formulated to much higher standards than avoiding death. They can be formulated to help a person attain their best health and have a strong immune system. This is done by synergistically maximizing the health benefits of all the micronutrient components.
A cheap multivitamin will provide 100% of the RDA in the form of Vitamin A.
A quality multivitamin will provide several times the vitamin A than the RDA in a combination of beta carotene and vitamin A in about a 5:1 ratio. Beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. Your body will generally convert beta carotene to vitamin A as needed with no toxic build up.
There are three common forms of folate. Folate is the name for the natural nutrient. Folic Acid is its synthetic form. Methyl Folate is the form which is easiest to absorb and use in the body. Cheap multivitamins or B-Complex vitamins will use folic acid. High quality products use methyl folate.
There is a five-step process in the body that converts folate to methyl folate. Metylated folate is the active form of folate. It is very common for people to have a methylation issue due to a genetic polymorphism (minor abnormality or snip). I have seen statistics which show that up to 50% of the population has this genetic snip. These people cannot easily convert folate to active methyl folate. That is why high-quality multivitamins will use methyl folate.
Vitamin B-12 is used in the production of energy. Cyanocobalamin is the form of vitamin B-12 found in cheap multivitamins. Methyl cobalamin is the form used in expensive multivitamins. Methylcobalamin is much more bioavailable. The same methylation polymorphism comes into play in the body’s production of active methyl cobalamin as with folate. That is why high-quality B-Complex or multivitamin will contain methyl cobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is a key marker of a low-quality multivitamin.
Cheap multivitamins contain vitamin D2. It is cheaper and stays in the body for a much shorter time than the active Vitamin D3 form. D3 is the form generated in the skin when exposed to sunlight. D2 fills vitamin D receptors, thus blocking the absorption of D3, so that the more active form of D, vitamin D3, is blocked from absorption. Vitamin D2 is often the form of D that is added to food, such as milk, yogurt, and cereal. The manufacturers call this food fortified. That often infers that processed food is lacking in natural nutrients and manufacturers “fortify” the nutrient poor food with cheap and synthetic forms of vitamins. You do not want to rely on processed food for synthetic nutrients.
Vitamin E is a complex of eight different forms of the vitamin E family. They are known as alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta- tocopherols and tocotrienols.
Alpha tocopherol is the cheapest and least useful form of vitamin E for your body. It is most commonly used in low quality multivitamins. It is available in either natural or synthetic form. The natural form is known as d-alpha tocopherol. The synthetic form is known as dl-alpha tocopherol. In general, the synthetic form has half the benefit of the natural form.
All 7 of the other forms of vitamin E have greater benefits than d-alpha tocopherol. They are rarely found in multivitamins because they are far more expensive.
People who don’t know much about vitamin E speak or write about d-alpha tocopherol interchangeably with vitamin E. This can be very misleading.
Many scientific studies done on vitamin E in food show great benefits for heart health and reduction of stroke risk. The studies done on vitamin E from supplements generally don’t show these benefits. Many scientists and doctors are confused by these seemingly conflicting results. That is because the vitamin E in food may be a mix of the 8 isomers (forms), whereas the vitamin E in most supplements are exclusively the cheap d- or dl-tocopherol form.
When vitamin E receptor sites in your body are saturated with cheap d- or dl-alpha tocopherol, they are not able to absorb the 7 other forms of vitamin E. Thus, cheap vitamin E can have a long-term detrimental effect by blocking absorption of the 7 other forms of vitamin E found in various foods.
An ideal multivitamin or Vitamin E supplement will have all 8 forms of vitamin E, and the lower the dose of cheap d-alpha tocopherol, the better.
The three forms of vitamin K help blood flow and help the body metabolize calcium to the bones instead of to soft tissue (arteries, kidneys (think kidney stones), and the heart. A cheap multivitamin will not have any vitamin K. A slightly higher quality product will have vitamin K-1. A top shelf multivitamin will have vitamin K-2 in two different expensive forms (isomers) – MK4 and MK7.
Because a multivitamin has vitamin C by definition, it should never include iron. Iron and vitamin C do not mix well in the stomach and can cause upset. Iron, if you are deficient, should be taken a couple of hours before or after vitamins or food containing vitamin C.
Calcium is necessary for bone health and cellular metabolism. Calcium is available bound in many ways, such as carbonite, malate, amino acid chelate, and citrate. Calcium carbonite is the form that was known to go in the mouth as a hard tablet and be found in in the toilet as the same hard tablet. It passes through the body with almost no absorption. Calcium bound to amino acid chelate is released in the Krebs cycle as the amino acid chelate is separated for energy production. This is one of the better bindings. A variety of bindings allows for calcium to be released in a variety of ways, giving your body the option to absorb it most effectively based on your diet and metabolism.