How Good is Your Multivitamin?
As a nutritionist I consistently see people taking poor quality multivitamins and wasting their money. Many are taking Centrum vitamins and believe they are doing a good thing, probably because their doctor recommended it. Poor quality multivitamins contain the following:
1. Very low levels of vitamins and minerals-example: B vitamins will often contain only 1-2 milligrams which is extremely low. High quality multivits will contain 20-50 mg. of B vits. which support stress, energy and much more.
2. The worst absorbable forms of vitamins and minerals-example: magnesium is in the form of oxide which is very cheap and poorly absorbed by the body. High quality multivits will contain magnesium citrate, glycinate or malate which are proven to be better absorbed by the body.
3. The use of many excipients-these are added to the tablet and contain such items as artificial dyes and colorings. High quality multivits will not include any artificial ingredients or dyes at all. When you look at a bottle of Centrum you’ll see other ingredients which will be a paragraph long-this is where you’ll see binders and artificial ingredients added.
Part of the confusion lies in the recommended daily intake. When someone looks at the side of the bottle and notices 100% next to 1.8 mg. of a B vitamin they think they are getting all they need. It’s important to note that recommended daily intakes were established in the early 1940’s and done so to give people amounts needed to prevent disease such as scurvy. These intakes do not give optimal amounts needed which are shown to be much higher.
A few examples of quality multivitamins sold in retail stores include Source Naturals, Rainbow Light, and Natural Vitality. Professional quality multivitamins purchased through a practitioner include Innate Response, Designs for Health and Pure Encapsulations to name a few.
Approximately 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Her risk nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Why are women at such a high risk today compared to 50 years ago? A big reason is the many chemicals women are exposed to today such as false estrogens that mimic hormones in the breast tissue. An example of these are bisphenol-A (BPA) used in plastics including water bottles. Herbicides and pesticides that make their way into food as well as hormone laden meat, poultry and milk are all part of the problem. Being overweight or obese also raises the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
There’s a lot women can do to support their body and reduce their risk. The start is eating a well balanced whole food diet high in fruit and vegetable intake especially cruciferous veggies. In addition there are specific compounds that have been shown to lower risk including the following:
* Lignans-lignans are naturally occuring and are found in flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Lignans can help protect the body by attaching to estrogen receptor sites providing the body protection from harmful estrogens. One study found that post-menopausal women who had the highest intake of lignans were 14 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those with low intakes.
Iodine-Americans have decreased their iodine consumption by 50 percent since the 1970’s. The main reason for this is a low salt diet. Iodine not only supports thyroid function, it also supports prostate, breast health and immune function. Those with an auto-immune disease want to be careful as to how much iodine they take in.
Vitamin D-research has shown Vitamin D can help protect the body from breast cancer. Vitamin D has been shown to decrease the risk of many forms of cancer including breast cancer. A high intake is needed to raise blood levels-the optimal level for Vitamin D is 50-80.