Several times a week I answer the same question: “Are these good vitamins/supplements/herbs for me to take?” Reading the labels with the inquisitors I do a “take these—not those” run-through of their vitamins/supplements/herbs. I thought to take the time to mention a few of my pet peeves of these and those. Ready? Let’s go.
Take these—not those
NO: Never take calcium, magnesium or zinc oxide/chloride in a multivitamin. Not only are these the cheap and highly superficial mineral forms, the “ide” combines with your stomach acid to generate a noxious gas. Oxide, chloride forms are good for external uses–not internal.
YES: Always make sure your oral supplements have minerals in the “ate” form for easy digestion. Calcium, magnesium, zinc should be in one of these forms: Citrate, chelate, malate, succinate, etc.. These forms cost a bit more for the manufacturer to add to the supplement.
NO: Cyanocobalamin B12! The “Cyano” part is cyanide. Cyanide is cheap and helps extend the shelf life of the vitamin. Your liver has to strip the cyanide off using methyls and then add methyls back to it to make the B12 viable. This shorts your overall methylation capacity—very bad for the MTHFR defect.
YES: Methylcobalamin B12! This is the active form ready for use in your body. Always request methylcobalamin B12 for any B12 injections. 5,000mcg a day or more is what I recommend to maintain health. You may need more if your health is not-so-good.
NO: Folic acid! This is the cheap chemical form of folate. Some people cannot convert this form of folate into the usable form and taking folic acid could actually drive a folate and/or methyl deficiency into a health crisis. If you think taking folic acid will help avoid birth defects you could be seriously wrong…
YES: Methylfolate! There’s that methyl word again. Methylfolate is the active form, easy to assimilate and can help prevent cellular mutations all the body. Methylfolate helps you produce healthy red blood cells. Folate is a water-soluble vitamin and needs to consumed daily.
NO: Preformed Vitamin A retinyl/retinol palmitate! This is the cheaper chemical version of vitamin A that has a longer shelf life than the good stuff. Did you know that daily doses of retinal palmitate over 15,000 IUs is actually considered toxic amounts and can accelerate cancer?
YES: Vitamin A Beta Carotene from food sources. You can’t go wrong with fresh vegetable and even fish oil sources of vitamin A. What’s the over-dose risk of food source vitamin A? You might turn orange!
NO: DL alpha vitamin E isolate! Alpha E in the isolated form causes the other vitamin E forms to be shorted by using up the other forms to make the entire vitamin E complex. The more alpha vitamin E you take, the more vitamin E complex you become deficient in.
YES: Vitamin E Mixed Tocopherols. A well-balanced vitamin E supplement is high in all E constituents–alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherols. This mixed form is anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic, regulates gene activity, regulates cell signaling, is an anti-oxidant and has anti-cancer capabilities.
NO: GMO-based vitamin C. Many, many studies show increased tumor growth in animal tests using GMO foods. Did you know that well over 90% of all vitamin C for food and supplements is made in China from GMO corn?
YES: Organic non-corn vitamin C with rose hips. Keep in mind that the RDA for vitamin C is 95 mg and healthy mammals that weigh about 150 lbs produce up to 14,000 mg per day! Under stress or sick they produce much more. (Humans can’t make their own C…) Start low with 1,000 mg 2X a day and build slowly.
NO: Calcitrol vitamin D2. AKA ergocalciferol, this is the Big Pharma chemical version of vitamin D that has a laundry list of side-effects too long to mention here… Most forms of ergocalciferol D2 also contain ingredients such as peanut oil, GMO soybean oil, sugar, aspartame and food dyes. D2 can harm an unborn child.
YES: GMO-free, soy-free cholecalciferol vitamin D3. Keep in mind the best source is the sun shining on healthy skin tissues. Being a fat-soluble vitamin, you can take all your vitamin D3 once a week. I recommend taking it with a fatty meal. If in doubt about your body’s D levels, have them checked!
NO: Iron Ferrous Sulfate. Trying to uptake this form of iron is likened to pushing a baseball up a garden hose. It’s just too big! Now it accumulates in the bowels causing hemorrhoids and toxic iron buildups. You can actually take this iron supplement until the cows come home and still be anemic.
YES: Plant-based iron chelate. This iron is “predigested” and easy to assimilate. Copper and iron work synergistically to form hemoglobin and should be supplemented together. Supplementing with either copper or iron alone can lead to a deficiency of the other.
Some of my favorite brands
Good vitamins/supplements/herbs are not necessarily cheap AND cheap vitamins/supplements/herbs are not necessarily good. With that said lets take a gander at some.
NO: Uh, read the labels peeps! At the risk of offending these companies, this is my opinion. Amway usually has cheap junk mixed in with some good stuff. Costco vitamins are mostly laced with junk also. One-A-Day not good, Centrum cheap and highly superficial, Vitafusion junky, Nature Made crappy, Pure Encapsulations pretty OK, 365 forget about it, Walmart brand never on my dime.
YES: Changing gears, here are some of my favorite supplement brands in no particular order: Thorne, Gaia Herbs, most Now Brand products, Doctor’s Best, Garden of Life, Nordic Naturals, DR Mercola and Douglas Labs.
Feel free to comment on your favorite and least favorite brand!