8 Reasons Why I Threw Out My Multivitamin

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Just like you, I’ve spent a lot of hard-earned money on multivitamins through the years, figuring they will work behind the scenes to improve or maintain my health. I was never really sure if they did anything for me, so I kept 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?

My mind sweeps back to the 1980s when I was a pharmacy student at the University of Florida and my pharmacology professor told us that vitamins don’t work, they just make your urine worth a fortune.

As a pharmacist for many years, I have watched thousands of you roaming up and down the vitamin aisles at my pharmacy in search of some magic pill, one that really works. But just like me, how would you know if they were working? Do you depend on the brands that advertise the heaviest?

Even if you take a multivite and get a little boost of energy, does that mean the ingredients are safe for you, and does it assure you that you’re not being exposed to potentially-toxic colorants and other additives? Companies spend billions of dollars each year to market their multivitamins to you.

Call me cynical, but if you have to spend that much money to convince me your product is that good, how much money went into the actual formula? Maybe they used their entire budget on marketing instead of formulation! And in order to produce massive quantities of multivitamins, are cheap excipients or lubricants used to make your machines run faster? It’s a universal dilemma, one that I have faced myself: to take a multivitamin or not?

Well, after years of research on my end, I don’t. I actually went through my kitchen cabinets and threw all the multivitamins out. And I don’t carry a general multivitamin formula in my vitamin and SUPPLEMENT SHOP because I haven’t figured out a way to ethically create and encapsulate nutrients so that they’ll actually work and be safe. Until I can figure that out, I won’t be selling multivitamins as part of my product line.

I used to think multivitamins filled a nutritional gap, but today I think differently.

8 Reasons Why I Gave Up On My Multivitamins

1. Negligible amounts – There are so many nutrients in a multivitamin that the amounts of each become negligible. There’s no way that 1 mg of pyridoxine (B6) could 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 bloodstream, much less your nerves where B6 is required. The same goes for cyanocobalamin, a typical form of vitamin B12.

One popular brand has 1 mcg cyanocobalamin in it! 1 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 has the power to do for you? I’ll tell you: Nothing! 

2. Potential Allergic Reactions – Some multivitamins have 60 or 70 different ingredients in their blend, many of which are synthetic. Are you sure you’re not allergic to any of this stuff?  Multivitamins you find at the store often contain soy and may contain any of these other fruit or vegetable-derived ingredients as well as many chemicals to which you could be sensitive.

3. Multivitamins Often Use Inactive forms – It’s one thing to take insignificant amounts of a nutrient, but there are often completely inactive vitamins in your multivitamins, and they remain inactive until converted by your liver to something that could work. After you take CYANOCOBALAMIN B12, for instance, your body breaks it into cyanide and cobalamin, and then you have to methylate it.

It’s not that it’s bad or dangerous, it’s just inactive and you have to spend a lot of antioxidant money to convert it to superior forms. And by superior forms of B12, I’m thinking of the methylated form called “methylcobalamin,” or the mitochondrial form “adenosylcobalamin” and/or hydroxycobalamin.

4. Potential for Tummy Upset – Some people don’t feel well on their vitamins. Some sensitive individuals might experience abdominal aches, cramps, constipation and/or diarrhea due to the addition of cheap forms of iron, or inferior forms of magnesium such as the “oxide” form. Better brands will often use “chelated” forms, or threonate (MagFocus) or glycinate for example.

5. Multivitamins Have Artificial colors – One popular brand contains a bunch of artificial colors like FD&C Red #40, Blue #2 and Yellow #6. There is valid controversy over the safety of those dyes. I’m not sure why the color of a multivitamin matters but they are frequently used. Titanium dioxide is a common colorant used in supplements.

I always wonder why they have to use the synthetic colors over natural ones?! There are many, including blueberry juice concentrate, carotene from carrots, paprika, beet juice, purple sweet potato, hibiscus, natural astaxanthin, and CoQ10, which is a beautiful golden color.

6. Other Additives – Another thing that alarms me is when I look at some supplements and see unneccesary, and sometimes potentially harmful additives that they put in it. Stearates are common, a lubricant used to make the machines that make supplements run faster, which I’m happy to say is absent in my entire product line. Read my other article, 8 Reasons to Avoid Stearates.

Hydrogenated oils, which many of us try to avoid consuming, are common additives in supplements as well… and there are scores of others.

7. Low Absorption – 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 very well at all, just a percentage will get through.

These types of forms have a tough time getting past your intestines into your bloodstream. And then there’s the opposite problem: If you have what they call a “Leaky Gut” then whatever is in your multivitamin will spill into your bloodstream and spark sensitivities and allergies! You may want to read my other article, 10 Essential Nutrients Depleted in Hashimoto’s and How to Restore Them.

8. Potential of Interactions with Medications – Do you know if every nutrient in your multivitamin is safe to take with your prescription medications? Maybe they lower the absorption or make a drug you are taking more potent! Maybe taking a certain vitamin with a medication you’re on inactivates your medicine.

 I always recommend that (if you take prescription medications) that you speak to your practitioner before starting any supplement.  Read how to Avoid Dangerous Interactions When Taking Supplements.

I am an advocate for a healthy diet. I simply do not think it’s possible to take a multivitamin once daily and receive enough of the nutrients you need, and most of the time, they are NOT biologically active anyhow!

If your health is not up to par, or are tired, you may want to consider a superfood green drink mix, one that is goitrogen-free. You can also consider a multivitamin if it has biologically active ingredients, and it’s clean, but most on the market are not this way. I can’t say never, because you should never say never.

I’m convinced that you and I can get biologically active nutrients if we just eat real food, and nothing fake or artificial.

Your diet should include a variety of delicious whole foods like salads, greens, nuts, seeds, citrus fruits, berries and of course, lean, clean protein. We need to as a population stop fooling ourselves into thinking we can eat junk food and then take one pill to fix it.