Monday, December 21, 2009

Do You Know What Are In Your Vitamins?

Awhile back I posted a question on facebook to see who was taking vitamins, what people were taking, and what brands people were using. Kara and I were doing our own research as to what brand we wanted to endorse at Whole Health Acupuncture that had the best quality and value for our patients.

As we met with various reps of different supplement companies I learned one thing: everyone has the best vitamins on the market. As we poured over research data and stats and catalogs we went back to the simplest way to know if a product is worthy. We started using the vitamin samples left behind by all those reps.

I'm not going to lie, I'm not a very good supplement taker myself. At least I didn't used to be but we'll get to that. In many circles there is still controversy over the need to take vitamins. Some people feel they are a waste of time and all of those nutrients should be received from the foods we eat. Which in theory is good but who eats fresh fruits and vegetables everyday? Others argue that our soil is so depleted that vitamins are a necessity for health. Still others are starting to take note of vitamin deficiencies and their relation to certain ailments. (for example did you know if you have pain conditions many times a part of the culpret is a vitamin B deficincy?) Anyways I started taking Shaklee vitamins. They had a good reputation, they had research backing them, and as always, I wanted to see for myself. The result was I didn't really feel much of anything. I went on to another brand, this one was a powder that I mixed with water called isotonix. The result, a big sticky mess. Again I didn't feel much during the process of taking them as directed or after I stopped.

Now I was starting to get discouraged thinking that maybe vitamins weren't really all that big of deal and I should just stick with chinese herbs and call it a day. I might have if it weren't for my background in nutrition. It was around this time that I met Tyanna Cannata of Usana vitamins doing a presentation on her vitamins. She had some great information to share that I will now pass onto you.

First, the label on your vitamins that tells you what percentage of your daily requirements are in your vitamins tells only half the story actually more like 20%. Vitamin companies are only required by law to put 20% of what the label actually says is in each pill in the entire bottle. 20%! No wonder I wasn't feeling anything with these vitamins there might not have been anything in them to feel. Second, most companies use byproducts of petrochemicals (think about scraps after making a tire) as binders to keep the vitamins together in a pill form. I don't know about you but that is pretty gross. What's worse is that Tyanna had a visual of all of this. She calls it the apple test.

In three seperate jars there contained half of an apple soaking in water. The first jar had a regular old apple in water. This represented the natural aging process. The apple was starting to turn brown as apples do when they've been out for awhile. The second jar had an apple in water with a Centrum complete vitamin. This apple was floating in murky blackish gray water and the apple itself was blackish gray. This was a demonstation of the "additives" that the body absorbs when taking a vitamin that is not up to par and what it is doing to your body. The last jar held an apple floating in water with a usana vitamin. The apple had not turned brown, instead it looked as if it had just been cut. This represented using a vitamin with actual vitamins in it and how it can slow down the aging process and keep your cells healthy.

You might think big deal, so what who cares about apples. Me too. I was more intrigued by the results Kara was feeling on the vitamins. She was reporting having more energy to get more things done (she has 2 kids 1 who still doesn't sleep through the night and owns a business) and having 3 bowel movements a day and on and on. I went through my last round of trials myself, this time with Usana. I started to notice my energy levels pick up. It occured to me when it was midnight and I was laying in bed while Christian slept watching tv not because I was restless and couldn't sleep but because I wasn't tired. What was even more surprising is that I was waking up in the morning with the sun shine during the fall without an alarm clock because I wanted to not because I had to. Getting up in the morning has always been a struggle for me, to say the least.

Vitamins are rated on a star scale 0-5. 5 star having the best potentancy and purity.

Lyle MacWilliam MSc, FP has published a great book called NUTRISEARCH COMPARATIVE GUIDE TO NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS it contains over 1500 products available in the US and Canada. You can find this book just about anywhere, Borders Book, Barnes and Noble, Amazon etc.

Below are the ratings for the vitamins mentioned above taken for this book.

Shaklee = 1 star

Isotonix = 2 stars

Centrum = 0 stars

Usana = 5 stars

Now I know what its like to take vitamins with vitamins inside of them. It makes a difference to me. But don't take my word for it, try it yourself or try the apple test.

For more information visit Tyanna's website:

Sarah Zender LAc LMT

Whole Health Acupuncture 50 Turner Ave Elk Grove Village IL 847.357.3929

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