The Multivitamin Debate – How To Choose The BEST Multivitamins

Mira and Jayson Calton from Calton Nutrition recent recorded a masterclass that we just have to share. It’s around micronutrient comparison and exposes many multivitamin brands that have everything… but the vitamins!

Would you like to learn how to choose the best multivitamins? Then read on.

Did you know that many vitamins compete with each other? While you are taking many of them together, your body actually might not be absorbing any or very little of them. Caltons have created the ABCs (Absorption, Beneficial quantities, Competition and synergy) of supplementation that everyone needs to know about.

In this video Mira and Jayson are discussing Thorne FX, as Ben Greenfield recently called it the “greatest multivitamin on the face of the planet”. But is it? Watch the video to find out!

Few important facts to keep in mind: 

  • According to the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR), a guide to all things prescribed, the contents of both capsules and pills, which make up the majority of multivitamin sales, are only 10 (pills) to 20 (capsules) percent absorbed by the body, while liquid formulas (like nutreince) are the most absorbable at up to 98 percent! (1)
  • Raimar Löbenberg, Ph.D., of the University of Alberta states, “Active ingredients [micronutrients] can only be absorbed if they are released into solution from the dosage form. Disintegration is the first step in this process . . . if a mineral has to be absorbed within an absorption window and the dosage form [i.e. pill or capsule] does not release its content in a timely manner, then the therapy might be compromised or fail. An extended release dosage form on the other hand only releases parts of its total content at the absorption window like the duodenum and releases most of its dose in the jejunum, ileum and colon. This might cause a therapeutic failure due to insufficient absorption of some minerals or vitamins in deeper segments of the gut.”nutreince
  • Dr. Löbenberg examined 49 well-known commercially available multivitamins that were in both tablet (pill) and capsule form to determine if they could release their contained micronutrients within a twenty-minute time period—the time necessary for potential absorption. The results showed that out of the forty-nine multivitamins studied twenty-five (or 51 percent) did not disintegrate within the allotted 20-minute window (21 of the 39 tablets or 54% and 4 out of the 10 capsules or 40%). The worst performers were Kirkland Signature formula (Cosco Brand), Ultimate One for Men, Trophic, Sisu Only One, Super Swiss One, and GNC Mega Man – all of which failed to disintegrate at all.
  • Micronutrient competition is likely the biggest revelation in supplemental science in the last 80 years, but it is also likely the reason that the multivitamin is under attack by many people in the medical and health professions. It turns out science has proven again and again the overwhelming health benefits of individual essential micronutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C etc. Whole books have been written on the benefits of these vitamins and minerals. But when we take 20 or 30 of these essential micronutrients and put them together in a single delivery system like a pill or capsule and make what has become commonly known as a multivitamin, nearly all of the positive health benefits disappear – the million dollar question is why?
  • Science has discovered that certain micronutrient antagonize or compete with one another making it so that the absorption or utilization of some micronutrients can be greatly hindered or even negated in the presence of another. Its true, not only is micronutrient competition a very real occurrence it is perhaps the most overlooked factor contributing to poor availability of micronutrients in all nutritional supplements today.
  • There are actually four different types of micronutrient competition that can occur along a micronutrients journey from the manufacturing of a nutritional supplement, all the way through to utilization. They are:

1. Chemical Competition which takes place during the manufacturing of a multivitamin or nutritional supplement. Manufacturers combine competing micronutrients in one formulation and a chemical battle ensues within the formulation itself, leaving the competing micronutrients unable to be absorbed. An example of this is that zinc forms an insoluble complex with folic acid (vitamin B9) when they are put together in a nutritional supplement or multivitamin. When this happens, neither will be absorbed.

2. Biochemical Competition, which happens after the body has ingested the micronutrients in the multivitamin, but before the micronutrients have been absorbed. The micronutrients compete for a common receptor site for absorption or transport pathways, as is the case between lutein and beta-carotene.

3. Physiological Competition, which occurs after the micronutrients have been absorbed; when one or both of the two competing micronutrients may cause decreased utilization, even after absorption has taken place. For instance, in some studies copper has been shown to reduce the activity of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).

4. Clinical Competition, which takes place when the presence of one micronutrient masks the deficiency of another – making it difficult to detect deficiency. The classic example here is folic acid (vitamin B9) and vitamin B12. Folic acid can mask B12 anemia, a condition of inadequate red blood cells that can lead to depression, dementia, and the inability to carry oxygen throughout the body.

Click here to get the vitamins that don’t compete with each other and taste absolutely delicious!

In their extensive research, Caltons discovered that out of 34 micronutrients, 30 have at least 1 competition, 15 out of the 34 have at least 3 competitions, and iron has 10 competitions with other micronutrients. Check out The Web of Competition map below (taken from their “Naked Calories” book).

nutrient competitionThe opposite of clinical competition is Clinical synergy. Clinical synergy takes place when micronutrients have been found to work together to create an observable yet unexpected beneficial change in the body. These clinical synergies have been attributed to decreasing the chances of a disease. An example of this is when folic acid (B9) and vitamins B12 and B6 are all present, in adequate quantities, and convert homocysteine into cysteine and methionine. This conversion lowers homocysteine, which is a known marker of coronary disease.

Caltons discovered 86 synergies that can occur within a group of 34 different micronutrients. Out of those 34 micronutrients, 32 have at least 1 synergy, 23 out of the 34 have at least 3 synergies, and 17 out of the 34 have at least 5 synergies. Check out The Dynamic Duos of Synergy chart (taken from their “Naked Calories” book).


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