Multivitamins used to be considered part of a daily wellness routine to minimize nutrient deficiencies that may develop from what may be lacking in our diets. Multis have fallen out of fashion in the last few years, perhaps because their effects generally aren’t noticeable, because of pill fatigue, or because people perceive their diets as more nutritious than they really are, but evidence suggests that the average Canadian is lacking in various essential nutrients.
The majority of multivitamins available are made of combinations of synthetic nutrients. These forms are less effective than their food-sourced counterparts as discussed below using folic acid for B9 as an example.
Folate and folic acid are two different molecules although the terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably. Folate is the form found in foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, and it has many amino acid molecules as part of its structure. By contrast, folic acid is produced in a lab, has only one amino acid, and does not support the same pathways within the body that folate does (1,2). Folic acid must first be converted into folate by the body and that’s easier said than done (1).
Folic acid is used to fortify foods such as flour products to prevent spina bifida (a previously common ailment associated with refined flour products) but is under investigation as a double-edged sword with regards to health. High levels of folic acid (more than 1000mcg/day) from dietary supplements and/or overconsumption of fortified foods may hide a B12 deficiency which in turn could play a role in anemia, cognitive defects in the elderly, and altered immune function (3)! There is no known upper limit for folate from foods.
MegaFood recognizes the power of nutrients in their original food form. MegaFood uses freshly harvested carrots, oranges, cabbage, broccoli, brown rice, blueberries, cranberries, beets, and nutritional yeast to provide nutritional support to the body. The folate in the MegaFood One Dailies is delivered through broccoli, a food that is naturally rich in all B vitamins including folate.
At MegaFood, farm-fresh foods are frozen to stop them from over-ripening and breaking down, and then pureed to make them more digestible. A FoodState nutrient complex is created through the use of this frozen “slushy” food base, the particular nutrient desired, plant enzymes, and lots of time… The enzymes help to integrate the nutrient into the food matrix so that the levels of that nutrient are maximized and can be used to deliver a therapeutic dose to the body.
The final product is not only vitamins and minerals that are recognizable to the body as food, but it also supplies all of the cofactors, enzymes, and phytonutrients of the real farm-fresh foods within the supplement as well!
In 2012 a study by Health Canada found that up to a third of Canadians have inadequate dietary intakes of vitamin C, B12, folate, B6, and zinc! (4) Clearly a good quality multivitamin that provides essential vitamins to the body is a simple and necessary factor in daily health and disease prevention for many people. Bring back the daily multivitamin!
Groff JL, SS Gropper, SM Hunt. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism 2nd Edition. West Publishing Company 1995.
Gaby AR. Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing 2011.
Smith AD, YI Kim, H Refsum. Is Folic Acid Good for Everyone? Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87:517–33.
Do Canadian Adults Meet their Nutrient Requirements through Food Intake Alone? http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/surveill/nutrition/commun/art-nutr-adult-eng.php