Is Your Multivitamin Really Doing Anything?

By Dr. Rick Morris

The U.S. Dept. of Health tells us to eat 6 to11 servings of grains, 3 to 5 vegetables, 4 fruits, 2 to 3 meals with dairy and about 6 portions of meat, beans or soy each day. Does anybody really do that? According to two major studies, only 1% of us do and they have personal chefs. But, that’s what it takes to meet the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) or minimal nutritional requirements.

That’s right, the RDA is just the minimum requirement. Much like the minimum wage—you may be able to live on it, but not very well. What’s even more discouraging is that the RDA still does not meet even the basic requirements for many of us, especially those who:

  • Are pregnant
  • Smoke
  • Exercise strenuously
  • Are physically ill, or
  • Are emotionally stressed

In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found it nearly impossible to find anyone who actually met the RDA from just the food they ate. While the RDA takes into account vitamins and minerals, other ingredients such as antioxidants, bioflavinoids, fiber, garlic, and fish oil are neglected. Although the RDA prevents acute deficiency diseases, there is considerable controversy and doubt as to whether it is sufficient to slow the aging processes such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Cancer and Heart Disease.

So what do we do? How do we get the “right” amount of nutrients simply, cheaply and safely?

Here’s a plan. Start with a good multivitamin. Expect to pay about $1 per day. There is no one supplement that is perfect and the specifics as to what is best will change, but in this case, receiving less than the minimum requirements is not your best option.

Use this checklist when evaluating your multivitamin:

  1. Use “mixed carotenoids” instead of just one type such as Beta-carotene to avoid an imbalance. When taken in proper combination it protects against cancer and heart disease.
  2. Vitamin E should be in the form of d-Alpha Tocopherol not dl-Alpha Tocopherol (which is very poorly utilized). In most pills, d-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate is used because it doesn’t have to be in an oil capsule, (although it isn’t absorbed by the body as well). Taking over 100 IU’s may not be good for some people. Speak to us first before taking larger doses.
  3. The antioxidants should include Quercetin, Selenium and “Bioflanonoid Complex.”
  4. The calcium should be in the form of Calcium Citrate or Calcium Hydroxyappetite. The others are not absorbed as well and may irritate your stomach. Unless you regularly eat a lot of dark green leafy vegetables and dairy, be sure to take about 1,000 mg/day. Since most multivitamins do not have enough, separate supplementation may be necessary. There should be, at least, half as much Magnesium as Calcium (e.g. 1000 mg calcium and 500 mg magnesium). Some of us do better with more magnesium then others. Be sure to discuss that with us when you come in. It can make a big difference in your overall sense of well-being.
  5. Certain nutrients can become toxic--avoid overdosing. The following should not exceed these levels:
    • Manganese (1 mg)
    • Chromium (200 mcg)
    • Vitamin A as Retinyl Acetate (5,000IU)
    • Selenium (200mcg)
    • Iron (14mg. and only in menstruating women)
  6. Avoid ingredients that are often irritating, allergenic or decrease absorption such as artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, yeast, soy, wheat, milk, eggs, sugar, lactose or salt.

We know this sounds confusing and like a lot of work. In fact, much is left out to avoid making this more complicated than it already is. We have spent many hours doing the research for you, reviewing different brands and making sure these (and more extensive) guidelines were met. Presently, we recommend Multigenics from Metagenics which cost $30.60 for a 4-6 week supply. That’s about 75 cents per day.

As always, share this newsletter with your friends and family and be sure to set aside time to assess your specific preventative health care program with us. Our office is amongst the leaders in the field.



Rick H. Morris, D.C., C.C.S.P., Q.M.E., A.B.A.A.H.P.
Brendan M. Murray, D.C., D.A.C.B.S.P., Q.M.E.

1243 7th Street, Suite B, Santa Monica, California 90401
tel: 310-451-5851 | fax:310-458-0051
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