The New York Times asks: Are multivitamins worthwhile?

We were interested to see a short Q and A today in our hometown newspaper, The New York Times. The subject was “micronutrients,” and the question was specifically about multivitamins:

Q. A doctor told me that you don’t need daily vitamin supplements if you eat right, and that they don’t dissolve anyway. Is he correct?

The NYT answer: The doctor is probably not correct. The reality is, very many people do not have the varied smorgasbord of optimum nutrients in their diet that represents the nutritional ideal. One example cited in the reply: carotenoids, important in preventing vision-destroying macular degeneration, are found in sufficient quantities only in a few leafy green vegetables like spinach and collards that most Americans do not consume with sufficient regularity.

As for whether multivitamins dissolve: current standards of quality control testing for multivitamins do generally insure that micronutrients reach the small intestine, where they can be effectively absorbed.

We would add that factors like age and health status may also affect the absorption of nutrients. See our blog posts about gastrointestinal health for tips on subjects such as additional B vitamin requirements as you get older; or use of supplements like glutamine for poor absorption of nutrients in the gut.

Read the NYT Q and A at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/science/are-daily-nutrient-supplements-necessary.html?src=recg

See the NYBC website for an extensive set of high quality multivitamins, including SuperNutrition, Douglas Labs, and Jarrow products:
http://nybcsecure.org/index.php?cPath=50

NYBC also stocks the Jarrow carotenoid supplement:

Carotenall

Carotenoid complex: a medley of vegetable sources for antioxidant protection

Carotenoid compounds derived from vegetable sources have been the subject of much research for their power as antioxidants with potential health benefits. For example, a 2006 study in Canada among people with HIV showed an improved survival among those using a high dose of beta carotene in the form of a mixed carotenoid complex compared to those using a multivitamin alone (Eur J Clin Nutr, 2006;60:1266-1276).

NYBC currently stocks Jarrow’s CarotenALL, which includes a wide range of carotenoid compounds including alpha and beta carotene, lutein, lycopene, etc., derived from natural vegetable sources including broccoli, spinach, tomato, etc.

The sources of carotenoids in this supplement include three distinct forms of sea algae, palm oil, tomatoes, marigolds, among others. Many of the carotenoid forms are patented. The amounts of both lutein and lycopene are identical to amounts used successfully in research studies. Astaxanthin is considered by some to be the most potent carotenoid currently researched. It is supplied in its correct natural form derived from Hawaiian sea microalgae at a 2 mg dose. There are also substantial amounts of other patented natural mixed carotenoids. Finally, we have included 5 mg of sulforaphane, not a carotenoid, but an extremely potent stimulator of the Phase II detoxification system as well as an initiator of several other antioxidant enzymes, making it one of the most potent free-radical neutralizers yet studied. New varieties of carotenoids are constantly being discovered, so this should NOT replace a diet rich in colorful foods, but to supplement your diet. Eat your fruits and vegetables–and lots of them!

Specifically, each softgel contains:

Vitamin A as CaroCare beta carotene . . . . . . . .2,583 IU
(beta carotene – 1.43 mg and alpha carotene – 0.7 mg)
Lutein (marigold extract) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 mg
Zeaxanthin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 mg
Lycopene (from GMO-free tomatoes) . . . . . . . . . . .10 mg
Phytoene (from GMO-free tomatoes) . . . . . . . . . . …1 mg
Phytofluene (from GMO-free tomatoes) . . . . . . . . . . 1 mg
Astaxanthin (Haematococcus pluvialis) . . . . . . . . .500 mcg
Gamma tocopherol. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 mg