To stay healthy, it is common for people to take a daily multivitamin. You can find many, many different brands of multivitamins nowadays at any grocery store, health store, convenience store, or the like. Most people probably like that the cost of their multivitamins is usually fairly low. For example, a generic multivitamin at Target costs $4.12, Walgreens $11.49, and at King Soopers $5.92.
While the lower price may seem like a great deal for a multivitamin, unfortunately you are probably not receiving the most benefit from them. This is because usually the less expensive multivitamins are not bio-available. Bio-availability means how well your body can actually absorb and utilize the nutrients. There are two processes that assist in making nutrients more accessible for your body to absorb (or more bio-available). The two processes are:
- Methylation (more specifically methylated B vitamins)
- Chelation (more specifically chelated minerals)
To process B vitamins, your body has to undergo five processes or steps to make the B vitamins ready for your body to use. Methylated B vitamins have already undergone those five processes and are already “activated” and available for your body to absorb and utilize. Methylation essentially is a shortcut for your B vitamins. To know you are getting the most out of your B vitamins, look for:
- Vitamin B6 as 5′-phosphate
- Folate as 5-MTHF
- Vitamin B12 as Methylcobalamin
Chelation is a similar process to methylation in that it helps make minerals more bio-available for your body to absorb more effectively and efficiently. A chelated mineral is one that is bound to an amino acid. Minerals that bind to other compounds are: magnesium, copper, chromium, and zinc for example. To know you are getting the most benefit out of your minerals, look for:
- Magnesium diglycinate
- Other minerals in a glycinate chelate form
In the Medicinal Store here at The Healing Gardens, you can find our multivitamin that has both methylated B vitamins and chelated minerals. We want you to be getting the most benefit out of your supplements to support your health!
DR. FIELDS RESOUCES:
Research & Informational Websites
Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), NIH
The ODS supports research and disseminates research results in the area of dietary supplements. It produces The International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (IBIDS) database, which provides access to bibliographic citations and abstracts from published, international, and scientific literature on dietary supplements. Users can choose to search the Full IBIDS Database, a subset of Consumer Citations Only or Peer Reviewed Citations Only. Go to dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov and select “Health Information.”
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
NCCAM, as part of the NIH, maintains a free website that provides health information, research, clinical trials, training opportunities and information about complementary and alternative therapies. You can subscribe on-line for a free “CAM at the NIH” quarterly newsletter.
CAM on PubMed
CAM on PubMed, a database on the Web developed jointly by NCCAM and the National Library of Medicine, offers citations to (and in most cases, abstracts of) articles in scientifically based, peer- reviewed journals on complementary and alternative medicine. It contains 220,000 citations, has links to full text, and allows searchers to limit retrievals by publication type. Look for the Alerts and Advisories, treatment information, resources, links to other organizations (FDA, AHRQ, ODS etc.).
The Cochrane Library
The Cochrane Library is a collection of science-based reviews from the Cochrane Collaboration, an international nonprofit organization that seeks to provide “up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of health care.” Abstracts of these reviews can be read on the Web without charge.
The Canadian government regulates natural health products in Canada licensing products with proof of safety and efficacy. This is a very helpful site – it lists products licensed in Canada and has helpful monographs.
Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University
Fantastic resource for learning the latest on vitamins, minerals and some herbs. Reliable, current and free to use. If you click on Micronutrient Information Center, a wealth of information is right at your fingertips. If you click under Disease Index, you can look up which supplements might be beneficial for a specific health condition.
The Environmental Working Group
This is my go to website for environmental information. This is the group that brings us the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen list of foods each year based upon pesticide residue. Lots of information and tips for reducing exposure to endocrine disruptors in your skin care products, cookware, etc. Great organization.
Diet Information Websites
The Nutrition Source – Harvard School of Public Health
This is a great website for keeping up-to-date with nutritional science. The Nutrition A to Z and the Nutrition in the News sections are filled with great information.
David Mendosa, Glycemic Index/Load
A very handy website for learning all about glycemic load and glycemic index. There are hundreds of foods that are listed and multiple resources, as well. Very useful if you have diabetes, insulin resistance or are trying to manage your weight.
Oldways (A Mediterranean Diet)
I love this website. It has great information about the Mediterranean diet, as well as traditional food pyramids. Oldways is the widely-respected non-profit “food issues think tank” credited with successfully translating the complex details of nutrition science into the familiar language of food. It is best known for developing consumer-friendly health-promotion tools, including the well-known Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.
Blue Ocean Institute
Great website to learn about how to make healthy and sustainable seafood choices.
DASH diet handout (PDF)
National Institutes of Health – learn to manage your blood pressure naturally.
Health Calculators on the Web
Vitamin D Calculator
A vitamin D calculator is provided by the Norwegian Institute for Research. A little complex. Note: It asks you for the latitude of your city. Use this tool to find the latitude of a US city near you.
Heart Health Calculator
This is a risk assessment tool for estimating 10-year risk of myocardial infarction and coronary death.
This calculator gives an approximate prediction of the risk of hip fracture over the next 5 years for postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79.
This group reports the results of independent quality testing on dietary supplements. It provides very useful information for the consumer not only on quality testing but also on product recalls, FDA warnings, etc.
A journal that reports both science-based and traditional information on the uses of botanical medicines.
Provides hyperlinked access to the scientific data underlying the use of herbs for health. It is an impartial, evidence-based information resource for professionals, researchers, and general public.
Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine
Founded in 1994 by Dr. Andrew Weil, the Program in Integrative Medicine’s mission is to lead the transformation of healthcare by creating, educating, and actively supporting a community of professionals who embody the philosophy and practice of Integrative Medicine.
A leading online resource for healthy living based on an integrative medicine philosophy. DrWeil.com has helped millions of consumers and health professionals stay abreast of news and information.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
Frequently updated scientifically based information on natural medicines. Excellent for clinicians.
This is an independent collaboration of international clinicians and researchers who created a database which can be searched by CAM subject or by medical condition. Quality of evidence is graded for each supplement. (Individual subscriber $199/year)