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Navigating the labyrinth of whole food multivitamins

Have you ever wanted to know what whole food multivitamin product is right for you? It might not be the one you think after all. It's easy to get lost in the labyrinth of corporate marketing tactics.

Shop Conscious

on 1 January 2014

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Transcript of Navigating the labyrinth of whole food multivitamins

So a whole food multivitamin is made out of whole foods without any artificial ingredients, right?
It's true! These, and many other major brands use USP isolate vitamins to make what are known as 'whole food' multivitamins
Call 'em FoodState, Probiotic, or RAW, in our opinion they just aren't what is classically known as a 'whole food'
These are 3 of the top selling (yeast cultured USP nutrient) 'whole food' multivitamin brands
Great question! Artificial vitamins (USP chemical isolates) are made from things like petroleum instead of food
Do they really meet the definition of a whole food then?
Well, not exactly..
Navigating the labyrinth
of whole food multivitamins

Like petrochemicals found in chemistry laboratories?
Yep, those would be artificial
Contains no artificial ingredients..
Those are the same cheapo 'artificial' nutrients found in generic cheapo non-whole food multivitamin products
Most popular "whole food" multivitamin products contain what are called
USP synthetic isolate vitamins
If utilizing synthetics to create your whole food vitamins isn't for you, there is a way out of this maze..
Before we get too lost in here, let's answer a simple question: what is a "whole food" anyway?
(Merriam Webster) whole food - a food that is considered healthy because it is grown naturally, has not been processed, and contains no artificial ingredients
You know, they look like this
Chemical USP isolate vitamins would be considered by most to be 'artificial' because they don't come from 'natural' things or
An abused term 'natural' is... Or even the term 'food' in this case..

Anyway... back to vitamin stuff
Even though there is a picture of vanilla plants
on the label, these vanilla flavors come from laboratory petrochemicals, not vanilla beans
This vanilla bean would be a
whole food
and extracting nutrients from it like this would be considered a natural process
so.... what is an 'artificial vitamin', labyrinth-acing smartypants?
chemicals like:
acetone, sulphuric acid, formaldehyde, cyanide, coal tar, heavy metals
, and other nasty non-food, non-natural molecules are used to make most vitamins found in pills
We like to call 'em "
" because these vitamins are produced by major pharmaceutical and chemical companies
These are the major manufacturers of chemical USP vitamins and to whom your money goes when you buy them
mmmm.. multinational corporate pharma-vitamins
Well, I guess that all depends on your perspective doesn't it?

There isn't really a word for "USP vitamins cultured with brewer's yeast" is there?

There isn't really a simple word for "artificial USP vitamins cultured with brewer's yeast to create biotransformed natural
nutrients" is there?

Let's take into perspective 3 popular 'whole food' multivitamin products.
How do they differ?
Excluding any isolated nutrients cultured into yeast, this 1 daily packs
445 milligrams of real food
(the most of the 3)

Many ingredients
are certified organic
but the entire multi is
certified at least 70% organic

Megafood prides themselves on their use of local produce to build their multivitamin products (less energy intensive!)

Megafood does most of its vitamin production in-house (quality control, transparency, and smaller carbon footprint)

At the time of this publishing,
Megafood multivitamin product is
Non-GMO project verified

A vegetarian product but may not be 100% plant-based due to the use of animal exploitive lanolin-based vitamin D

The vitamin K1 in this product is not synthetic (yipee!) but there is no vitamin K2 listed, which arguably is a vital nutrient

yeasts that are not
Bioreal (certified organic) can contain synthetic anti-foaming agents, sodium hydroxide, sulphuric acid, ammonia, or other unnatural chemicals
(Men's 1 daily product)
See that? That word means
brewer's yeast
(a good indicator you are dealing with
cultured USP nutrients)
(Men's 1 daily product)
For advertizing themselves as a "Raw" multivitamin, they sure have very few indicated raw foods (and what part of an artificial chemical is "raw"?)
Excluding the brewer's yeast cultured USP chemical vitamins, the non-whole food enzymes and probiotics, and including the "RAW" calcium, this one packs an

unwhopping 128 milligrams
of natural whole food

This multivitamin is
certified organic and is primarily made of yeast but the
one natural whole food
in the blend
is certified organic
In this multivitamin's accompanying book "The Vitamin Code" it states that this vitamin is produced by a third party called "Grow Company"

At the time of this publishing, Vitamin Code RAW One for Men
is Non-GMO project verified

Garden of Life has admitted to the use of animal exploitive wool-lanolin D3 instead of the vegetarian alternative D3 (from lichen)

The vitamin K in this product does not indicate it is from food and therefore is most likely a synthetic source. This product is also lacking any listing of the vital K2 nutrient

yeasts that are not
Bioreal (certified organic) can contain synthetic anti-foaming agents, sodium hydroxide, sulphuric acid, ammonia, or other unnatural chemicals
Organic Amla Berry (Indian Gooseberry) is an excellent food but is more energy intensive to import than locally grown agriculture
(Men's 1 daily product)
The previous 2 brands have chosen
to use hydrogenated corn syrup-based vitamin C (ascorbic acid) while this one chooses to do so
It's difficult to exclude the brewer's yeast cultured USP nutrients in this formula because the culturing medium (may?) contain foods like soy, orange & lemon peel, carrot and alfalfa powder. If we exclude those for fairness, this 1 daily
schleps around 123 milligrams
of natural whole food (and that's being gracious by counting extracts as food)

This product is certified to be

at least 70% organic

The produce listed on the label is sourced from at least 3 different continents. Much more energy intensive than locally grown agriculture

New Chapter doesn't produce their multivitamins in-house but uses an undisclosed 3rd party to create these products (less transparency, larger carbon footprint)

At the time of this publishing,
all of
New Chapter multivitamins
are Non-GMO project verified

A vegetarian product but most likely not 100% plant-based due to the use of animal exploitive wool-lanolin D3

This product does not indicate the K1 is cultured with yeast and is most likely from a synthetic non-food source. However, it
does list
and contain the vital K2 nutrient

This product is able to carry the
lofty organic certification
because it
utilize Bioreal certified organic brewer's yeast. These eco-friendly yeasts don't have to depend on caustic chemicals for their production
(Don't worry, this isn't going to be
like the labyrinth in that movie
The Shining
(Watch out for scary minotaur dudes though)
(So maybe this is more like Pan's Labyrinth?)
(Sure, a story of magical realism where dead toxic chemicals can be magically transformed into a whole, living food)
Don't get us wrong, these multivitamin products are pretty dang sweet.

Biotransformation with yeast is a real thing and decreases the likelihood those toxic chemicals found in USP's will find their way into your body
(just wish it did the same for the environment)

Waaaaaay better than uncultured run-of-the-mill synthetic vitamin products (you wanna avoid those altogether).
we just need better language to describe them

like 'yeast-complexed synthetics
whole foods' or something catchy like that
you are here
Maybe this is more like the labyrinth from Jim Henson's movie The Labryinth?
Now keep in mind, we don't receive any money from product manufacturers. So we are free and clear of any financial bias.

(We are just really into preserving the
natural products)
There is a class of synthetic-free whole food vitamin products that would love your attention
Neat products like these offer:
So maybe this IS like Jim Henson's Labyrinth!
Where you're Sarah..

And corporate marketing tactics
are Jareth, the Goblin King
(Pretty sure that's his middle name)
And your motley crew of Shop Conscious friends are by your side to remind you...
Goblin King marketing tactics!...
Well, not exactly
(played by David Awesome Bowie)
(Men's 1 daily product)
(Men's 1 daily product)
Owned by:
Riverside Private Equity
Owned by:
Permira Private Equity
Owned by:
Procter & Gamble
synthetic free
100% organic
no GMOs
100% plant-based
solvent and petrochemical-free
fermented (cultured) nutrient
natural multivitamins
(Jennifer Connelly)
Full transcript