May 17, 2011

Choices, Choices, Choices

Which Vitamins to Buy?When it comes to choosing which vitamins to take, it is pretty confusing out there. Our first choice is where we buy our vitamins. We can go to the drug store, the health food store, buying clubs like Costco or through direct sales/internet where they are delivered to our homes. After we make that choice, there are dozens of the same type of vitamins to choose from. What criteria should we use? Most people think price. But when it comes to quality, price is not the standard to go by.

Most people do not realize that there are three main ways of manufacturing vitamins on the market. So to the untrained eye, these vitamins all look the same except for the price point. So here are some pointers to help you choose more wisely.

Typically if you are shopping in a drug store or some buying clubs, you are going to find the synthetic type (test tube type) of vitamins.

Features of Synthetic Vitamins:

  • Use man-made, inorganic substances, chemically derived, often petroleum-based products
  • Often contain sugar & unnatural flavours, colours, fillers, binders, preservatives, sweeteners
  • Chemical, high-heat or high-pressure processing destroys active ingredients & enzymes
  • Very poor dissolve-ability
  • Very poor bio-availability
  • Do not build long-term health
  • May act as a stimulant (temporarily feel ‘better’)
  • May have negative side effects in some people
  • Unrecognized by body, not found in nature, ‘unnatural’ to self

When vitamins are made synthetically, it costs very little and that is passed along to the consumer. But when you think about it, are you really saving money when the money you just spent is not being utilized in your body? To me that is a waste of money.

If you are shopping in a typical health food store and some direct sales companies, you are going to find natural isolates using the extraction method.

Features of Extracted Vitamins:

  • Isolated nutrient; no co-factors present; poorly balanced formula
  • ‘Natural’ sourced – only a small portion must be natural, according to government labeling regulations
  • May contain questionable fillers, binders, etc.
  • Processing methods questionable; active ingredients & enzymes often destroyed
  • Often poor dissolve-ability
  • Often poor to fair bio-availability
  • Better than synthetics, but do not build true long-term health
  • Portions recognizable by body but have to steal co-factors from your body for true absorption; so gives to you and steals from you.

When you are buying the extracted version, it is a toss-up whether you are getting ahead or not as it depends on how much your body needs to “spend” in order to get the extracted vitamin metabolized. So the potential for losing money is there if your body does not have adequate stores of nutrients to help with the processing of the extracted version.

If you are shopping through some direct sales companies or getting your vitamins from a practitioner of some kind, then you are probably getting whole food, nutrient dense concentrates.

Features of Whole Food, Nutrient Dense Concentrates:

  • Nature’s balance; high potency; nature’s co-factors present
  • High quality, pure, organically sourced raw materials
  • Low heat or no heat, low pressure processing ensures active ingredients and high enzymatic activity
  • No harsh binders, fillers
  • No refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colours, flavours
  • Ideal, effective dissolve-ability, available when & where needed
  • Ideal, effective bio-availability, easily utilized by cells
  • Body recognizes as ‘belonging to self’ or ‘natural’, highly usable
  • Builds long-term health by supporting body’s innate wisdom

When you compare whole food concentrates with real food, you see that you save money while being nourished. For example, one of my Vitamin C tablets costs me 22 cents and it is equal to my buying 7 and half oranges. My body feels the difference when I nourish it properly which is my biggest saving.  Since the food values have decreased due to food becoming a business and the soils being depleted, my body loves the whole food nutrient dense concentrates to supplement what I am missing from my diet.

Bottom line; when it comes to choosing your vitamins, you get what you pay for. If you are interested in exploring this further, I have a list of scientific questions that will help you confirm whether or not you are getting your money’s worth when buying vitamins. Contact me by emailing and I will send you this list.

I’d love to hear from you or answer any questions.

To your good health!

Charlene Day

About the author 


I’m a Canadian, gluten-free, tai chi loving, great-grandmother. I live in Ontario and love helping people get healthy again.   I use all the experience I have gained in the almost 5 decades to help you live a life full of vitality with great clarity and focus.

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