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Yours in Health: What’s in my vitamins, anyway?

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By Dr. Andrea Wick
EBS Health Columnist

Many Americans take vitamins daily to supplement any deficiencies they might have. It is difficult to get the recommended daily amount of nutrients and vitamins from our diets. This is especially true for vegetarians and vegans, for whom it can be difficult to get enough B12 and protein, which can negatively affect their health.

From my personal research, I am astounded by the ingredients in certain readily available supplement. Stores such as Costco, Walgreens, CVS, GNC, and Target all sell supplements that will most likely not be good for you because of added preservatives, or because the supplement does not even contain the main ingredient it advertises itself as.

For example, last week at Target I looked at Spring Valley’s calcium, magnesium, and zinc supplements. I cringed at the filler ingredients listed on the label: soy, polysorbate 80, mineral oil, and many more. Also, the magnesium was not pure magnesium, but magnesium oxide, which is not easily absorbed by our bodies. Magnesium oxide is used for constipation, but not for sleep, muscle cramping, or cardiovascular health, which is why most people take magnesium.

Many of these supplement brands also incorporate wheat and corn, including a lot of adult and children gummy vitamins. Corn is one of the most toxic grains in the U.S. because of the amount of pesticides used to grow it.

When shopping for supplements and vitamins, don’t let the label or name fool you. Nature Made Prenatal was even worse than the Spring Valley brand because it had corn, wheat, soy, and polyethelene glycol, which is a petroleum derivative.

A lot of people take vitamin B12 supplements. Your best bet is to get a B supplement that has methylcobalamin in it versus cyanocobalamin. The methyl version of a supplement makes it more absorbable. Methylcobalamin is the naturally occurring form of B12 versus the synthetic cyanocobalamin.

I also looked at the back of a Centrum Silver bottle and saw that the supplement contained cornstarch, aluminum, and a number of toxic food dyes. This wasn’t surprising to me after I read in the small print: it is made by Pfizer, a corporation that specializes in pharmaceuticals, not supplements.

At my practice, I am very selective about what supplements I carry in my office. I use brands that are typically for health physicians and practitioners only, like Optimal Health, Nutri-West, Apex Energetics, Standard Process and homeopathic remedies. Not only am I picky about the brands I carry, but I keep myself educated about them because I have carried brands in the past that changed their ingredients.

All of this said, not everyone needs a multivitamin. It’s better for a lot of people to take a specific vitamin that they tend to be more deficient in. Most Americans could benefit from Vitamin D with K2, high quality fish oil or Omega-3 oil, and magnesium (glycinate, taurate or citrate).

Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors. Her practice, Healing Hands Chiropractic, is located in the Meadow Village Center. Visit to learn more.

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