Why I Quit Taking Multivitamins
I was shocked by what I found out regarding multivitamins, and you might be, too. Essentially, it turns out that taking multivitamins may not be so smart after all.
What I’ve learned has permanently changed the way I approach my nutrition. I uncovered some realities that I wish I hadn’t (which I tell you about in this article), but I’m also pleased to share that I discovered some very useful information that isn’t exactly readily available, and which you’ll probably very much appreciate. I’ll also tell you about that here.
Maybe you’re like me – and about half of all Americans, for that matter – and you’ve always looked to optimize your health by supplementing with a daily multivitamin. Why wouldn’t we, it’s what we’ve been taught since we were kids, right?
But then I began doing research. And that’s when it all came unraveled.
The Bad News About Multivitamins
The first thing I discovered was that multivitamins simply were not offering me any nutritional benefit. They weren’t. I didn’t feel better. I didn’t look better. I didn’t sleep better. I didn’t think better. None of it. I felt the same, whether I took multivitamins or not.
That was my first discovery. Looking back, though this was surprising at the time, it seems like a minor discovery in comparison to the rest. I can tell you – it gets worse than that; much worse. In fact, what I found convinced me to quit multivitamins completely, forever, and search for something else entirely.
For me, my history with multivitamins began several years ago, when I realized one day that, despite my youthful outlook, I was in fact not getting any younger. Couple that with my general feeling of not having the energy I once did, and my awareness of the fact that I was not getting all the vitamins my body needed became a harsh reality to me.
The fact was, I needed to make a greater investment in my health, and I needed to quickly feel the effects. I also knew it needed to be something I could easily work into my fast-paced lifestyle. I know there are people who have the luxury of making the time for their diet, but my life just isn’t that way, so I confidently proceeded with what I thought would be the best solution: multivitamin pills.
That confidence was short lived. If you’ve ever taken multivitamins, you may have experienced the same thing I did: nothing. No improvement. No noticeable increase in energy, and definitely no return to the vigor of my youth.
But, despite not recognizing any change in how I felt, I continued taking multivitamins for years, as I was unsure of any other alternatives and I remained hopeful that I might eventually see, or more importantly feel a difference.
But that difference never came. It just never did.
I never felt an increase in energy, nor did I feel I was building stronger immunity to pesky illnesses. I didn’t even notice an improvement in something simple like better skin, let alone something more complex like greater memory recall. After all that time, it was still producing nothing.
The Worst News About Multivitamins
Now, the absence of any positive effects from multivitamins was disappointing enough, but the real eye-opening experience came when I discovered some truly unsettling realities about the multivitamin industry.
For instance, did you know that roughly 90% of vitamins – including many labeled as “natural” – are actually synthetic?! Really. Most vitamin supplements are just isolated chemical vitamins and minerals, pressed together into a pill in a factory. These synthetic minerals are derived from rocks such as limestone, coral, oyster shell, sand, and chalk. Sounds healthy, right? No, not exactly.
The chemicals they use to create multivitamins are literally trucked in from chemical manufacturers. There are only a few of them as well. Huge refineries belching clouds of fumes and pumping any number of chemicals though literally miles of pipes and conduits to create isolated chemicals used as base ingredients and numerous different applications.
Once delivered to the vitamin manufacturers, many of these chemicals are so dangerous and even toxic that factory employees may be required to wear protective masks and clothing just to work in the same area! Somehow these chemicals were being used in the products that I thought were my pathway to better health.
Another surprise is that almost all vitamin brands come from only a handful of pharmaceutical companies. Packaged differently, of course, for marketing purposes; but from the same five, sizeable companies! Five massive corporations comprising a $12 Billion industry.
(As a sidenote, I have chosen not to name any of these companies by name because they tend to be very aggressive with lawsuits. I don’t have armies of lawyers on staff and I don’t really have the time to spend fighting one — in fact the thought of that is kind of terrifying — so I have decided to keep my comments at a general level, but if you research it, you’ll figure out who is doing what.)
It was staggering. But then it actually got worse! Around the same time I was conducting my research, news broke all over the country that many vitamin and herbal companies, the biggest brands and even the ones claiming “all natural” on their packaging, were selling multivitamins and supplements with only trace levels of the featured ingredients and instead almost entirely made of useless fillers! (Do you remember hearing this news? Insane!)
This was NOT what I was expecting to uncover. This couldn’t be true! What about all the supposed research they talk about in their ads? What about all the millions of people taking them every day? I was beginning to wonder if I was some kind of paranoid conspiracy kook, but these weren’t rumors, they were facts – published, verified, undisputed facts.
How could so many people be taking these (at best) useless and (at worst) toxic pills, expecting some kind of energy boost, healthier life or any other positive benefit? I can only guess it was because millions of people were under the same untested assumption that I had been – that multivitamins are made to help your body operate better, and so they take them, despite the realities of very questionable ingredients and the difficult reality that they don’t really work.
Cleanses, MLMs & Other Alternatives That Also Don’t Work
So now what?
I was now several years older and still just as busy, so I was in even more need of something I could rely on. I needed a solution. I needed something that could help me feel better. Something that could hopefully give me a better shot at living more comfortably and in decent health. I needed something that was easy to use and quick, because I don’t have a lot of time most days. I needed something that was actually nutritious. I needed something that gave me results that I could feel (though, not necessarily immediately — I’ve learned that the human body rarely turns on a dime — but in a reasonable amount of time). So I began diving into some other possibilities. I got lucky — or maybe, rather, my extensive efforts paid off — and I found the solution I needed. But not without a few more bumps in the road.
As I began looking further, I tried a few other common solutions. And although they weren’t chemicals, substitutes, or contaminants, they posed some pretty big problems of their own and, ultimately, didn’t offer the health benefits I was searching for, either.
Here are a few I came across, what I learned about them, and why they didn’t work for me:
Cleanses. Many people do cleanses every year. I’ve had family members, coworkers, and friends all do them. So, I turned my attention to cleanses. After all, celebrities rave about them, and even some fitness trainers promote them. Maybe all this time I had been missing out on something.
Some cleanses aim to help lose weight or treat diseases, and they all claim the benefit of helping get rid of “built-up toxins” in the body. Which would be great … if you actually had a build-up of toxins … which you probably don’t. Unless you are experiencing extreme symptoms of muscle spasms or breathing difficulties, then you are like the rest of us who just aren’t walking around with a high density of heavy metals and pesticides coursing through us. (There is an abundance of sound scientific research supporting the fact that your body is much better and ridding itself of toxins than the marketers of these cleanses would want you to know about.)
And if you examine the ingredients of these “cleansing” drinks, you’ll find the majority of them are essentially sugar-water. And you don’t need to see your nutritionist to determine that sugary drinks aren’t going to remove the allegedly present pesticides from your body.
To be fair, you may in fact lose some weight on cleanses, as they claim; but, that’s because you end up consuming a fraction of the calories you would otherwise eat. It’s a short term fix that is neither healthy nor sustainable. Many people also describe feeling renewed vigor and energy on cleanses too. This is often the result of either the included stimulants, or worse, a body-induced sense of euphoria resulting from natural, defensive chemical reactions within your body, designed to cope with the calorie or (ironically) nutrient deprivation, imposed by the cleanse. This sense of exhilaration proves to be short lived, of course, and is ultimately a dangerous condition.
My experience while on a cleanse? I was hungry A LOT. I was cranky A LOT. And (pardon the personal talk), I needed to go to the bathroom A LOT. All I could think about was food and sleeping – and though I did lose a few pounds, I gained them right back within only a couple days.
Bottom line: Cleanses proved to be a hoax. I don’t recommend them.
MLMs. You’ve probably seen them offering their latest miracle health potion, or maybe even been invited by a friend to a “home party” to come learn about “something cool” they’re into now. Multi-Level Marketing companies (MLM’s) are everywhere these days and I have yet to find one I trust with my health.
Multi-level marketing companies, sometimes referred to as “pyramid schemes,” are often a quick way to generate money for opportunity-driven people by marketing the “latest, breakthrough in health” or “energy” drinks. The problem is that an MLM or “pyramid” culture is set up to make quick revenue, not produce a high-quality product. In fact, more often than not, when pressed to substantiate claims of superior health benefits or even basic scientific principles behind the product, MLM’s offer only vague references to exotic berries, roots, or some never before heard of “cellular enzyme” or some such thing.
Essentially, MLM’s use a structure where a person makes money by recruiting people to work below them, not necessarily by selling an exceptional product. When the company profits from internal sales rather than outside sales, you can be sure the product they are selling probably aren’t that good. Additionally, when a company boasts that their magic potion is “a healthy alternative to energy drinks,” but it’s also got 80 mg of caffeine, you can quickly deduce that caffeine might just be where the “energy” is coming from, not vitamins.
Bottom line: MLM’s are yet another hoax. Be wary.
Food. The obvious solution for most of us would be to get all our essential vitamins and minerals in the way our bodies were designed – through actual food. Not meal replacement drinks like SlimFast or Ensure, and not even protein drinks or vitamin waters – but actual food. You know, “eat your vegetables!” Seems reasonable, but believe it or not, even this option has three pretty major and insurmountable problems (maybe more, but three that I kept bumping into).
First, believe it or not, the very nutrients you are looking for in your fruits and veggies are actually compromised from the very beginning, due to deficiencies in the soil. It’s not something you’d expect, but our soils have become so over-farmed that much of them simply don’t produce the nutrients they did a century ago. It’s not the plants’ fault; they just can’t pull anything more from the dirt. Then, out of the deficient soil, the fruits and vegetables are harvested prematurely, coated with waxes, shipped an average of 1,500 miles, and finally made available to you at your local supermarket. If you were wondering why you’re not enjoying the benefits you’d expect from your daily servings of fruits and veggies, now you know why. How frustrating is that?
Secondly, eating healthy can unfortunately be expensive, when compared to consuming cheap, processed food. Ever compare the cost of a delicious home made salad made with spinach, berries and almonds (or any other combination of nature’s best) to the cost of a couple of fast food cheeseburgers? Sure, a cheeseburger is not exactly a health selection, but isn’t that the kind of choice that keeps tripping you up when it’s time to eat?
And thirdly, eating healthy can be time consuming. This is the real deal breaker for me. The pace of life in today’s world is unrelenting, and the average individual most likely doesn’t have time to clean, cut, chop, blend/steam/sauté/bake and consume nine servings of organic fruits and vegetables every day. I can count on one hand the number of days I’ve actually had the time to pull off the nine servings recommendation. Most days, that’s virtually impossible. Plus sometimes I’m just too tired to go through all the prep. I can’t do it every day. Can you? If you’re like me, you probably don’t.
There Must Be Something that Works
So food hasn’t proven to be the answer either. But in today’s world, with so much technology, knowledge and ingenuity, I knew there had to be something to answer the call for optimizing nutrition. And I think I’ve found it.
During my search, I noted in my mind – and on paper – what I needed to find. Here is what I determined. The product must be:
- Whole Food, as Organic as Possible.
- Simple to Use.
- Available without Membership (because I don’t want to obligated by an MLM).
- Tasty, or at the very least not gross tasting. (I consider this last one optional, because sometimes healthy stuff doesn’t taste great – lima beans, anyone? – so I’m willing to bend a little on this if I have to, but luckily I found I don’t have to!)
Determined to find a solution, and uncompromising on the criteria I’d established, I finally came across an answer – and it’s an answer I’m pretty excited about. A little over a year ago I stumbled on a little company out of Utah that is dedicated to the philosophy and practice of whole-food nutrition.
The Answer: Where and How I Found It
The company is called Activz (apparently it’s pronounced like “actives”), and the product that really grabbed my attention was their Activz Complete.
Complete is obviously named “Complete” because it offers the full nutritional spectrum of 9 servings of fruits and vegetables. Complete isn’t made of synthetics, chemicals, or fillers – not a single one, seriously. No tanker trucks, gas masks or protective clothing needed to make this one. (I know this because I personally grilled the owner and CEO.) Instead, it’s made from some of Nature’s most potent power foods like broccoli sprout, elderberry, turmeric, marigold and many others giving you a super spectrum of nutrients to give your body the natural support it so badly needs! And you get all the benefits with the simple preparation of mixing a scoop into your favorite drink.
While looking into the company, I found that the people behind the scenes at Activz are refreshingly passionate about creating a healthy option for nutrition, because it’s personal to them. I actually had the opportunity to meet and speak with Frank Davis, the CEO of Activz. (Admittedly, I went further than most would on this, but after all this time chasing my “white whale” of nutrition, I didn’t want to just fall for some fancy marketing. I felt I needed to stay true to my objective.). Frank (he insists you not call him Mr. Davis) explained that he had suffered from chronic fatigue for many years, and decided to try a whole-foods diet to see if it would help him. Within 30 days of eating right he felt dramatically better, and from that moment on he dedicated his time and resources to finding a way to simplify the intake of whole foods. Now he shares his work with the public.
Here’s an exact quote I wrote down while we were talking: “I was unable to find what I wanted in a whole-food concentrate, so I created my own. Activz was born out of my stubborn refusal to compromise on my nutrition because my health depended on it!” This was clearly a guy who personally knew the problem I was trying to solve.
Of course, you don’t have to be suffering from health problems to benefit from Activz Complete. I wasn’t. Probably like you, I simply wanted to find the most effective way to get the highest quality of vitamins and minerals from natural sources, at a price that wouldn’t destroy my bank account. That’s why I love Complete.
Sometimes finding an answer to a problem can take a long time and a lot of work. It certainly did in my case; but once you find the answer, it all becomes worth it. Maybe down the road science will come up with some super-pill that works as well as eating fruits and veggies all day, but until then, I’m pretty happy with my Complete.
The Simple Solution
I drink it every morning. Scoop, mix, drink, done. I feel more energy (I’ve really noticed a difference!), and it’s not some caffeine-induced high – it’s constant, ongoing energy, which is really nice. I also feel much more confident. It’s nice that every day, no matter what I eat or don’t eat, I feel confident that I have the nutrition I need. I know it doesn’t mean that I can just eat pizza and ice cream and assume I’ll be healthy. Of course not! I wouldn’t do that anyway. I want to be healthy, so I make the effort; but life doesn’t make that easy, as I’ve explained. A daily shot of Complete changes that.
Oh, and I guess it’s worth noting that it actually tastes really good too. It comes in “Tropical Fruit” flavor, which to me tastes like a pineapple/peach/apple/banana smoothie. It DOES NOT taste like lima beans, thank goodness!
Activz Complete can be found right on their website (www.activz.com) There’s no membership needed, because it’s not an MLM. And to make things even easier, you can now subscribe to receive a monthly container of 30 servings of Complete for only $59.99 a month. (This is really cool. They just started offering this, and I love it. They let you cancel or pause the subscription at any time. This makes it so nice not having to run out to get more or having to buy several all at once. (In case you’re wondering, I don’t get any affiliate money from this – I just want to share it for all the reasons I’ve talked about.)
So, goodbye, multivitamins. So long, synthetics and chemical fillers. Adios, MLM “energy drinks.” Hit the road, cleanses. I’ve found the road I was looking for: the nutrients of nine servings of fruits and vegetables, made from organic whole food, in a simple powder I can add to my favorite drink, at a reasonable cost. Finally.