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Guide to Multi Formulations

Published by Priya Khan on

Multivitamin formulations are like snowflakes—no two are exactly alike. In fact, it has become the norm for manufacturers of multivitamins to include any number of value-added ingredients, sometimes a whole kitchen sink’s worth, with little or no justification for their inclusion. Among others, these value-added ingredients include trace amounts of probiotics, enzymes, herbs, greens, and specialty supplements.

While these “value-added” ingredients may make products more marketable, the questions consumers should be asking themselves is if these ingredients really add any value from a health perspective given that—

  • there is no scientific basis for their inclusion, which is why no two multivitamin formulations have the exact same combinations or amounts of these value-added ingredients;
  • including these value-added ingredients does not and cannot magically transform synthetic, lab-made vitamins into the forms they occur in nature;
  • the so-called valued-added ingredients are frequently present in amounts that are far too low to be therapeutically beneficial;
  • there is no evidence that it is safe to combine vitamins and minerals with some of these valued-added ingredients;
  • inclusion of these value-added ingredients allows manufacturers to mislead consumers into believing a product is better than it really is and distract them from recognizing that the vitamins are actually created in a lab using industrial chemicals;
  • the diversity of value-added ingredients used by different companies makes objective comparisons of the different multivitamin products next to impossible.

As if the diversity of ingredients used in multivitamin products are not enough to overwhelm consumers, the indiscriminate marketing jargon used to describe them—“food-based,” “food-sourced,” “raw food,” “raw code,” “whole food,” “food state”—can send even the most savvy consumers running for the woods. The use of these terms is problematic because there is no consensus on what they mean and brands frequently use them interchangeably in ways that create chaos and confusion. While some brands argue that only nutrients concentrated “from” actual foods should be called “whole food,” others use it to describe synthetic vitamins that are fermented “with” yeast and food powders. There are even a few companies that market synthetic vitamins “in” a base of food powders as “whole food.”

Related: Ultimate Guide: How to Pick a Prenatal Vitamin

When we first launched our multivitamins in 2013, we included nutrients from food (e.g. vitamin A from sustainable palm oil), organic foods (e.g. vitamin C from amla), and "fermented" nutrients (synthetic, lab-made vitamin isolates fermented in yeast and/or probiotics) in our formulations. It was quite common at the time for brands to use terms like "whole food," "food-based," "food state," and "raw food" to describe "fermented" vitamins, likely because they helped persuade consumers into [incorrectly] believing that the vitamins were actually from food sources. However, in keeping with our authentic transparency commitment and to ensure that consumers are not misled into purchasing a product that is inconsistent with their understanding of "whole food" vitamins, we chose to ethically label our multivitamin products as containing "Whole-Food + Cultured" nutrients, a decision that we are incredibly proud of to this day.

At NutriGold, we are powered by integrity and this includes doing everything we can to ensure that our products continue to meet the changing needs of our consumers without compromising the industry-defining quality standards that they have come to expect from the NutriGold brand. So, in 2017, when it became practical to incorporate organic food sources of micronutrients into multivitamin formulations, we made the decision to replace the "fermented" or "cultured" nutrients in our original multivitamin formulation with nutrients from authentic, organic, pantry-friendly foods. 

And, to this day, NutriGold multivitamins are formulated using organic ingredients, when possible, non-organic ingredients, when practical, and synthetic isolates only when a bioavailable vegan source is not available, as in the case of the B12 in our multivitamin products. Simply put, the ingredients in our multivitamin products are always non-GMO, always vegan (no animal sources), and organic when possibleExcept for the B12, no synthetically-processed, lab made isolates are used at any point in the production of NutriGold multivitamins.

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