Are Multivitamins Dead? Part 2 by Dr. Chaney

by | May 8, 2012 | Lifestyle | 0 comments


Subject: Tips From The Professor: Are Multivitamins Dead? – Part 2


Tips From The Professor: Are Multivitamins Dead? – Part 2

In last week’s “Tips From The Professor” I was critiquing

the November 2010 article in Prevention Magazine titled

“Should You Kick the Multivitamin Habit?”


I made the following points:


1) It is very difficult to prove that any intervention

is beneficial in an essentially healthy population.


As an example I discussed the recent study showing that

you cannot even demonstrate a benefit from statin drugs

in a healthy population with elevated cholesterol.


2)  If you wish to demonstrate the effectiveness of an

intervention, you need to focus on those individuals

who are actually at risk.


And I gave examples of studies that show supplementation

does make a difference in populations who are at risk.


This week I would like to continue my discussion by

making several more observations:


3) Not all multivitamins are the same.


Shaklee is unique in the food supplement industry in that they

design their supplements based on solid science, employ

pharmaceutical grade quality control standards and conduct

clinical studies to prove the effectiveness of their supplements.


For example, Shaklee designed their multivitamin Vita-

Lea and their calcium supplements based on the research

of Dr. Paul Saltman, who studied the micronutrient

composition needed to optimize the utilization of

calcium for bone formation. And an independent clinical

study showed that the calcium in Vita-Lea was twice as

effective as a calcium carbonate supplement at

decreasing bone loss in postmenopausal women (JAMA,

244: 1915, 1980).


Similarly, an independent clinical study showed that

Shaklee’s Vita-Lea improved immune response in older

healthy adults (J Am Coll Nutr, 17: 511, 1998).


My perspective is that when interpreting studies of

multivitamin usage in the general population it is

important to remember that most of those multivitamins

have never been tested to see if they actually work!


4) Multivitamins are good, but you can do better.


This is one area where I agree with the basic premise

of the Prevention article.


Multivitamins are the most economical form of

supplementation, but based on what we know today they

are clearly not the optimal form of supplementation.


Perhaps the clearest evidence of that is the Landmark study

conducted by Dr. Gladys Block of UC Berkeley (Nutrition J,

6: 1-11, 2007).


She compared people who had followed a comprehensive

program of supplementation using the Shaklee

supplements for 20 years or more with people who just

used multivitamins or used no supplementation.


The people who used the Shaklee supplements had

significantly better health than the multivitamin users

and the non-supplement users.


In fact the multivitamin users fared no better than the

non-supplement users – which is to be expected because

the study was conducted in a healthy population.


Shaklee followed up by combining the key nutrients that

the Shaklee subjects were using in the Landmark study

into a supplement called Vitalizer, which represents

the latest in nutritional science.


Let me give you some examples:


Prevention made the point that one major problem with

multivitamins is that they often contain nutrients “in

isolation”. For example, they quote Dr. Neuhouser as

saying “The vitamin C in a multivitamin is likely just

not as effective as the vitamin C in a citrus fruit,

where it is surrounded by fiber and flavonoids and



I agree with this assessment – although the interaction

of vitamin C with flavonoids and carotenoids is much

stronger than its interaction with fiber.


In Vitalizer the vitamin C is surrounded by flavonoids

and carotenoids – and if you add Cinch you’ll get fiber

as well.


Prevention recommended omega-3 fatty acids. Vitalizer

contains the 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids that the NIH

recommends for healthy adults. If you have health challenges

you can get more omega-3 fatty acids from Shaklee’s



Prevention recommended 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium from

food and supplements. The Vita-Lea in Vitalizer

contains 450 mg of calcium. When you add that to the

500-600 mg of calcium that most Americans get from

their diet you are right on target.


I personally think that the Prevention recommendation

is a bit low for post-menopausal women and men over 50,

but Shaklee has calcium supplements that you can use to

increase calcium intake to the 1,500-2,000 mg that some

experts recommend.


Prevention recommended 800-1,000 IU of vitamin D. I

personally think that is a bit low, but Vitalizer alone

provides 1,000-1,200 IU of vitamin D3 (depending on

which Vitalizer you use) and you can increase your

vitamin D intake further with Shaklee’s Vita-D3.


Probiotics (friendly bacteria) are increasing

recognized as important for health, and Vitalizer also

contains probiotics.


These are just a few of many examples of how Vitalizer

represents a comprehensive, holistic approach to



This is why I recommend Vitalizer as the foundation for

anyone wanting to start a nutrition program to improve

their health.


5) The risks of multivitamin use have been over-hyped.


There are only a few studies that suggest risk from

multivitamin use and in every case they are

overshadowed by many other studies showing no risks.


I have pointed out in my previous “Tips From the

Professor” that it is normal for individual scientific

studies to report negative results.


A good scientist keeps an open mind but is guided by

the overwhelming preponderance of published studies.


On the other hand, journalists and those with an anti-

supplement bias tend to hype every negative study.



To Your Health!

Dr. Stephen G Chaney


P.S. Just in time for Christmas – a brand new 5 CD set

containing your favorite CDs from the past year. This

will make the perfect Christmas gift for your leaders

and business partners. It also makes a great

recognition reward to be presented to your superstars

at your January Kick-Off meetings.


Look for it soon at or

Take Control of Your Health



Dr. Stephen Chaney

Shaklee Master Coordinator

Take Control of Your Health






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