What is an appropriate price for a multivitamin?

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Amarillyde
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What is an appropriate price for a multivitamin?

Post by Amarillyde » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:47 pm

Is there a price below which one should consider a multivitamin likely to be unsafe? Or are there any resources to establish which brands are reputable enough to be trustworthy?
I've recently purchased this https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... UTF8&psc=1 while comparing against lots of others, so I didn't notice it was actually a yearly supply – thus is seems alarmingly inexpensive. :shock: Will I die a horrible death?

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:20 am

That's a good question. The price on those doesn't look like a big red flag to me. It's only half the price of DEVA: https://www.amazon.com/Deva-Vegan-Vitam ... B001GAOHVG
It's comparable to centrum: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Centrum-Adul ... /912436365

Of course it's a smaller company so their scale is probably more like DEVA. Centrum hits those prices by selling in huge volumes.
There's apparently a difference from DEVA that justifies the lower price: these are probably just a bunch of powders pressed together in a pill making machine. The manufacture is much cheaper than a coated tablet like DEVA (which also contains a bunch of more expensive super foods), and the reviews show it (mentioning the taste).
(EDIT: Apparently they are glazed, just maybe not very well? The comments and ingredients are conflicting)
DEVA tastes nasty if you hold it in your mouth too long, but coating gives you a few seconds to swallow it. I gather that these provide no such luxury.
I personally don't think I could physically swallow them if that's the case.

If you get them and they seem kind of rough or powdery like touching chalk on the outside instead of smooth like touching lacquered/polished wood, that probably explains it. You usually get what you pay for, and there's more to vitamins than the nutrients inside.

That said, just because the price isn't too low to manufacture doesn't mean they're not just fillers. Less reputable companies might skimp on the vitamins and give you what amounts to a starch pill. Not dangerous exactly, but it could mislead you on the amount of nutrients you're getting from it.

The real danger comes from herbal weight loss and body building supplements, which are often doped with real drugs to make them actually work.
Some herbal sleep aids have also been shown to have actual sleeping drugs in them.
That is, things that normally *wouldn't* work but are made to work by putting drugs in them.

Vitamins don't really have the same expectation, although if they advertise energy a lot it wouldn't be impossible that it has caffeine in it. But they probably don't have caffeine in them. They're probably just bad tasting vitamins.

I'd 100% trust Centrum and other big brands. I also trust DEVA since they've been around a long time and are well known. NOW is also pretty well established.
I also trust store brands (those with the store's branding, not just brands sold in stores), since they have a large corporate body to be accountable they're not going to be selling fake stuff.

Reputable brands often have third party testing you can check on. It takes a little detective work.
At least when I find a new brand, I try to check up on their certification and manufacturing, look into who founded the company, etc.

That said, surprisingly even without much oversight most vitamins (herbal weight loss and muscle supplements aside) being sold online are what they say they are, or at least mostly so. The ingredients for multivitamins are mostly just naturally cheap, so it's not worth the risk for a brand to fake it if they are a brand and not just trying to cut and run.

They're probably fine.

That said...

I think their site is nutraacure.com and it doesn't work.
But this is the address in the cache:
Address:
1st Floor, Udyog Vihar phase -1,
Gurugram, 122016
icon_mobile
Phone:
+91 981 167 7175
icon_mail_alt
Email:
info@nutraacure.com

That's in India. Is there any evidence these are really UK manufactured?

The company is registered in the UK: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/11658401
But incorporated less than a year ago so that doesn't look good...

The address they give, "59 York Avenue, Crosby, Liverpool, United Kingdom, L23 5RN", is literally just a house.

It's totally possible they had them locally manufactured and just have boxes in there from which they fulfill these orders... or they're made in India and that's just somebody's uncle's cousin's brother in law's house who agreed to accept their mail.

If it's legit, even if they're working from home, I respect the hustle. A lot of good and reputable businesses started from home. They might even have a pill press in the back room.
I will email them for more info to see if I can sort out what's going on. Assuming it reaches them since their site is down, email might bounce.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:28 am

Yep, bounce:
This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

noreply@nutraacure.com
(ultimately generated from info@nutraacure.com)
LMTP error after RCPT TO:<noreply@nutraacure.com>:
<noreply@nutraacure.com> Mailbox is full / Blocks limit exceeded / Inode limit exceeded
info@nutraacure.com
LMTP error after RCPT TO:<info@nutraacure.com>:
<info@nutraacure.com> Mailbox is full / Blocks limit exceeded / Inode limit exceeded
So that's a dead end unless somebody wants to try to call them.

If it were me, given that, I'd give them a 50-50 chance of being real vitamins vs. being bitter starch pills with little to nothing in them.

I'd probably get something else unless somebody can get in touch with them. I'd worry more about it just not having any vitamins in it than it being dangerous... the unknown is just hard to deal with. I wouldn't want to risk thinking I'm taking a good vitamin and it ending up being nothing, thus e.g. still low on Zinc despite thinking I got enough from topping it off with the vitamin. Of course a blood test would ultimately reveal this fact, but it's still potentially several months on a fake vitamin which has an opportunity cost of missing out on a real one.

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Amarillyde
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Post by Amarillyde » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:20 am

Thank you! Some serious detective work ;)

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Post by Lay Vegan » Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:53 pm

@brimstoneSalad Do you think programs like USP Dietary Supplement Verification are a good tool to rely on to avoid those kinds of scams?

https://www.usp.org/verification-services/verified-mark

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Jebus
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Post by Jebus » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:32 am

I'm wondering why anyone would want to/need to take a multivitamin (even if it's legit). Is there any evidence that a multivitamin provides health benefits?
How to become vegan in 4.5 hours:
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Post by Amarillyde » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:09 am

@Jebus I'm not completely clear on that, either. I know that there are some nutrients that I struggle with on most days, or at least I am unsure about when I do not use cronometer for a prolonged period of time (vitamin E, maybe calcium and zinc, some B vitamins); and others like iodine are a genuine problem, because of the unreliability of seaweed as a source of it (I eat nori only a few times a month, and so far I've been trying to compensate with kelp, but even a tiny bit is supposed to have lots of iodine, and I think there are studies on people who consumed it twice a week and had bad thyroid responses; so I wouldn't consider it a reliable way to deal with the iodine problem). So, I'm assuming that the supplement is going to provide those nutrients which I would not be getting at all or enough of. That being said, it's just an experiment for me at the moment (and I feel uneasy relying on something which is not food to get nutrients).

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:49 pm

Amarillyde wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:20 am
Thank you! Some serious detective work ;)
Thanks, I'm glad to help.
Lay Vegan wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:53 pm
@brimstoneSalad Do you think programs like USP Dietary Supplement Verification are a good tool to rely on to avoid those kinds of scams?

https://www.usp.org/verification-services/verified-mark
Yes, I think so. But I don't think we need to be limited by vitamins that are certified by a third party as long as it's a reputable company in itself that has been around for a while.
It's one of many things to look at/consider. USP can help with peace of mind for a smaller or newer company.

Like I don't think I'd trust DEVA any more with additional certifications, since they're a pretty established company and have been around for many years.
http://www.devanutrition.com/about-us.html

Jebus wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:32 am
I'm wondering why anyone would want to/need to take a multivitamin (even if it's legit). Is there any evidence that a multivitamin provides health benefits?
The epidemiological evidence suggests a slight reduction of mortality. However, this is probably only due to filling nutritional gaps. We don't want to make a Linus Pauling fallacy here and assume exponential improvements with more vitamins.

Theoretically if you ate a very high nutrient diet with lots of greens and hit or exceeded all of your nutrient goals (particularly minerals like zinc and iron) when you track it you would only need B-12. Additional vitamins would probably just go down the toilet and be a waste of money. Our bodies just stop absorbing them once we've gotten enough, or our kidneys just dump the extra in our bladders/urine.

However, given how expensive vegetables are and how difficult it can be to eat so well for somebody with a busy life in a country that doesn't have the healthiest dietary traditions... a multi makes a lot of sense. It's a safety net. A safety net is only useful if you fall, but we kind of live in a world where life knocks us over a lot in practice.

If we lived in a world where the typical fast food option was an affordable whole-grain/multi-grain wrap filled with steamed kale, collards, hummus with mixed nuts/seeds butter, and baked multi-bean tempeh then vitamins would probably not be needed (again, aside from B-12... and maybe DHA for older people).

As it stands, it's just a lot cheaper to take a multi at around 10-25 cents a day than to buy, cook, and spend time eating several pounds of vegetables and a precise mix of nuts and seeds. And it's even harder to make all of that yummy. Not impossible if you're a good cook, but it takes time and skill.

We shouldn't use a vitamin as an excuse to eat not vegetables at all (they contain important fiber and phytonutrients you can't get from a vitamin), but it can make life a bit more practical until we get to the point where we're surrounded by convenient healthy food options and no longer need them.

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