We have recently just added a new supplement line to our collection. Megafoods has the reputation of being a superior brand with many future forward ideas. Although not from Canada, megafoods does contain some Canadian/Quebec grown produce and in terms of quality we couln't ask for more. We wanted to share with you some detailed information on the company in this blog so we asked Orna Villizan a local naturopath to shed some light on our newest line of natural supplements.
Why is it necessary to supplement with a multivitamin?
Our nutrition is one of the major foundations of health, and ensuring adequate intake of the various vitamins and minerals is an important part of that. We are understanding more and more that it is not only a matter of avoiding frank deficiencies; suboptimal levels of these nutrients, especially long term, are now recognized as risk factors for a number of chronic diseases. These include cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis, some of the more common health concerns of our time.
Unfortunately, recent statistics published by Health Canada indicate that many Canadians are struggling to meet these basic requirements when it comes to their nutrition. Despite our best efforts, many of us are not managing to get our 8 servings a day of fruits and veggies (I count myself in this group on some days).
Furthermore, many of us have higher needs than the average. Athletes for instance, a pregnant woman, or people on prescription medications that deplete their nutrients. Even something as simple and common as the birth control pill is known to deplete a number of our B vitamins. The elderly will also struggle in part due to decreased absorption from their food. Children have higher needs as they are growing quickly and it can be especially challenging if a child is a picky eater. Stressful events in our lives, or a life filled with many demands in general, can also greatly deplete our reserves.
Unfortunately, the environment plays an important role as well. Modern pollution and other environmental contaminants can be quite draining on the body. Coping with these foreign particles can greatly deplete many of our vitamins and minerals and they are not substances that can be fully avoided.
A multivitamin does not by any means replace a healthy diet. It can however help us ensure that we are getting an optimal intake of the various vitamins and minerals needed for optimal wellness.
I try to get everything from food, isn't that enough?
Getting everything we need from our food is certainly the ideal goal. Our food contains a wide variety of nutrients that go way beyond the short list of vitamins and minerals we know. However, it is not as easy as it sounds, especially in today’s modern world.
For one, the quality of the soil is not what it used to be. Modern agricultural practices that grow huge fields of only one plant, often year after year with modern fertilizers and no fields left fallow to recuperate and replenish have greatly contributed to this change. Many of the larger organic farms continue these practices. A comparative study done in 1999 by the US Department of Agriculture demonstrated that there is noticeably less Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus and iron in the today’s produce compared to that of 1950.
Another factor is the nitrogen rich fertilizers used today (organic farming uses natural sources of nitrogen). Nitrogen draws water into the plant, thereby diluting it’s nutrient content. Cross breading over the years has also lead to nutrient dilution due to increased carbohydrates in the plant.
Eating refined and processed foods will also contribute to more nutritional lack. Not only from the fact that these foods tend to be quite deficient in many vitamins and minerals but their consumption can also deplete our own reserves.
For these reasons, it becomes challenging to determine if we are getting all we need from our food. When coupled with a life that has increased needs for nutrients, as mentioned previously, it can be even more difficult. Taking a multivitamin is one way to help us cover our bases. For those who feel confident that they are getting a very complete diet on a daily basis, one suggestion might be to simply take a multivitamin every 2 or 3 days instead of daily.
Why would I pay more for Megafood than a standard cheap multi, which has higher concentrations of vitamins per tablet?
MegaFood is a whole food based supplement company. All the vitamins and minerals are fully integrated into their food based matrix. For example, the vitamin C is naturally ‘chelated’ with peptides and amino acids from rice that have been separated with the help of natural food based enzymes. This vitamin C is then fully integrated with whole oranges so that the body will recognize it as an orange rich in vitamin C. The orange contains all the phytonutrients, antioxidants, and cofactors normally present in a whole food that help to increase the absorption of the vitamin C in question as well as bring many of their own benefits. The vitamin C is much more complete and easily absorbed and so does not require as high a concentration. The same can be said for each of the vitamins and minerals in the various supplements, each paired with it’s own food (broccoli, beets, carrots, etc).
There is also growing concern for the intake of high dose, isolated, vitamins and minerals. It requires a number of cofactors as well as a mix of other minerals and nutrients to absorb a multivitamin. With tablets that have only the isolated form of these vitamins, we end up using our own natural reserves to do this. With a whole food based supplement, you have all the cofactors and natural aids present and do not need to deplete your own reserves.
Great care is placed at MegaFood to ensure the highest nutrient concentration possible in the end product. From the choice of farms used to procure the produce that make up the base ingredients, to the process used for drying, to the press used to make the tablets, every step is thought out with the goal being to prepare a high quality multivitamin that is easily absorbed and assimilated. Unfortunately, this takes time and comes with a higher cost. What you get at the end however is a multivitamin supplement that is as close as is possible to get to super-concentrated food.
How can a multivitamin really be organic?
MegaFood has developed several partnerships with local farms that follow organic processes. They do not buy produce that is on the open market but work directly with farmers they trust and know. All produce arrives fresh at the factory and is immediately tested for any contaminants. These include any traces of pesticides, herbicides, mold, heavy metals, gluten, dairy or soy.
What's with all the yeast, isn't yeast bad for you?
The yeast is present mostly to prepare the various minerals as well as a number of the B Vitamins. In order for us to be able to absorb a mineral, it needs to be metabolised by a living organism. Most of our minerals in our food come from plants that have metabolised the mineral salts present in the soil. The best way to metabolise a mineral for the purposes of a supplement is to have the yeast do the work for us.
The yeast used is Saccharomyces Cerevisia, or nutritional yeast. In the case of MegaFood supplements, the yeast has been inactivated. One of the steps in the process requires us to gain access to the metabolised minerals inside the yeast cell, a number of food-based enzymes are introduced that break down the yeast’s outer cell membrane. We are literally breaking them open to free the minerals inside. This renders the yeast inactive and unable to perform it’s usual tasks. For this reason, even those who are sensitive to yeast do well with these supplements.
How can I be sure the package has what it claims to have in it?
MegaFood has many rigorous checks in place to ensure quality and purity of the final product, including third party testing. Each batch is tested at several steps to ensure that no trace contaminants are present, that the product is gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy free. The plants are DNA tested to make sure the correct species’ are being used. Concentrations of nutrients and the uniformity of the mix are tested regularly. Each vitamin and mineral is also checked to make sure that is has fully integrated into it’s food base.
The seals on the jars can help one determine what certifications that particular product has undergone:
Non GMO, Fresh from the farm, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher.
What is your favorite supplement from Megafoods?
That’s difficult to say, I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one. Personally, for my own use, my favorites are the various powdered boosters; the Daily C and Daily Turmeric probably being my two favorites. They’re great tasting and so easy to use, they have become regular add-ons in my smoothies.
In my practice as a Naturopathic Doctor, I probably recommend the Blood Builder and Thyroid Strength the most. Both are deep acting and, when appropriate, people can feel the beneficial effects quite quickly. The Baby and Me prenatal vitamin is also a great favorite of mine.