T Nation

Mulit-Vitamin: Branded vs. Generic

I have heard several conflicting stories on the quality of generic multi vitamins. I am looking to set the story straight:

Is there a difference between a branded (i.e. Centrum) versus a store brand (i.e. Kroger or Wal-Mart)?

Thanks in advance for you thoughts.

From working in a pharmacy for 5 years I will tell you something. If a drug, any drug, is considered a “generic” it has to have the exact same active ingredients in it. However, this does not mean that it is an idential twin of the brand. Some generic companies use different coatings on the pills and possibly some fillers. So someone my be allergic to the gerenic but not the brand and vice versa. I have always boughten generic vitamins as long as the same amount of vitamin is in it. I think many people get caught up with buying brand name items thinking that it will be better for them when in reality they are taking the same as the generic. In many cases, the brand name companies are also making the generic for distribution. Just my 2 cents though.

In my opinion, they both suck. The qualities of a cheap multi vitamin versus a well-made one are the differences between a government regulated hooker from Amsterdam and a hoe from some random back alley.

Their are many different types of qualities of actual vitamins and there are some forms that are more bioavailable than others. Also, when you get a company like Centrum, they spend too much of their money on advertising. Different nutrients react with others depending on how much of it is in the body. So, Centrum’s throwing in of 100% RDA of all the vitamins, causes them not to do what they should do. There are specific ratios that foster maximum utilization by the body. They also provide the bare minimum as set by the FDA as to how much of each nutrient there should be.

In addition, most cheaper vitamins are once-a-days. With water soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, you piss it out if you have too much at once, she it should be spread throughout the day.

I would reccommend Dr. DiPasquale’s MVM (Multi Vitamin Mineral) because it is meant for “athletes” and not the average consumer. I am sure other people here can give you good choices as well. Good luck
-Matt

Scott, my only concern re “generics” is that where the FDA regulates the manufacturing processes of pharmaceutical drugs and requires generic drugs to be within a certain range re potency, no one requires or enforces that supplement manufacturers produce supps (vitamins, in this case) that meet label claims. It’s a huge problem in the industry. Check out http://consumerlabs.com to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Buying your multivitamins from a manufacturer you trust to produce quality products is a primary purchasing consideration for me. Take calcium, for example. There are exceedingly cheap versions that just aren’t that bioavailable. (A little oyster shell, anyone?)

And how about the manufacturers that produce supps/multivitamins that don’t/won’t break down in the gut? They’ve done autopsies on runners who had totally undigested vitamins in the intestinal track.

Then, finally, when the multivitamin was formulated, did the manufacturer provide RDA amounts (the amount necessary to prevent a defficiency disease) or ODA amounts ((Optimal Daily Allowances) the amount necessary for vibrant health).

There are any number of considerations when it comes to selecting a multi-vitamin. I agree strongly with Matgic, that you truly get what you pay for.

I use SuperNutrition Opti Pak. One of the best all around on the market. Cost effective too. Majority of brands suck esp once a day ones. RDA means nothing to me. It’s mostly crap and politically influenced on some parts.

All-

Thanks for the advice.

The most common statement I have heard from all sources is in regards to the digestibility of the particular multi vitamin. I agree that a generic has the “same” vitamins and minerals, but the coating may prevent digestion.

It looks like the age old wisdom of “You get what you pay for” still holds true.

Other suggestions for vitamins are greatly appreciated.

Tungsten, reading the site for super opti pack and saw something called niacin flush. Have you had one of these? or more than one? The site says it is a good thing. Does anyone have any additional expereince with this niacin flush?

Look at the vitamins made by Garden of Life http://www.gardenoflifeusa.com.

I like Garden of Life as well…I still take the Perfect Food supplement. The only thing is that their products are so damn expensive.

By the way, a multivitamin is the type of thing that you can’t really FEEL the difference with. Don’t expect a “burst of energy.” Hell, I’ve never gotten one with a multivitamin. And don’t expect to get one for a dirt-cheap price that will cause you to “burst in your underpants.”
-Matt

I use Twinlab’s Dual Tabs. I think they incorporate some of the best knowledge we presently have concerning Vit. and Min. needs and metabolism. Also, Twinlabs has their own production facilities, so they can control quality every step of the way. Lastly, Twinlab’s products always test out well in regards to label claims.

Vegita,

a niacin flush is nothing more than a release of histamine from the basal (sp?) cells. It is harmless.

Crowbar

[quote]Vegita wrote:
Tungsten, reading the site for super opti pack and saw something called niacin flush. Have you had one of these? or more than one? The site says it is a good thing. Does anyone have any additional expereince with this niacin flush?[/quote]

It’s really harmless. It happens to me once a month. I don’t know why but it felt like my skin was on fire and also it looked like a major sunburn! It usually goes away after 30 minutes. Rest of the time, nothing happens. Fast flush is to dilate blood vessels which bring more nutrients to places. You can get niacin free version if you’re worried about niacin flush. iherb.com has them, i think.

Well I wasn’t actually worried about it. The way the vitamin guy made it sound was as if it was a very desireable thing to have happen. So I was wondering if I should try to achieve this on a somewhat regular basis. Is there benefits to it? He claims it balances HDL and LDL and detoxifies cells that usually don’t have the chance due to restricted circulation in the cappilairies. So I was thinking it may be something I should attempt to have happen like once a week or something. Any thoughts?

[quote]crowbar524 wrote:
I use Twinlab’s Dual Tabs. I think they incorporate some of the best knowledge we presently have concerning Vit. and Min. needs and metabolism. Also, Twinlabs has their own production facilities, so they can control quality every step of the way. Lastly, Twinlab’s products always test out well in regards to label claims.

Vegita,

a niacin flush is nothing more than a release of histamine from the basal (sp?) cells. It is harmless.

Crowbar[/quote]

Crowbar,

I used this supplement for many years both for the excellent constituent profile and the reasonable assurance that the Twinlab name would guarantee the label claims.

I then read an interview by Dr. Eric Serrano on this site where he recommended (among others) the Whole Food Based Multivitamin by Schiff. I have been using it ever since.

Re Niacin and the flush effect: niacin is an integral part of L. Ron Hubbard’s cleansing program, outlined in his book Clear body Clear Mind. I’m reading it right now.

He feels it is an essential element in helping rid the body of toxins.

Whether or not this holds true, I don’t know. But hubbard says that detox programs have used his cleansing program with success.