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The Four Criteria

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The VITAFORCE™ Difference  

            After reviewing thousands of studies from the most respected medical journals, it became clear to us that any nutritionally complete vitamin and mineral supplement must meet four basic criteria.  Surprisingly, VITAFORCE™ is the only supplement in existence which fulfills each of these.  Below, we describe each of the criteria in more detail and compare how VITAFORCE™, other green powders and vitamin and mineral pills fulfill them.

(1)   It must contain a complete and properly balanced array of all the vitamins and minerals needed on a daily basis.

The main objective of any vitamin and mineral supplement is to provide a sufficient quantity and wide array of nutrients to ensure that people do not develop nutritional deficiencies.  Nutritional deficiencies can result in conditions such as anemia, osteoporosis, birth defects, low energy, hair loss, and more significantly, increased susceptibility to degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Unfortunately, even those who eat a very balanced and healthy diet can develop nutritional deficiencies if they rely on diet alone and/or low quality supplements.  According to Harvard’s School for Public Health, relatively few people get enough of five key vitamins which help prevent chronic diseases: (1) Folic acid; (2) Vitamin B6; (3) Vitamin B12; (4) Vitamin D; and (5) Vitamin E.[1]  Certain populations of people have to worry even more about certain nutrients in particular.  Those who follow a meat-based diet, for example, are often deficient in plant based nutrients such as Folic acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and fiber.  Vegans, on the other hand, are prone to deficiencies in Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, and potentially Calcium, Iron and Zinc.

The body also maintains a delicate balance of nutrients, and taking in too much of one can throw off that balance – particularly if that nutrient is synthetic.  Taking in too much of one nutrient can block absorption of others (e.g. too much Vitamin A or phosphorous will block absorption of calcium).  When nutrients are derived from whole food plant sources, however, the body is effective at absorbing what it needs, and will excrete out what it does not need.

How well do various supplements fulfill this criterion?

VITAFORCE™ – It perfectly fulfills this criterion.  It provides you with a complete and properly balanced array of all the vitamins and minerals needed daily, as you can see from the Supplemental Facts panel.  Whenever possible, the nutrients come from whole foods, so they are safe and easily absorbable.  It even provides you with over 100% of nutrients that are non-existent in a vegan diet, such as reliable sources of Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D. 

Other Green Powder Supplements - They do not fulfill this criterion.  While many are high in certain nutrients, like Vitamin A, they are not balanced and cannot be relied upon to prevent nutritional deficiencies.  This is proven true by examining their nutritional labels, or often their lack of a nutritional label.

Daily Multivitamin Pills – Most fulfill only half of this criterion.  While they do provide a complete array of vitamins and minerals, they generally are derived synthetically.  Unfortunately, pills generally do a bad job of appropriately balancing nutrients -- they often contain too much or too little of certain nutrients.  They can also contain harmful nutrients as we will discuss in criterion 3.

(2)   It must contain a full spectrum and significant quantity of naturally occurring phytonutrients found in plants.

Phytonutrients are nutrients concentrated in the skins of many vegetables and fruits, and are responsible for their color, hue, scent, and flavor.  Based on research over the last twenty years, scientists have concluded that various phytonutrients in plants have extraordinary abilities to prevent free radical damage, and to increase resistance to degenerative diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes.  And, all these phytonutrients seem to work best when they are in their natural forms in food, rather than isolated out in pill form.  This is likely because the ingredients in whole foods work synergistically to fight disease and free radical damage.  Scientists are discovering the existence of more and more phytonutrients each day, and experts believe we are in our infancy in terms of identifying and understanding all these phytonutrients. 

Unfortunately, most people are not eating anywhere near the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables a day to ensure optimum phytonutrient intake.  Even those that do eat optimum amounts of fruits and vegetables can benefit from further phytonutrient protection because our bodies are being constantly bombarded by harmful toxins, in the forms of air pollution, heavy metals in foods, harmful food additives, refined foods and animal products, among others.

How well do various supplements fulfill this criterion?

VITAFORCE™ – It perfectly fulfills this criterion.  Because we used very high end ingredients without any cheap fillers, VITAFORCE™ provides an abundance of phytonutrients.  For instance, the Indian Mustard Greens in VITAFORCE™ are a cruciferous vegetable, and cruciferous vegetables provide many of the most potent anti-carcinogenic phytonutrients yet discovered [e.g. Isothiocyanates (ITCs), dithiolthiones and sulforaphane  indole-3-carbinol (I3C)].  VITAFORCE™ is also exceedingly rich in carotenoids, flavonoids, SOD, CoEnzyme Q-10, terpenoids, glutathione, lutein and prebiotic fiber, just to name a few. 

Other Green Powder Supplements - Some of these supplements fulfill this criterion sufficiently, but others do not.  Many green powder supplements use a relatively high percentage of cheap filler, which means the phytonutrient content is inferior.

Daily Multivitamin Pills – They completely fail this criterion.  Most pills simply contain the isolated vitamins and minerals, but not phytonutrients.  Those that do actually contain phytonutrients are still poor sources of them for two reasons: (1) They contain isolated phytonutrients which do not have the synergistic and proven beneficial effects that come from whole foods; and/or (2) Those that do contain whole foods, contain such tiny quantities that they only have minimal beneficial impact.

(3)   It CANNOT contain any isolated nutrients harmful to health.

Unfortunately, many multivitamin and mineral pills contain isolated nutrients that are harmful to health.  First, many pills contain megadoses of vitamins and minerals which can be toxic.  Second, multivitamins usually contain preformed Vitamin A, isolated Beta Carotene, or isolated iron.

Megadoses – Many vitamin pills contain megadoses (often 10x to 1000x the RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance) of nutrients.  “Very large doses of some nutrients become pharmacologic -- meaning that they act like drugs instead of nutrients,” according to Jeanne Goldberg, associate professor of nutrition at Tufts University in Boston .[2]  The body maintains a critical balance of nutrients for optimum health, and by taking a megadose of any one nutrient, that delicate balance can be disrupted, which can result in many unhealthful complications.  Megadoses of certain nutrients have even been shown to increase the risk of mortality.

Nutrients that should not be in supplementsPreformed Vitamin A and isolated Beta Carotene can block absorption of other cancer fighting members of the carotenoid family, including lutein and lycopene.[3]  Research demonstrates that preformed Vitamin A induces calcium loss in the urine, which can contribute to osteoporosis. Too much preformed Vitamin A can also cause birth defects and is toxic to the liver.  Doctors do not permit expectant mothers to take more than 5,000 IU’s of preformed Vitamin A (retinyl palmatate) because of its link to birth defects.

Beta Carotene supplementation leads to a small but significant increase in all-cause mortality and mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to results of a meta-analysis reported in The Lancet.[4]  Because of European and American studies, articles in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine advise people to stop taking Beta Carotene supplements.[5]

Generally,iron should not be taken supplementally unless a person is anemic or pregnant.  Yet, most products still contain supplemental iron.  Excess iron can increase heart attack risk and is an oxidant (which promotes free radicals, aging, and disease).  Even a small amount of excess iron can damage heart and brain and other storage sites in the body and lead to heart attack or stroke.  Excessive iron intake can also cause constipation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

How well do various supplements fulfill this criterion?

VITAFORCE™ – It perfectly fulfills this criterion.  First, there are no megadoses of any nutrients in VITAFORCE™.  Second, there is no preformed Vitamin A, isolated Beta Carotene, or isolated iron in VITAFORCE™.  All of the Vitamin A in VITAFORCE™ is from mixed carotenoids found naturally in whole plant foods (e.g. spirulina, chlorella, acerola cherry and Indian mustard greens).  Similarly, the iron in VITAFORCE™ is from whole foods – it is not isolated or synthetic iron.

Other Green Powder Supplements – Most green powder supplements fulfill this criterion, but some do fortify their product with extra iron, preformed Vitamin A, or Beta Carotene.

Daily Multivitamin Pills – Almost no vitamin pill successfully fulfills this criterion.  Those that do manage to fulfill this criterion do so by taking out the preformed Vitamin A, Beta Carotene and iron, but this unfortunately leaves you without those important nutrients.  VITAFORCE™ provides you with those nutrients in a safe and healthful whole food form.

(4)   Nutrients must come from food, unless no pure and viable source exists.

For all the reasons discussed above, it is essential to get all nutrients from whole food sources whenever possible.  But in certain instances, there is no pure or viable food source for a critical nutrient, which means that a supplemental form of that nutrient must be added in to the formula.  There are three critical nutrients for which there is no pure and viable food source – (1) Vitamin B-12; (2) Vitamin D; and (3) Folic Acid.

Vitamin B-12 – No vegan food source of vitamin B-12 has ever been scientifically proven to be utilizable by humans.  Some people recommend nutritional yeast, spirulina or seaweed as a good source of B-12, but there exists much scientific doubt about whether these are good sources.  Most food sources of B-12 come from animal products, which, in our opinion, are never sufficiently pure.  Deficiencies in B-12 take years to develop, but once a deficiency exist, it can cause permanent damage.  Low intake of B-12 can result in heart disease, nervous system damage and anemia.  Unfortunately, B-12 deficiency can cause little or no symptoms until irreversible damage occurs.

Vitamin D – There is no quality vegan food source of Vitamin D.  The best source of Vitamin D is sun exposure, but for up to half the year in higher latitudes, solar-UV exposure isn't enough to fuel Vitamin D production in skin.  The use of sunscreens and/or having darker skin further reduces Vitamin D production.  Also, the elderly have a tougher time producing Vitamin D from sunlight exposure.  All these factors lead to a widespread deficiency of Vitamin D.  Yet, vitamin D is a critical nutrient, and more studies are coming out recently showing just how healthy it is.  Recent medical studies document that vitamin D is more effective than calcium for protecting and building bone.  Research also suggests that Vitamin D fights diabetes and cancers (including breast, prostate and colon cancer[6]), maintains a healthy immune system, and it inhibits autoimmune disorders from multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus to inflammatory bowel disease.[7]

Folic Acid – While folic acid is plentiful in vegan foods, we were unable to find a sufficiently rich source to provide over 100% of the RDA of this nutrient per serving.  Further, folic acid is the one nutrient that seems to be absorbed more efficiently from the synthetic form than from food.  This is a particularly critical nutrient since inadequate intake greatly increases the risk of anemia, neural tube defects, arterial disease, dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, and certain cancers (particularly colon and breast).  Any decent supplement should have at least 100% of the RDA of this nutrient.

How well do various supplements fulfill this criterion?

VITAFORCE™ – It perfectly fulfills this criterion.  To ensure that VITAFORCE™ has all the nutrients necessary for optimum health, we supplemented the highest quality, vegan forms of Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D and Folic Acid.  We analyzed the studies to provide you with the ideal amount of each nutrient per serving.  Apart from these 3 nutrients, all the nutrients in VITAFORCE™ come from whole food ingredients.

Other Green Powder Supplements – Most green powders, if not all, fail this criterion.  Indeed, they often pride themselves on being perfectly natural and adding no supplemental ingredients, yet they remain deficient in a number of critical nutrients as discussed above. For example, you must make sure you are getting the appropriate daily amounts of Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D and Folic Acid.

Daily Multivitamin Pills – Any decent pill fulfills this criterion.

 

[1] http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamins.html

[2] Napier, K Harvard Health Letter; 1996

[3] Mayne ST. Beta-carotene, carotenoids, and disease prevention in humans. FASEB. 1996;10(7):690-701.

Goodman GE. Prevention of lung cancer. Current Opinion in Oncology 1998;10(2):122-126.

Kolata G. Studies Find Beta Carotene, Taken by Millions, Can’t Forestall Cancer or Heart Disease. New York Times, Jan 19, 1996 .

Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, et al. Effects of a combination of Beta Carotene and vitamin A on lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334(18);1150-1155.

Hennekens CH, Buring JE, Manson JE, et al. Lack of effect of long-term supplementation with Beta Carotene on the incidence of malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334(18):1145-1149.

Albanes D, Heinonen OP, Taylor PR, et al. Alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplements and lung cancer incidence in the alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene cancer prevention study: effects of base-line characteristics and study compliance. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 1996;88(21):1560-1570.

Rapola JM, Virtamo J, Ripatti S, et al. Randomized trial of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplements on incidence of major coronary events in men with previous myocardial infarction. Lancet 1997;349(9067):1715-1720.

[4] Lancet 2003;361:2017-2023.

[5] Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, et al. Effects of a combination of Beta Carotene and vitamin A on lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334(18);1150-1155.

Hennekens CH, Buring JE, Manson JE, et al. Lack of effect of long-term supplementation with Beta Carotene on the incidence of malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334(18):1145-1149.

Albanes D, Heinonen OP, Taylor PR, et al. Alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplements and lung cancer incidence in the alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene cancer prevention study: effects of base-line characteristics and study compliance. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 1996;88(21):1560-1570.

Rapola JM, Virtamo J, Ripatti S, et al. Randomized trial of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplements on incidence of major coronary events in men with previous myocardial infarction. Lancet 1997;349(9067):1715-1720.

[6] Martinez ME and Willett W C. Calcium, vitamin D, and colorectal cancer: a review of the epidemiologic evidence. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomark. Prev 1998;7:163-68. Lieberman DA, Prindiville S, Weiss DG, Willett W. Risk factors for advanced colonic neoplasia and hyperplastic polyps in asymptomatic individuals. J Am Med Assoc 2003;290:2959-67.

[7] Cantorna MT ; Zhu Y; Froicu M; Wittke A Vitamin D status, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, and the immune system. Am J Clin Nutr 2004 Dec;80(6 Suppl):1717S-20S. Hein G; Oelzner P. Vitamin D metabolites in rheumatoid arthritis: