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Beware of advertising gimmicks and watch out for the daily multi-poison (Opinion)

Friday, November 19, 2010 by: Samuel Guy
Tags: multivitamin, advertisements, health news

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(NewsTarget) Imagine: you`re watching your daytime dramas and you see an advertisement showing a silver-haired couple walking along the beach holding hands, apparently linking their longevity to a once-daily multivitamin with mineral supplements. Or it`s Saturday morning and the kids take note of a cartoon figure advertising a gummi candy-like vitamin in tangy fruit flavors. Live longer and healthier? Nutrition the kids will like? Not so fast. What`s actually in those treats? What chemicals lurk inside that pill? Where does it all come from; how will your body react to it; and more importantly, do you actually need it? These are questions you should be asking before falling for the advertising gimmicks.

The ingredient list of one popular over-the-counter multivitamin/multimineral supplement reveals a dictionary of lengthy Latin phrases, many that should never be in anything you would willingly consume. Let`s examine some of these, shall we?

Dicalcium phosphate, or DCP, is an inorganic phosphate compound and the primary ingredient of this particular multivitamin. DCP is also found as a common mineral supplement in many breakfast cereals and enriched flours, thereby adding to the potential for calcium overdose, yet the only warning against potential overdose concerns iron and Vitamin A. There`s also no warning against taking DCP if certain pre-existing health conditions are present such as diarrhea, parathyroid disease, sarcoidosis and other conditions, all of which may be aggravated by this mineral(1).

Next we have magnesium oxide -- a metallic mineral compound formed from burning magnesium ribbon into a white, powdery ash. This substance is used in fireproofing and in the manufacture of cement. Aside from a slowly-absorbed magnesium supplement, primarily for those with low magnesium levels, its typical medicinal purpose is for the treatment of acid indigestion (milk of magnesia), but do you need it? Coupled with naturally-occurring magnesium from other sources, there is the potential for magnesium overdose which, in severe instances, can prove fatal due to induced low blood pressure and slowed heart rate. Further, there is no drug interaction warning on the packaging for this multivitamin, yet magnesium oxide can interact with many common antibiotics (such as tetracycline and penicillamine) and should not be taken(2).

The ingredient list goes on to include some very questionable additives such as polyethylene glycol -- a caustic agent used to dissolve grease and found in some oven cleaners. It is also used as a sexual lubricant and whole colon laxative used prior to colonoscopy examinations. Its purpose here? To treat drug overdoses, believe it or not.

Another strange ingredient for a vitamin is stannous chloride, commonly used in silvering mirrors, in tin-plating steel and in the production of plastic polylactic acid for biodegradable polyester plastics. Its addition as a food additive is for color retention.

The cream of this crop of questionable chemicals is the inclusion of a known poison: boric acid.

Boric acid`s inclusion is as a medicinal preservative; however, prolonged exposure has been known to be toxic, producing kidney lesions, cardiovascular defects, skeletal variations, sterility and birth defects. It has been re-classified by the European Diagnostics Manufacturing Association (EDMA) meeting of 2007 in the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals Regulations (REACH) as a highly toxic substance(3).

All of this is in something that`s supposed to help us live long, healthy lives...by giving us things we don`t need or don`t want and have the potential to kill us.

Thanks for the reminder to take my vitamins, Mom, but I think I`d rather just eat an apple.

1: http://pharmacyhealth.net/d/dicalcium-phosph...
2: http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-3954-Magnesi...
3: http://echa.europa.eu/doc/candidate_list/svh...

About the author

"Captain" Samuel Guy has been plying the waters of artificially-colored, genetically-modified, partially-hydrogenated and preservative-laced additives for many years. As a chef, his motto was "If I won't eat it myself, why would I give it to someone else?" Now an advocate for pure foods, he helps to educate others and expose the nature of these bizarre chemicals and their effects upon the human body.

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