Recently, I faced a few health-related issues and that forced me to go for a health check-up. The results were quite unexpected & bewildering. . .
Hi, this is Anoop Mehrotra & I am a 45-year-old, physically sound person (weighing between 95% to 103% of my ideal weight for the last 5 years), living in a metro town of India.
I was fortunate enough to never have any health-related complications…
The test results were not only puzzling but also disconcerting.
Out of approx. 30 tests, I had “Out of Range” readings in 10+ tests.
Clearly, despite living a healthy lifestyle, my body had many deficiencies. However, later-on, I found out that it was mainly due to Air Pollution.
My doc. told me that it’s quite normal and I just need to take a few vitamin and mineral supplements to cover up those deficiencies. He suggested me a Multivitamin tablet and asked me to take that regularly (1 pack was costing me in 4 figures)
After some time, looking at the hole those pills made in my pocket, I started scouting for a cheaper, but equally efficient alternative.
I was astonished to find that there were scores of options available both online as well as offline, ranging between 80 Paisa per tablet to Rs. 80-90 per tablet.
Puzzled me, I also went to Shri Google Maharaj for help.
On world wide web, there are numerous experts, who are offering their free suggestions on the best possible Multivitamin tablet. Everyone has his own reasons for choosing a particular brand(s), but alas, most of them are based on either general perceptions or personal opinions.
Almost none of them talked on the basis of Facts & Figures.
Most of them talked about the mere presence or absence of certain vitamins/minerals in the tablet.
However, it’s not just a presence, but the presence in Right Quantity, that will impact our body.
I am sure that you know that the human body can’t take an unlimited dosage of all essential vitamins & minerals. If higher then Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) quantity is consumed then many of them may have major side effects as well.
At the same time, if quantity is just 30-40% of recommended levels, then it’s not going to make any visible impact on our health either. (Consider RDA levels equal to 100% marks and just think, how would you consider a tablet, which scores just pass marks or even less than that)
And then, came Corona…
Suddenly, Internal Immunity became much more important and the entire media was buzzing around this.
On top of this, WhatsApp university gave it’s own Gyan… everyone had his own unique recipe of Kaadha, which was nothing but a combination of local remedies for immunity boosters.
I am a person with a slightly stronger left side of the brain, and usually, I need Logic/ Facts / Figures to convince myself. Despite my best efforts, I could not find any resource, which could give me a holistic preview or answers to all of my questions at a single place.
Fed up with all this, finally, I decided to do some of my own research.
Fortunately, the lock-down period provided me the much needed time for this.
1st step was to find the Right quantity of each of these vitamins & Minerals. After some efforts, I could find a Govt. report, which has prescribed the right quantity of many of them
And then, started the real painstaking work of finding/analyzing the exact content of each of the multivitamin supplement options. I shortlisted approx. 50 tablets/Capsules/soft gels among 200+ options.
3rd step was to compare the quantity with Indian RDA levels.
Here comes another astound…
Most of the manufacturers avoided showing actual RDA levels on packs. The absence of any Govt. regulation on this, made their job easier. In fact, most of them gave their Own Standards of quantity (Under the disguise of Suggested intake for a 2k calorie diet) to suit the % levels. If you don’t believe me, read carefully the outer packaging of your current multivitamin brand….
I was flabbergasted to see that many of these medicines have an extremely low quantity of certain contents (as low as just 0.5%-10% of RDA). This is being done just to fool around customers and show an artificially inflated number of contents in the tablet.
On the other hand, quite a number of them have a highly excessive quantity (5 to 10 times of the approved quantity) of certain ingredients. If taken in excess quantity, many Vitamins (e.g. B3 / D / E, etc) and minerals (e.g. Potassium, Chromium, and Manganese, etc) can cause serious damage to our body. But alas, most of us are not aware of this.
One has to be vigilant enough to ensure that he is consuming only the right quantity (say between 50%-150% of RDA) of these items.
After a meticulous & scrupulous working of more than 3 months, I was able to collate the required details of almost all of the major brands of Multivitamin tablets & capsules & gels etc…
The result was an excel sheet, comprising all the vital details of some of the top-selling Multivitamin brands, their contents, category of each content (if it’s a Vitamin or Mineral or Amino acids or Antioxidant or Inorganic substance or Ayurvedic, etc.), quantity per tablet, comparison with Indian RDA, their main benefits and above all, side effects (if any).
This also gave a snapshot of all those contents, which are missing in a particular brand.
Many tablets also have so-called “Other Contents”. Their manufacturers claim that these have many health benefits
While I am no one to dispute them, but most of them lack credible scientific research to back up their claims. Needless to say that none of those contents reflect in Indian RDA & an Individual discretion is important in this.
But, what about the cost?
Is a costly multivitamin tablet really better?
Should I pay more for a tablet, just because it has 30 or 40+ ingredients?
The sheet also captured the MRP of the tablet, market operating price (MOP) i.e. after discount rates & finally “Effective Rate per Tablet”. (Pro Tip: – Many tablets are sold at 50-60% discounts, which shows how inflated their MRP are)
it’s very difficult to find an IDEAL MULTIVITAMIN tablet; however, one thing is very clear that a costlier tablet is not necessarily better.
Also the mere presence of the contents in the box in not enough… What’s more important is, Are they available in the right quantity or not…
Furthermore, it’s equally important to know the side effects of all those contents, which are available in much higher quantity than the prescribed limits.
Finally, how to decide the best VALUE FOR MONEY multivitamin?
So, I decided to score them on the basis of
1. Composition: How many Ingredients a tablet has
2. Composition: How many types of Ingredients a tablet has
3. Potency: How many Ingredients have a very low quantity (<50% of RDA)
4. Safety: Does tablet has a very high quantity(>150% of RDA) of any Ingredient which has side effects
5. Cost per Tablet: What is the Net Effective price (after discounts) (Pro Tip:- Never buy them on MRP)
VOILA!! Finally, I got a list of multivitamins, which offers the BEST VALUE FOR MONEY.
But, I can start using them now?
The final step is to check our test reports. Find out which all ingredients our body is deficient of…
Check, which all tablets have them in sufficient quantity & then only, consider using them.
Alternatively, consult with the family doctor and discuss, if our shortlisted Multivitamin tablet is good or not…
If you are already using any multivitamins, then I am sure that you would find your brand in this comprehensive list.
If your particular brand is not visible in this list and you are interested in its detailed analysis, then please connect with me on any of my below mentioned social media options. I will be glad if my analysis can be of any help to you as well.
I believe that this list will not only give you a Fact-Check of your brand but also, will help you in finding the best possible tablet for YOU.
As the old saying goes, “Prevention is always better than cure”. The younger, burgeoning upper and middle class, today has more purchasing power and looks forward to preventive measures to keep them healthy.
A significant portion of Gym going people are also advised to use many multivitamins.
40+ aged people like me are required to use supplements to cover body deficiencies e.g. most of us suffer from Hair Fall issues.
The important thing is to identify one’s unique needs of supplements and ensure that we use only the best option.
In the coming weeks, I will try to analyze each of these 35+ medicines individually with their pros & cons.
Please let me know if you like this article and what all you want me to cover in the future. Your valuable feedback is highly appreciated.
Do let me know if you are interested in looking at the backup data for all these tablets. I will share it on your personal window.
Till then, have a healthy and safe life ahead and Njoy….