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Food Based Ultra Daily
(a.k.a. Ultra Harvest Premium Multi-Vitamin)
by Gary F. Zeolla
Unfortunately, this product has been discontinued.
But Garden of Life offers similar products. They are available from iHerb.
For iHerb, when checking out, use referral code HOP815 to receive $5.00 off your first order.
The best way to attain vitamins and minerals is by following a healthy eating plan, as outlined in my book God-given Foods Eating Plan. As I write, “God did not intend for us to get our nourishment from pills. He put all that we need in the foods He provided for us. But we need to eat a variety of these God-given foods” (p.15).
However, I also wrote in my book, “This is not to say there is not a place for supplements. But they are just that, a way to supplement or to add a little ‘extra’ to a healthy diet. In no way can supplements make up for an unhealthy diet” (p. 15).
But this in no way does this means it would be beneficial to take mega-doses of vitamins and minerals. The potential problems with such supplements are detailed in the article Folly of Synthetic, Mega-Dose Supplements. But there is some wisdom to the idea of taking a basic supplement containing 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for a variety of nutrients as an “insurance” against nutrient deficiencies. And Twinlab’s Food Based Ultra Daily is now my favorite multiple vitamin-mineral supplement.
Note that this same product is also available under Twinlab's "Ultra Harvest" line of products and is called Premium Multi-Vitamin.
Why I Like this Supplement
I like this supplement for several reasons. First, you take three caplets a day. I take one with each of my three main meals each day. Some might find this less convenient than a once a day supplement, but I have always believed nutrients are better absorbed if they are spread out over the day rather than taken all at once.
Second, as the name implies, it is a food based supplement. This means the nutrients are derived from real food, not synthesized in a laboratory. The above article explains in detail why this is important.
But simply, in some cases, natural nutrients are more biologically active than synthetic ones. There is also times when the natural form exists in several different forms, while the synthetic product provides only one of these forms. And finally, nutrients in food are often found as part of a “complex” of different co-factors that work in a syncretistic fashion with the nutrient itself, while synthetic nutrients lack these important co-factors.
By deriving the nutrients from food, this Food Based Ultra Daily provides the nutrients in these natural forms, co-factors and all. And to ensure there are sufficient co-factors, a “Super Food Blend” is also included. This blend consists of the “super green foods” kelp, green algae, and spirulina, along with citrus bioflavonoids (which are the co-factors naturally found with vitamin C in citrus fruits), plus various fruits and vegetables.
Third, this Food-Based Ultra Daily contains a wide variety of nutrients, but the amounts are at reasonable levels, not the ridiculously high doses often found in synthetic supplements. I discuss in the above article how such mega-doses of nutrients are not only not beneficial but can even be dangerous.
I found this to be true. When taking mega-dose, synthetic supplements my health deteriorated. But I have seen benefit from taking this supplement, in several ways.
Benefits I Have Noticed
First, my hypoglycemia seems to be under better control. This could be because the chromium in the Food Based Ultra Daily is better absorbed than what was in my former mega-dose multi, as chromium is involved in blood sugar regulation. The chromium in the Food-Based Ultra Daily is taken from natural baker’s yeast, while the chromium in the mega-dose multi was from synthetic chromium chloride. If this is the case, this is especially interesting given that the Food-Based Ultra Daily has 125 mcg of chromium (which is 100% of the DV), while the mega-dose multi had 200 mcg (167%). So more is not necessarily better.
Second, I have been sleeping better at night. This could be related to the first. I have found that if I eat foods that cause a wide fluctuation of my blood sugar during the day I have problems sleeping at night. It could also because the Food Based Ultra is providing some nutrient or nutrients that aid in sleep in forms that are being better utilized than what was found in my previous multi.
Third, my sex drive has improved. My guess here is that the zinc in this product is better absorbed than that in previous supplements as zinc is involved in the production of testosterone and thus the sex drive. The zinc is again from baker’s yeast in the Food Based Ultra while in my previous mega dose multi it was in the form of synthetic zinc picolinate. If this is the case, again, what is especially interesting is that this product “only” contains 15 mg of zinc (100% DV), while the previous multi’s I took contained as much 30 mg. I also tried *ZMA, which contains 30 mg, and that amount was on top of what I was taking in my multi’s. But all of that zinc did not provide as much benefit as the 15 mg in this product.
Fourth, my powerlifting training has been going particularly well.
It is very possible that all of these points are related. Improved blood sugar control would aid sleep, as would increased testosterone levels. Sleeping better at night would in turn increase testosterone levels as testosterone is mainly released during sleep, especially REM sleep. And the increased testosterone levels would increase both sex drive and muscular development. So there is a synchronicity going on here that is proving beneficial.
Twinlab Email Exchange
One concern I had though was that this supplement is in caplet form. I have generally found that capsules are better absorbed than tablets. So I sent the following email to Twinlab. I also asked a couple of other questions about this supplement.
I have been using your Food Based Ultra Daily. I really like the product and feel it has benefited me. But I had a couple of questions in regards to it.
First, why is this product in tablet form while almost all of your products are capsules? I believe that capsules are better absorbed, so I feel like I am not fully digesting and absorbing these hard tablets. I tried dissolving one of the tablets in some vinegar, and after an hour, it was not full dissolved.
Second, why is it only available in bottles of 90? With taking the prescribed three per day, that is only a one month supply. Again, almost all of your other products are usually available in different sizes. A larger size, say 270 tablets for a three months supply, would be less expensive, not to mention, better for the environment, with less wasted glass.
Finally, all of your other multi’s have at least some choline, inositol, and PABA in them. Why not the Food Based Ultra Daily?
I received the following reply:
You would need to put the tablet in a cup of water with a tablespoonful of Hydrochloric acid, keep it at 99.6 degrees and swish it around continuously for 30 to 45 minutes to begin to mimic the stomach function. The tablet is better processed for the ingredients.
The 90 count sells better with new buyers so, we have stayed with that size.
The Choline, Inositol & PABA are synthetic so, we don’t add them to this food based product.
Thanks for your inquiry!
The email doesn’t specifically say so, but I would assume Twinlab has done the mentioned testing and found this supplement’s caplets dissolve just fine. Moreover, this supplement contains a “Digestive Blend.” This consists of various digestive enzymes. This would ensure that the nutrients are fully absorbed.
In regards to choline, inositol, and PABA, these are not true vitamins, so it is doubtful they provide any benefit when added to a multi. But they are probably often added just to make a supplement look more "complete" than a competitor's. When I tried supplementing with them separately, I ran into problems. The fact that they are synthetic might have been part of the problem. For details, see Choline & Inositol Caps and PABA Caps.
But it would still be nice if Twinlab came out with this supplement in a 270 caplet size. But in the meantime, by purchasing it from WebVitamins, it is not too expensive.
Below is the label information for this supplement. It will be seen that many of the ingredients come from baker’s yeast or yeast concentrate. So I considered taking brewer’s or nutritional yeast instead of this product. But I’ve tried such products before, and the taste is just too awful.
Moreover, the nutrients in such yeast products are not “balanced” like this
product is. By that I mean, this product provides 100 - 200% of most of the
nutrients, but brewer’s or nutritional yeast are very high in some nutrients,
like the B vitamins, but low in others, like chromium and zinc. But as indicated
above, it is possible that it is the chromium and zinc in this product that is
benefiting me the most. So I will stick with this product.
Serving Size: 3
Servings per container: 30
Nutrient – (Source) – Amount – % Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate – 0 g – <1%
Protein – 1 g – 2%
Pro-Vitamin A (from carrot concentrate) – 500 IU – 10%
Vitamin C (from citrus concentrate) – 100 mg – 167%
Vitamin D (from baker's yeast) – 400 IU – 100%
Vitamin E (from vegetable oil) – 50 IU – 167%
Thiamine (from yeast concentrate) – 1.5 mg – 100%
Riboflavin (from yeast concentrate) – 1.7 mg – 100%
Niacin (from protein concentrate) – 20 mg – 100%
Vitamin B6 (from yeast concentrate) – 2 mcg – 100%
Folic Acid (from alfalfa concentrate) – 800 mcg – 200%
Vitamin B12 (from yeast concentrate) – 6 mcg – 100%
Biotin (from soy concentrate) – 300 mcg – 100%
Pantothenic Acid (from protein concentrate) – 10 mg – 100%
Calcium (from baker's yeast) – 20 mg – 2%
Iodine (from baker's yeast) – 150 mcg – 100%
Magnesium (from baker's yeast) – 10 mg – 3%
Zinc (from baker's yeast) – 15 mg – 100%
Selenium (from baker's yeast) – 70 mcg – 100%
Copper (from baker's yeast) – 2 mg – 100%
Manganese (from baker's yeast) – 2 mg – 100%
Chromium (from baker's yeast) – 120 mcg – 100%
Molybdenum (from baker's yeast) – 75 mcg – 100%
Vanadium (from baker's yeast) – 10 mcg *
Super Food Blend: 340 mg *.
Kelp, Green Algae, Spirulina, Citrus Bioflavonoids Complex, Strawberry Fruit, Blueberry Leaf, Orange Juice, Cranberry Fruit, Tomato Fruit, Cabbage (whole plant), Broccoli (whole plant), Celery Seed, Spinach Leaf, Carrot Root, Beet Root, Barley Grass, Aloe Vera Leaf, Wheat Grass, Alfalfa Leaf, Oat Seed.
Digestive Blend 50 mg *
Amylase 4500 DU *
Protease 6550 HUT *
Lipase AN 100 FCCLU *
Cellulase 150 CU *
EFA Blend (Essential Fatty Acids): 50 mg *
Borage Seed, Flax Seed, Safflower (whole plant).
* Daily Value not established.
Food Based Ultra Daily. Copyright © 2008 by Gary F. Zeolla.
The above article was posted on this site May 3, 2008.
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