247 – Choosing a Woman’s Multi-Vitamin – My Interview with Erin Stokes

Nutritional needs change over a woman’s lifetime

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Dr. Erin StokesWe have learned so much about the benefits of nutrition for women’s health over the recent past decades. I’ve been around long enough to remember when the following was the prevailing wisdom: You don’t need vitamins. The average American diet is sufficient. Got thinning bones? Just take more calcium. Buy the cheapest supplements, they’re all the same. Don’t take vitamin D, it’s dangerous. Supplements are quackery. If you care about food, you are a food faddist or a health food nut. Eggs were bad. Coconut oil and butter are a heart attack waiting to happen. Hydrogenated trans fats were the key to a healthy heart. The list goes on and on. The irony is that all of this advice was actually the opposite of what we now know to be true.

We are all having to rethink what we assume to be true and be willing to take a fresh look as new knowledge becomes available. This interview is a good example of taking a fresh look at multi-vitamin supplementation for women. In a previous interview with Dr. Erin Stokes we discussed how MegaFood reinvented their entire multi-vitamin supplements. After taking a fresh look at the emerging research and in conjunction with Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, MegaFood took the bold step of changing their vitamin line. This is not something a company does lightly. It demonstrates the company commitment to move forward even as it moves past the conventional wisdom. You should listen to the previous interview if you want to understand and appreciate that decision.

In this interview, Dr. Erin Stokes will discuss the nutritional needs for women through four distinct stages of a woman’s life. MegaFood has created unique formulas for each stage. The four stages being younger women, pregnant, nursing, or women planning to become pregnant, women in menopause and post-menopausal women. Each group has a different sets of nutritional needs. Looking for nutrients that are gender and age relevant is becoming more common. Women can now target nutrients to their specific needs and stage in life.

Dr. Stokes will also explain the use of newer supplemental forms of certain key nutrients. We now know that nutrients are not created equal. We now understand the difference between biologically active molecules and their analogs or synthetic counterparts. We will discuss the specific nutrients and the vital differences. Many years ago Dr. Linus Pauling coined the term orthomolecular nutrition. Orthomolecular nutrients are nutrients in the form as they are found and used in the body. There are many forms of nutrients used in supplements that are not in their natural form. Learning what these natural nutrients are and how they are identified will help you choose better quality supplements.

Three key nutrients to look for when choosing a daily women’s multivitamin: 

  1. Methylated B vitamins – Your body needs the B’s is a specific form to be useful. Other forms need to be converted into the ‘methyl’ form before your body can use it.  This assures easier digestion and better utilization. One of the first things to look for is methylated forms of folate   (5-Methyltetrahydrofolate)and vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin). MegaFood uses only the methyl form in it women’s formulas. Since studies have now shown that as much as 30 percent of the population is unable to metabolize the unmethylated forms of folate and vitamin B12, it’s ideal to choose a women’s multi with the methylated forms. 
  2. Absorbable iron – According to the World Health Organization (WHO), iron remains the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. This mineral is a crucial component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to all of the tissues in our bodies. Less oxygen delivery can lead to feelings of fatigue and weakness. If you’re uncertain if an iron supplement is necessary, lab tests can be ordered by your healthcare practitioner. Listen to my interview with Dr. Stokes on MegaFood Blood Builder.
  3. Choline – Choline is an essential nutrient that is needed for optimal health of both the nervous and endocrine systems.  Choline is not currently included routinely in all multivitamins. Studies have shown that common diets may be low or deficient in choline and that women are more likely to be missing choline than men.

With a bit of investigation, you can ensure that your multivitamin is containing these three key attributes for covering your individual nutritional needs.

MegaFood Supplements
One of the important emerging trends in supplements is the use of real food in the supplements. Food is the foundation of health. The average American diet is woefully deficient in wholesome foods that are nutrient dense. Taking supplements that contain the essential nutrients is one of the best ways to assure that you are not missing key vital nutrients. However, isolated nutrients do not contain the hundreds or thousands of phytonutrients that occur naturally in whole foods. Vitamin C does not occur in isolation in nature. It is complexed with hundreds of other nutrient molecules. The only way to get them is to eat food or take supplements that include food.

MegaFood uses organic fresh food farm partners to deliver over 500,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables into their products. Fresh produce comes into their plant and is carefully prepared so as to deliver the whole goodness of food. It is an amazing process and only MegaFood produces their supplements with this unique process. Listen to my interview on the MegaFood process. Learn more about the farms that grow the food in MegaFood products.

Last but not least is the MegaFood manufacturing process. It is unique to MegaFood and I have always been impressed by how MegaFood makes their supplements. Here is a short animated video that does a great job of explaining the process. No other company makes supplements in this way.

About Dr. Erin Stokes, N.D.
Dr. Erin Stokes, is a Naturopathic Doctor and the Medical Director at FoodState.  Erin received her Naturopathic Doctor degree from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, in 2001. She combines her experience as a Naturopathic Doctor with an extensive background in the natural products industry. Erin’s personal mission is to empower people with the inspiration and tools to change their lives. Dr. Stokes practices naturopathic medicine in Boulder, CO.


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