Can we make a supplement?

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brimstoneSalad
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Can we make a supplement?

Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:11 am

Is anybody else dissatisfied with the supplements currently on the market?

Not only personally, but when I give recommendations to somebody, I want to be like "Here, take this"... and while there are things I can list, and the minimum recommendation is just B-12, going more in depth involves a longer list, and the price for good supplementation starts to add up (too many different pills, too many bottles and too many vendors).

I want a cheap, bulk, all-in-one with the necessary, useful, and harmless stuff, and not a bunch of other random things in useless excess.

Anybody else feel like we need a good vegan multivitamin that focuses on the important and useful stuff, instead of just being a bunch of random stuff pressed into a pill shape?

I want:

B-12
+ vegan D3 (lichen derived) (arguably better than D2, although this is controversial)
+ vegan DHA and EPA (algae derived) (these make your Omega 3:6 ratio less important, and are very helpful for junk food vegans- although it's still a good idea to eat well)
+ Choline (this is one of those things most people are deficient in- it's not vegan-specific, but vegans who don't eat a lot of broccoli and other high Choline foods can easily become deficient)
+ Iodine (in the form of KI) (This is supplemented through salt and dairy in different parts of the world, but not everybody receives that supplementation- particularly vegans who don't drink dairy in Europe, or who use sea-salt in North America rather than iodized salt, avoid processed foods, and don't eat a lot of seaweed.)
+possibly Zinc and B2 in small amounts

Because most of these are either liquids (D3 and DHA/EPA are both in oil, Choline chloride if hydrophilic and is in solution with water), or trace salts (B-12 and iodine are both minimal in concentration and would barely take up the head of a pin), they need to be absorbed into a solid to bind them.

I would argue in favor of a solid that has health value for vegans, that we don't get any of in our diets.

Creatine (a non-essential amino acid) seems like a good option.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creatine#I ... ve_ability
While it's not necessary, the possible health benefits make it a good filler to consider.
Whether the studies are accurate or not, it's harmless in small amounts (as long as you don't cook it and turn it into a carcinogen), and it may have health benefits (particularly for some people who have genetic inability or reduced ability to synthesize it).

Otherwise, calcium salts could also be used as a filler (although this isn't a big issue for vegans, it doesn't hurt to get a little extra calcium- although calcium is very large so it's not really practical to attempt to reach the RDI by supplementation alone).

Plus antioxidants to prevent spoilage, and any necessary binders and stabilizers (maybe some kind of gums).

Xylitol could be a good option to help prevent spoilage, and serve as a solid component and binder.

Ideally these could be combined with a bit of sweetness and flavor to create a delicious chewable with dental/breath mint qualities, about 3-5 grams each.
Sold in minimum one-year supplies as bulk- none of these absurd 90 pill bottles where only 1/4 of the bottle is actual product, and the rest is cotton.
Maximum cost 50 cents a day- hopefully closer to 25 cents.

Any thoughts?

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thebestofenergy
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Post by thebestofenergy » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:46 am

It'd definitely be great.
I found this http://www.vitacost.com/deva-vegan-mult ... -tablets-1; it cointains most of the vitamins. It's probably the closest thing.
There's a problem though: some people can't take some of those vitamins. They may have conditions that don't allow them.
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:03 am

thebestofenergy wrote:It'd definitely be great.
I found this http://www.vitacost.com/deva-vegan-mult ... -tablets-1; it cointains most of the vitamins. It's probably the closest thing.
Yeah, I've taken that very vitamin before, actually. It's a sorry state that this is the closest there is.

The B-12 is actually verging on reasonable, which is rare for a multivitamin- it's something they stepped up for this formulation. The Iodine, Zinc, and B2 are all probably about right. B2 might actually be a bit overkill.

However, that's where it stops. The D is woefully inadequate, at only 400 IU of D2, and it has nowhere near enough choline (15 milligrams is a joke).

It contains no isolated EPA or DHA; it has a little algae in it, but the amount of algae is minuscule, and the amount of DHA and EPA in that quantity may not even be measurable.

It has a bunch of other random stuff that may look good on paper, but aren't things vegans are realistically ever deficient in (some of them, things that nobody is ever deficient in).

And a lot of what's in it is just dried compressed vegetables and herbs- we don't need food pills. We can eat food.
thebestofenergy wrote: There's a problem though: some people can't take some of those vitamins. They may have conditions that don't allow them.
Iron is the big one; that's the leading component of vitamins that can create a lethal overdose.
But studies have shown that vegans are apparently not really more likely to have problems with iron deficiency than anybody else; the less you eat, the more efficiently your gut absorbs it. Generally, iron supplements are only recommended under doctor supervision when blood tests confirm deficiency.

My main concern is in what it doesn't have in it, and what I'm paying for that's in it but nobody ever needs.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:23 am

What form of B-12 do you think is ideal?

I found a blog posting here:
http://www.metabolics.com/blog/the-best ... plements/
I remember the cyanide form as being the most stable. But I wonder how unstable the other forms are, and if it would be difficult to formulate with.

This is the vegan D3:

http://vitashine-d3.com/

Much more expensive than D2. It's argued to be more effective, and more readily used by the body- but by how much?

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:25 am

thebestofenergy wrote: You can check this article here http://www.supernutritionusa.com/images ... isonSN.pdf; it compares the different types of vitamin B12.
It's not only the cheapest; your body absorbs a max. of about 1.5-2 mcg of cyanocobalamin at a time (after that, you B12 receptors become saturated), + 1% that goes into your blood (so if you take 250 mcg, it's 1.5 mcg + 2.5 mcg(1%) = 4 mcg). With methylcobalamin you must take a mugh higher dose to have the same mcg absorbed (the recommended dose is 1000-2000 mcg per day).
Both doctor Greger (you can find him on Youtube, trustworthy channel) and Jack Norris, both vegan, recommend cyanocobalamin (http://jacknorrisrd.com/what-b12-supple ... ld-i-take/), but both cyano and methyl are perfectly fine.
Sounds good, thanks Energy!

So, it's better, cheaper, and more stable, always a good thing :)

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Post by thebestofenergy » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:47 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:What form of B-12 do you think is ideal?

I found a blog posting here:
http://www.metabolics.com/blog/the-best ... plements/
I remember the cyanide form as being the most stable. But I wonder how unstable the other forms are, and if it would be difficult to formulate with.

This is the vegan D3:

http://vitashine-d3.com/

Much more expensive than D2. It's argued to be more effective, and more readily used by the body- but by how much?
There have been over 16000 studies on cyanocobalamin (the most studied type of B12, since the cyano part of it was worrying), and no study found toxicity with people using it (over millions of people); so the fact that it's safe is 100% sure.
It's also the cheapest one, and the one that is best absorbed (also tested).
Of the studies conducted on the other types of B12, no problems found there either.
The problem with taking too much B12, or pure B12, is that it may cause acne. But, unless you have certain conditions, any type of B12 shouldn't cause any problem.
I don't have much else to add. I'm currently using cyanocobalamin because of convenience.

Regarding the difference between D3 and D2, I think this article explains it well enough http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/746941
...Traditionally, oral formulations of vitamin D2 and D3 have long been regarded as equivalent in their clinical activity. However, studies indicate that ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) is much less potent and has a shorter duration of action than cholecalciferol...
...Both ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol produced similar initial increases in serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D over the first 3 days, indicating equivalent absorption. However, levels continued to increase with cholecalciferol and peaked at day 14, whereas levels decreased rapidly with ergocalciferol and were no different from baseline at day 14. The investigators concluded that ergocalciferol potency is less than 30% of that of cholecalciferol and that it has a markedly shorter duration of action...
...In conclusion, ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) are not bioequivalent and should not be considered interchangeable. Although few head-to-head trials exist, based on pharmacokinetic studies and limited clinical evidence, cholecalciferol is preferred over ergocalciferol...
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:34 am

Thanks Energy!
thebestofenergy wrote: The problem with taking too much B12, or pure B12, is that it may cause acne. But, unless you have certain conditions, any type of B12 shouldn't cause any problem.
I haven't heard that one.

Do you have any thoughts on ideal dosage for B-12?
B-12 is basically free, so there's no financial limit on dosage, it just depends on what would be best without side effects.


How about D3 dosage?
That's a little expensive, since only one company makes it and their process is still pretty small.
Vitamin D3 5000 IU (soft gels)
$16.50
Vegetarian Gel Caps. Each cap contains 5000 IU of Vitamin D3. 60 caps per bottle.
$16.50 / (5k IU * 60) = 5.5 ¢ per 1000 IU (ouch)

Assuming a lot of that is packaging and markup, but it's still expensive stuff.


Zinc, B2, and Iodine should all be trivial cost-wise.

The other primary components being Choline, and EPA/DHA

Choline dosage of 550mg would probably take care of anybody:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choline#Ne ... for_humans

Although that level isn't necessary, it's also fairly harmless (at least in the chloride form)

Given this price point: http://www.vrp.com/choline-chloride-16-fl-oz

$17.95 / (925 mg * 96) = 20.2¢ per gram

That would suggest something in the ballpark of 10¢ for choline.


For vegan DHA-EPA, there are fewer sources.

For an easy max price reference:

http://www.amazon.com/Deva-Nutrition-Ve ... B005R5CARY

If using the same dosage (200 mg of combined DHA+EPA), that would be 23.3¢ per the 200 mg.

But here's something interesting:
DEVA DHA and EPA oil is encapsulated in delayed release vegetarian capsules to make sure there is no aftertaste
I wonder how bad it tastes... I wonder if a chewable would taste bad. I know what algae tastes like, and it can be tricky to cover it up. Kind of fishy.

Add ten cents for the misc solid ingredients (creatine, calcium, etc.), and you're a little under 50¢ going by online retail rates.

I feel like, given retail markup, it's probably possible to create a supplement like this with wholesale suppliers for 25¢
Last edited by brimstoneSalad on Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:41 am

I found this:

http://www.veggieboards.com/forum/14-ge ... taste.html

Apparently, quite fishy...

That could be difficult to mask.

I found some research here on masking strong tastes like that (done with regards to fish oil):

http://fishbull.noaa.gov/69-1/jellinek.pdf

These were the best maskers:

spicy-anise
wintergreen
green-grassy
spicy-cassia
spicy-cinnamon

and some of the fruity profiles.

I wonder if a sharper/stronger taste, or a combination, would serve as a better mask though.

It's hard to say if the taste can really be masked in a chewable. And yet, who wants to swallow that many pills, or deal with different bottles of things? Or swallow a huge pill.

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Post by thebestofenergy » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:23 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:
thebestofenergy wrote: The problem with taking too much B12, or pure B12, is that it may cause acne. But, unless you have certain conditions, any type of B12 shouldn't cause any problem.
I haven't heard that one.
This explains the thing about acne http://www.facingacne.com/b12-injection ... -for-acne/
brimstoneSalad wrote:Do you have any thoughts on ideal dosage for B-12?
B-12 is basically free, so there's no financial limit on dosage, it just depends on what would be best without side effects.
The recommendation is 250 mcg of cyanocobalamin daily (about 4 mcg absorbed); the US RDA minimum for Vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg per day for adults, and 2.8 mcg for pregnant or nursing women. More recent studies put the ideal intake at 4-7 mcg per day. For people who make a lot of activity, it is recommended more.
However, if you take too much B12, you pee the one in excess, so there's no problem there.
brimstoneSalad wrote:How about D3 dosage?
That's a little expensive, since only one company makes it and their process is still pretty small.
Vitamin D3 5000 IU (soft gels)
$16.50
Vegetarian Gel Caps. Each cap contains 5000 IU of Vitamin D3. 60 caps per bottle.
$16.50 / (5k IU * 60) = 5.5 ¢ per 1000 IU (ouch)

Assuming a lot of that is packaging and markup, but it's still expensive stuff.
Here in Italy I buy a bottle of D3 that contains 100'000 IU (10'000 IU/ml) for... I actually forgot for how much, but I remember it was not that much. I'll be able to tell the price in a few hours.
The amount of D3 you need daily is 750-1000 IU.
It'd be better if you use D3 over D2; D2 is far inferior (you can see tons of articles about this on Google).
brimstoneSalad wrote:Zinc, B2, and Iodine should all be trivial cost-wise.

The other primary components being Choline, and EPA/DHA

Choline dosage of 550mg would probably take care of anybody:
Although that level isn't necessary, it's also fairly harmless (at least in the chloride form)

Given this price point: http://www.vrp.com/choline-chloride-16-fl-oz

$17.95 / (925 mg * 96) = 20.2¢ per gram

That would suggest something in the ballpark of 10¢ for choline.


For vegan DHA-EPA, there are fewer sources.

For an easy max price reference:

http://www.amazon.com/Deva-Nutrition-Ve ... B005R5CARY

If using the same dosage (200 mg of combined DHA+EPA), that would be 23.3¢ per the 200 mg.

But here's something interesting:
DEVA DHA and EPA oil is encapsulated in delayed release vegetarian capsules to make sure there is no aftertaste
I wonder how bad it tastes... I wonder if a chewable would taste bad. I know what algae tastes like, and it can be tricky to cover it up. Kind of fishy.

Add ten cents for the misc solid ingredients (creatine, calcium, etc.), and you're a little under 50¢ going by online retail rates.

I feel like, given retail markup, it's probably possible to create a supplement like this with wholesale suppliers for 25¢
If you have a healthy diet rich of omega3 (which is transformed in EPA/DHA in the body http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid), you don't need any EPA/DHA supplement. You take ALA from vegan sources of omega3, which then your body can convert into EPA and DHA (altough, this ability to convert could be compromised with age; if your body can't convert properly, and you can see that by testing if you're EPA/DHA deficient, you should take supplements). Otherwise, algae is an excellent resource for DHA (but not quite for EPA).
The U.S. News and World Report article suggests combining DHA-rich algae with ALA-rich plant sources that the body converts into EPA to get the proper ratio of omega-3 fatty acids.
Regarding Choline, you can have enough of it with a correct diet http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/choline
Same goes for Zinc (http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/zinc
Protein increases zinc absorption. Because of this, foods high in protein and zinc, such as legumes and nuts, are good choices. The leavening of bread (most bread is leavened) and fermenting of soyfoods (tempeh and miso) also enhances zinc absorption
), B2 (soybeans, tempeh, almond and dark leafy greens are great, particularly spinach in the last ones) and iodine (there are good sources for iodine, like seaweed, of course, and baked potatoes ; one medium potato provides about 40% of the recommended daily amount of iodine. 1 medium potato has 60 micrograms of iodine (40% DV), 161 calories; dried seaweed is excellent: a quarter-ounce serving contains 4,500 micrograms of iodine (3000% DV), which is incredible, in fact I currently use those for omega3 and iodine sources; and let's not forget about iodized salt, 1 gram has 51% DV).

I currently don't take supplements for these.
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:50 pm

That's interesting, thanks for the link. Sounds like that just happens with some of the mega-dose injections.
thebestofenergy wrote: The recommendation is 250 mcg of cyanocobalamin daily (about 4 mcg absorbed)
That's something that gets me: so little is absorbed, yet these vitamin companies are happy to claim they have 100% of the daily RDI for B-12 when they only have less than 10mcg.

Even those Deva ones are pushing the boundary of barely enough; with only 100 mcg (of course, a larger percentage is likely absorbed as the system increases uptake to compensate, but that's like bare bones).
thebestofenergy wrote: More recent studies put the ideal intake at 4-7 mcg per day. For people who make a lot of activity, it is recommended more.
Any idea what kind of intake is needed to reach 7 mcg, since it's non-linear?
Maybe 600 mcg?
thebestofenergy wrote: Here in Italy I buy a bottle of D3 that contains 100'000 IU (10'000 IU/ml) for... I actually forgot for how much, but I remember it was not that much. I'll be able to tell the price in a few hours.
The amount of D3 you need daily is 750-1000 IU.
Cool, 1,000 was about what I was thinking from past research.
At least D doesn't have much of a taste, so it's easy to include that :)
thebestofenergy wrote: If you have a healthy diet rich of omega3 (which is transformed in EPA/DHA in the body http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid), you don't need any EPA/DHA supplement. You take ALA from vegan sources of omega3, which then your body can convert into EPA and DHA (altough, this ability to convert could be compromised with age; if your body can't convert properly, and you can see that by testing if you're EPA/DHA deficient, you should take supplements). Otherwise, algae is an excellent resource for DHA (but not quite for EPA).
The U.S. News and World Report article suggests combining DHA-rich algae with ALA-rich plant sources that the body converts into EPA to get the proper ratio of omega-3 fatty acids.
Yeah. For ME it's not a big problem, because I avoid too many Omega 6 rich foods. I don't supplement on any of that- I use olive and canola oil.

But, it doesn't hurt to supplement, and I want to be able to have a vitamin that I know I can afford to eat a little junk food on now and then if I need to; and something I can recommend to others, who might be junk food vegans, or not understand the whole Omege3:6 ratio concept.

See the link in the last post I made- that person was talking about how she eats way too much Omega 6, but isn't willing to change her diet. I don't want people like that to get sick.

It's much easier to say "take this" rather than teach somebody nutritional science, or convince somebody who knows nutritional science but is obsessed with junk food to change his or her diet... I've known people who knowingly eat themselves to death.

But at the same time... if it tastes really bad, people won't take it, so including it would be counter-productive if that issue can't be solved.
thebestofenergy wrote: Regarding Choline, you can have enough of it with a correct diet[...]Same goes for Zinc[...]B2[...]iodine[...]
I currently don't take supplements for these.
Choline isn't actually as easy, unless you eat a lot of soy and cruciferous vegetables.
I tend to eat a lot of soy, so I probably get enough most of the time. I could afford to get more, though- as can most people.

Zinc, B2, iodine... that's all true.
A carefully planned vegan diet can provide everything except B-12. BUT that's not the point of a multivitamin.
A multivitamin is back up, it's a safety net that helps prevent malnutrition when you fall short of that carefully planned diet.
If I'm a poor college student and I eat ramen for a month, I'll almost keel over dead... but ramen and something like this... and I might live to see the next paycheck.

This wouldn't be needed or useful for people eating the ideal vegan diet. But for the rest, and that is most, vegans who eat less than an ideal diet, it could make a big difference.

The point of a genuinely useful vegan multivitamin is to have something to recommend to people who aren't eating the perfect diet, and something that can make that more sustainable and prevent serious nutritional problems down the line.

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