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Do you take USANA supplements?

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Wednesday, May 6th 2009

From the desk of Leanne James Naturopath and Health Coach

I have many customers who have told me that they have swapped from the products I have recommended to them, to take Usana Essentials.  

Many have pointed out the book “Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements” written by Lyle McWilliam, which introduces the “Blended standard”, a nutritional benchmark the author created, based on the independent recommendations of seven scientific authorities.   They used this Blended standard to compare other nutritional supplements to.  When I looked into this, I found that the author and a number of the scientific authorities are on the advisory board of USANA.  I wonder how this “benchmark” is independent, when the author is on the medical advisory board?  Doesn’t this mean they are employees of USANA?

When people talk to me about USANA, the main point they all seem to be “sold on” is that USANA products are pharmaceutical grade.  Their web site states that they “voluntarily meet Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for pharmaceutical-grade products”.  

I believe that you come to Ideal Health because you trust that I will recommend high quality products to you, which are specific for your nutritional needs as a New Zealander; as well as for the health complaint you experience.  

I would like to make you aware that ALL of my main suppliers are GMP certified companies, who manufacture their own supplements to pharmaceutical grade.  My own range of products Xcel health, are manufactured in a GMP certified, New Zealand owned company, to pharmaceutical grade.  So why would you swap to USANA and pay the high price that they ask for these product, when the main selling point is that they are pharmaceutical grade?

So let’s have a look at the products.  When I look at the ingredients of USANA Essentials the first thing I notice is that the ingredients are based on taking three tablets, not on one.  I always wonder why a company does this, making out that the product is much stronger than it really is, by saying Three Tablets Contain, not Each One Tablet contains.  I personally find this very deceptive.  

Lets look at the USANA MultiMineral.  The label states that each 3 tablets contain 270mg of calcium.  So this means that each one tablet is providing you with 90mg of calcium.  All New Zealanders over the age of 7 years need no less than 800mg of calcium per day.  So even taking the 3 tablets a day as suggested by USANA, you are only getting 1/3 of your daily calcium intake.  Our soils in NZ are deficient in zinc, selenium and boron.  Boron is essential for proper calcium absorption, yet it is not contained in this product or in the USANA Mega Antioxidant.  The MultiMineral does contain some good forms of ingredients, however they are in such small amounts it makes this product one of the most expensive I have seen.  Now you may be saying “But the price is not the issue, I want a quality product”.  We stock many high quality, pharmaceutical grade, GMP manufactured New Zealand made nutritional supplements that you do not need a second mortgage to purchase.  

For example, Nutralife Super Calcium Complete comes in 120 tablets for $39.95.  Each one tablet provides 250mg of calcium as well as all the co factors needed to absorb the calcium; such as magnesium, zinc & boron to name a few.  Nutralife use exactly the same form of calcium as is used in the USANA MultiMineral.  So this means if you take 3 tablets a day of the Super Calcium Complete (the same dosage that is recommended by USANA with their MultiMineral) you are getting just over your recommended daily amount of 750mg of calcium a day, not just 270mg as found in 3 of the USANA MultiMineral.   

Let’s look at the USANA Mega Antioxidant.  The label tells us that this product is “A multivitamin supplement to help prevent and treat dietary deficiencies, and to assist in maintaining general well being.  Also contains antioxidants and free radical scavengers.”  Again if we look at the label, we see that the dosage is based on 3 tablets not 1 tablet.

Let’s look at the B vitamins, as this is what most multivitamins are about.  These are the levels of some of the B Vitamins per 3 tablets; 27mg of Vit B1, B2 & B6, 60mcg (micrograms) B12 & 500mcg Folic Acid.  Now remember we have to divide these amounts by 3 to get the true level of nutrients contained in the 1 tablet.  This means that in the 1 tablet you get 9mg of Vitamin B1, B2 & B6.  This really isn’t very much at all.

This product contains some natural antioxidants, which are always needed and are a welcome addition to any health regime.  Contained in 3 tablets we find 15mg of alpha lipoic acid, 12mg of CoQ10 & 15mg of broccoli flower powder.  Then there is the addition of bilberry extract, which is the equivalent to 99mg of fresh fruit, tomato extract, which is the equivalent to 99mg of dry fruit & turmeric extract, which is the equivalent to 750mg of dry root.  Remember you need to divide these amounts by 3, to get the true level of these ingredients contained in the 1 tablet.  Also the way these herbal antioxidant additions are listed, it makes them sound like you are getting a 99mg extract: however this is not what the label is stating at all.  It is saying that it contains an extract of, say, Bilberry, that is equivalent to 99mg of the fresh fruit.  When you think about this, remembering you have to divide this amount by 3, this really is a very small amount indeed.

I believe we all need to take a multivitamin every day and I also like to take an antioxidant too.  I have formulated my own multivitamin, MultiVite, which is made in a GMP pharmaceutical company here in New Zealand.  When I was formulating this, I ensured that I used the most absorbable forms of nutrients available and chose the highest quality available.  I took into consideration our soil depletion here in New Zealand, with our low levels of zinc, selenium and boron and added these into the product, in adequate amounts.  Each 1 tablet contains 25mg of each of your main B Vitamins, with 50mcg of selenium, 10mg of zinc and 1mg of boron.  I ensured this product was suitable for all people including pregnant women and those who are vegetarians.  This comes in 2 month supply (60 tablets) for $41.95.

One of my favourite antioxidants is AntiOx Excel.  Each 1 tablet contains 112.5mg of Resveratrol, 7.25 grams of Grape seed, with equivalent procyanidins of 57.4mg, 500mg of Ginkgo biloba, 1.25 grams of Milk thistle, as well as a number of other antioxidants such as lycopene & blueberry, 100mcg of selenium, Vitamin A, B2, Taurine, rutin and Vitamin C.  This comes in 60 capsules, at a 1 a day dosage - so a 2 month supply for $51.95..  

If you are serious about taking the right supplements and not having to take out a second mortgage, then my suggestion would be to take these three products suggested above, Nutralife Super Calcium Complete, Xcel Health MultiVite and our favourite antioxidant combination AntiOx Excel.  Not only will you be getting more of a therapeutic dosage of the ingredients contained in these products, they are affordable to continue to take on a long term basis.  An added bonus is they are all from New Zealand & Australia, and take into consideration our soil depletion here in New Zealand.  

Written by Leanne James Naturopath, Health Coach and Founder of Ideal Health

You can contact the author of this article for further information on 0800 HEALTH email

The following products are all useful for Wellbeing:

5-HTP 120mg
Clean Lean Protein
Enzogenol with ACE and Selenium
Enzogenol 120mg
Hi Strength Liquid Fish Oil
Ginseng 5 Exhaustion Relief
Good Green Stuff
Multi Power
Opti CoQ10 150mg
Lecithin 1200
Pure Vitality Deer Velvet
Recharge & Relax
Super B Daily Stress + B
Superior Magnesium
Super Multi Plus
Superior Iron

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The Good Health Diet

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If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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