Multi-vitamins are the bread-and-butter of the wellness sector; problem is many of the “multis” out there might as well be made from bread and butter for all the nutrient value they deliver.

Most multi-vitamins on the market are made from isolated synthetics (some are petroleum by-products) that are so far-removed from the food chain that they are nothing more than industrially-produced chemicals. It’s a truism that the bio-availability of nutrients from synthetics is far, far below that of real foods; not surprising because the body hardly recognises them.

As we move increasingly towards a fuller understanding of the true value of whole-foods (especially organic foods), the idea of pumping our bodies full of synthetics seems, well, like using a typewriter in the digital age. The (nutritional) world has moved on and that tired old criticism from the orthodox medical fraternity that vitamin supplements are nothing but expensive urine is a lot closer to the bone than many in our sector would like to admit.

For some years now we have been distributing the Garden of Life range of supplements from the USA. I recently received an update on their Living Multi supplement and it made me realise how far ahead Garden of Life is in the field of extracting and delivering concentrated, natural, body-ready supplementation. It’s not about so-called “food-state” technology, which wraps synthetic vitamins with foods to (try and) fool the body, it’s about embracing the organic, wholefood paradigm from start to finish.

Garden of Life use no synthetics, only wholefoods. They use natural enzymes/fermentation to break down the foods and release the phyto-nutrients. The process pre-digests the nutrients to ensure maximum bioavailability.

Their Living Multi has a whopping 76 wholefood concentrates and botanicals, almost all of them certified organic. These range from anti-oxidant rich fruits (including acerola, pomegranate, grape seed extract, black currants and white cherries, to name a few), a sea vegetable blend of spirulina, chlorella, red algae and others, a tonic mushroom blend (several beta-glucan rich fungi), a fermented vegetable juice blend (over 30 different veggies); a mix of anti-oxidant spices (turmeric, rosemary, ginger, thyme, green tea) and finally a good dose of probiotic cultures.

I know that’s a real mouthful – but it clearly illustrates the difference between a “living” multi and all those “dead”, synthetic multi-vitamins out there.

Because the product is wholefood based, it’s impossible to concentrate the nutrients into a one/two-a-day supplement. The daily dosages, or should I say servings, of Living Multi, are high: 9 capsules, but in return Living Multi truly delivers in terms of potency, for example:

200% of the Daily Value of Vitamin A
50% of the Daily Value of Vitamin D
150% of the Daily Value of Vitamin E
150% of the Daily Value of Vitamin C
800% of the Daily Value of Vitamin B12
300% of the Daily Value of Vitamins B1,B2 and B3
100% of the Daily Value of Zinc …

The ORAC value per dose of Living Multi – a measure of its anti-oxidant potential – is equivalent to 5 servings of fruit/veggies.

All this comes at a price. But it seems to me that trying to compare value between such a nutrient-dense, organic, wholefood multi that the body recognises and can put to use, with a multi made from isolated, synthetic chemicals, is like comparing apples with vinegar.

You can read more about Living Multi and other Garden of Life products at

– Bruce Cohen