The best way to meet your nutrient needs is to eat a variety of healthy foods. While a ”food first” approach is important, sometimes life gets in the way. Busy schedules may lead to skipped meals, picky eating habits may make for limited diets, or dietary restrictions may make it difficult to cover your nutritional bases. For cases like these, multivitamins are helpful. Think of them as a nutritional insurance policy.
Choosing a high-quality vitamin is important. “Whole-food” vitamins are popular right now. The nutrients in these products are derived from food rather than nutrient extracts. Whole-food vitamins are made by putting a bunch of nutrient-dense foods into a stainless steel tank, then introducing a live bacteria culture that feeds on the food. This process creates a food-like matrix that’s then made into tablets.
Whole-food vitamins come with pros and cons. On one hand, they tend to be well tolerated and well absorbed. On the other hand, this food-like matrix is expensive to produce, leading to pricy bottles of vitamins. The matrix is also very bulky, which limits the amount of nutrients manufacturers can fit in a single tablet. The extra bulk results in very large tablets, or tablets with fewer nutrients.
Rainbow Light was one of the first companies to make a whole-food vitamin 20 years ago. While some of these products are still available, the company sought to make a more potent, more affordable product. So they shifted their focus to “food-based” rather than “whole-food”.
Food-based formulas are somewhere in between a whole-food vitamin and a vitamin that uses nutrient extracts, like Centrum, for example. The ‘base’ is mix of spirulina, a botanical blend, and a food-like matrix similar to that of a whole-food vitamin. But they still use extracts to help get nutrient amounts up to desired levels. As a result, food-based formulas like Rainbow Light have higher potencies of nutrients, while keeping the size of the tablet reasonable. For example, you’ll be hard pressed to find a whole-food multivitamin vitamin with calcium in it (personally, I’ve looked far and wide) because calcium is a bulky nutrient and manufacturers aren’t able to fit it in a whole-food tablet. Rainbow Light’s Women’s One multivitamin, on the other hand, has 20% of the daily value of calcium—more than what’s in a serving a dairy.
Not only are Rainbow Light products more nutrient-dense and easier to swallow than whole-food products, they’re also less expensive and more stable. They use reputable manufacturing practices, too. All Rainbow Light products are tested by third-party labs to verify that what's on the label is in the bottle, and that the products are free of heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.
Rainbow Light vitamins are now available at all Sunset locations.