Too much of a good thing. These mega vitamins gave me mega side effects
Nov 1, 2006
Review by Patty Therre
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Scientifically formulated (or so they say), lots of good for you stuff
Cons:Strong odor, can cause shakiness, nausea, heart palpitations, strong urine odor. Very expensive.
The Bottom Line: Some people swear by these but I had many side effects that caused me to discontinue taking them. They may work for you, though. Start slowly for best results.
I am not a fan of super mega doses of vitamins. I actually only took any type of vitamins when I was pregnant. I just never bothered otherwise. About 18 months ago, I started to experience severe vertigo spells. I was scared to death. I was convinced I had Meniere's Disease, which is a specific disorder of the ear that causes sometimes debilitating vertigo spells and hearing loss. To make a long story short, searches on the net brought me to a site that talked about "miracle vitamins" that cured or greatly reduced vertigo and Meniere's Disease and made people feel fantastic.
Recommend this product?
After speaking with the person who ran the site, I decided to try the vitamins. The line up of what I was supposed to take was quite long but I started with USANA Essentials which are potent vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. VERY potent.
I didn't stop to think about the fact that I had to go through this person who suggested them in order to buy these vitamins nor did I think about the high cost. I wanted to get better and I was willing to try vitamin therapy since nothing else worked.
My first box came and I was excited to start my new regiment. I knew I needed to take vitamins as an overall health step but these were more than just vitamins. These were supercharged healing miracle vitamins!
Well, I know they work well for many people but unfortunately, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I was forced to stop taking the vitamins due to the side effects they caused me.
What is USANA?
This company doesn't sell to the public per se. That is, you can't just go to their site and order what you want. You have to go through a representative who will set you up with an account. If you don't do that, you can't access much of the site. Obviously, the rep is making a commission by referring people to the site and keeping them buying these pricey vitamins.
But don't think these vitamins are just a gimmick. They were developed by Dr. Myron Wentz. Who is that? According to the USANA site: "Dr. Wentz obtained his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of Utah. He holds a master's degree in microbiology from the University of North Dakota and a bachelor's degree in biology from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois."
The site also tells us that USANA Health Sciences, Inc. is a direct selling company. Independent Associates distribute and sell scientifically-based nutritional supplements personal care products.
What are the Essentials?
This duo is recommended to everyone to start. Then you add on specific vitamins, minerals, and other products that you need. The formula in the Essentials is supposed to be well, essential, to good health. The add ons, of which there are many, are designed to target specific problems and health issues and supplement the Essentials regiment.
The USANA Essentials come in a dual chambered box. Inside are two bottles. One bottle contains Mega Antioxidants which the site touts as "a balanced, high-potency blend of 30 vitamins, antioxidants, and other important nutrients to support cellular metabolism* and to counteract free-radical damage."
The second bottle contains Chelated Minerals. The site says this about them: "A complete spectrum of essential minerals, in balanced, highly bioavailable forms."
Each plastic bottle contains 84 caplets. The tops are not childproof so be sure to keep them out of reach of kids. They simply screw off and on (The caps, not kids!). The Antioxidants are large oblong brown caplets and the Minerals are larger yellow oblong caplets.
They stink to high heaven. Most vitamins have a "vitamin smell" but these will knock you over and just wait until you use the bathroom. Whew. The vitamin scent is so strong, it is embarrassing!
The backs of each bottle have the ingredients lists in tiny print.
What is in This Stuff?
More to the point, what isn't? These vitamins have tons of stuff in huge quantities. I hate to use up so much space replicating the label but you should know what is in each bottle so here goes.
Serving Size: 3 Tablets
Amount per serving %DV*
VITAMIN A (AS BETA CAROTENE) 15000.0 IU 300%
VITAMIN C (AS CALCIUM, POTASSIUM, MAGNESIUM, & ZINC ASCORBATES) 1300.0 mg 2170%
VITAMIN D (AS CHOLECALCIFEROL) 450.0 IU 110%
VITAMIN E (AS D-ALPHA TOCOPHERYL SUCCINATE) 450.0 IU 1500%
VITAMIN K (AS PHYLLOQUINONE) 60.0 mc 75%
VITAMIN B1 (AS THIAMINE HCL) 27.0 mg 1800%
RIBOFLAVIN 27.0 mg 1590%
NIACIN (AS NIACIN AND NIACINIMIDE) 40.0 mg 200%
VITAMIN B6 (AS PYRIDOXINE HCL) 27.0 mg 1350%
FOLATE (AS FOLIC ACID) 1000.0 mcg 250%
VITAMIN B12 (AS CYANOCOBALAMIN) 60.0 mcg 1000%
BIOTIN 300.0 mcg 100%
PANTOTHENIC ACID (AS D-CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE) 90.0 mg 900%
BROMELAIN 50.0 mg
Olivol (Olive Extract, Olea Europaea L., Fruit) 30.0 mg
BIOFLAVONOID COMPLEX (RUTIN, QUERCETIN, HESPERIDIN [CITRUS SPP. L., FRUIT], GREEN TEA EXTRACT-DECAFFEINATED [CAMILLIA SINENSIS HUNT, LEAVES], BILLBERRY EXTRACT [VACCINIUM MYRTILLUS L., FRUIT]) 193.0 mg
INOSITOL 150.0 mg
CHOLINE BITARTRATE 100.0 mg
N-ACETYL-L-CYSTEINE 65.0 mg
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID 15.0 mg
COENZYME Q10 12.0 mg
GLUTATHIONE 10.0 mg
CURCUMIN EXTRACT (CURCUMA LONGA L., ROOT) 15.0 mg
LUTEIN (TAGETES ERECTA L., FLOWER) 600.0 mcg
LYCOPENE 1.0 mg
BROCCOLI CONCENTRATE (BRASSICA OLERACEA V. BOTRYTIS L., FLOWER) 15.0 mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Daily value not established.
OTHER INGREDIENTS: MICROCRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE, PREGELATINIZED STARCH, CROSCARMELLOSE SODIUM, DEXTRIN, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, COLLOIDAL SILICON DIOXIDE, DEXTROSE.
Serving Size: 3 Tablets
Amount per serving %DV*
CALCIUM (AS CALCIUM CITRATE) 270.0 mg 30%
MAGNESIUM (AS MAGNESIUM CITRATE, AMINO ACID CHELATE, AND OXIDE) 300.0 mg 75%
IODINE (AS POTASSIUM IODIDE) 225.0 mcg 150%
ZINC (AS ZINC CITRATE) 20.0 mg 135%
SELENIUM (AS L-SELENOMETHIONINE AND AMINO ACID COMPLEX) 200.0 mcg 285%
COPPER (AS COPPER GLUCONATE) 3.0 mg 150%
MANGANESE (AS MANGANESE GLUCONATE) 5.1 mg 255%
CHROMIUM (AS CHROMIUM PICOLINATE** AND POLYNICOTINATE) 300.0 µG 250%
MOLYBDENUM (AS MOLYBDENUM CITRATE) 50.0 mcg 65%
BORON (AS BORON CITRATE) 3.0 mg
SILICON (AS AMINO ACID COMPLEX) 3.0 mg
VANADIUM (AS VANADYL SULFATE) 30.0 mcg
ULTRA TRACE MINERALS 3.0 mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Daily value not established.
** Licensed under U.S. Patent 4,315,927.
OTHER INGREDIENTS: MICROCRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE, PREGELATINIZED STARCH, CROSCARMELLOSE SODIUM, COLLOIDAL SILICON DIOXIDE, ASCORBYL PALMITATE, DEXTRIN, DEXTROSE.
I was not thrilled with having to take six pills a day and that didn't count the extra calcium, iron, and a few other added supplements I was supposed to take daily. Because I don't always eat three meals a day and, when I do, often they are quite small (I am a grazer), I worried about stomach upset.
I started right out taking one each with every meal or snack, making sure several hours passed between doses.
The vitamin scent was nauseating. But if they made me feel better, that was a tiny price to pay.
It was recommended that I start out slowly and take one set of the pills a day then build up to three. WHY? They're vitamins not some sort of exotic medication.
I should have listened.
After two days of taking the vitamins three times a day, I noticed my heart would race after taking them and I felt shaky. My stomach was queasy and I kind of felt blah.
Just as all that was going away, it was time for the next dose.
I continued on, enduing intense heart pounding, nausea, and shakiness for two weeks. Finally, I wrote to my representative and was told to scale back and take one set for a week, two for another week, and then go back to taking three sets.
I did and still felt shaky after taking them. The intensity was lessened though when taking one set a day.
All this time, my urine was orange and smelled just like strong vitamins. It was really quite sickening.
I had a regular appointment with my family doctor and brought the vitamins with me. He looked over the ingredients list and bluntly told me I would "just pee out most of the vitamins" and, as long as they didn't bother my stomach or cause me any ill effects, they probably couldn't hurt. He was a bit concerned with the high dose of Vitamin E, however, as studies show that more than 400% can actually be harmful, not helpful, to your health.
When I got back up to three sets of the Essentials a day, the heart palpitations were crazy. Crazy enough that my doctor sent me to a cardiologist after listening to my heartbeat during one of my now familiar heart pounding spells.
My heart was fine, thankfully, but the doctors felt that the immensely high concentration of B vitamins might be causing the problems. Apparently, B vitamins are good for energy but too much can cause the symptoms I was having.
As an aside, my vertigo was not relieved at all during this time and I certainly didn't feel better than I had before I started taking the Essentials.
You must make an initial order through a USANA representative. You will then get a log on name and password to see all their other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and add ons as well as fiber bars and shakes. And the startling prices. You can make orders through your rep or on the site with your log in info. Your rep continues to get a commission each time you buy, I believe.
They have an autoship program that brings the high prices down a bit and assures that you will have whatever supplements you choose on your doorstep just as you are running out of your old ones.
Prices are high! I can't recall the exact price I paid for the Essentials and there are no prices available to the public. My log on was deactivated when I cancelled my autoship orders so I can't log onto the site to see the latest cost. These 28 day supplies are at least double or triple the cost of any vitamins I have seen sold, even mega vitamins from very reputable dealers. I am thinking they were around $40.00 - $50.00 a month. I did write to the company for a price list and they never responded.
USANA United States
3838 West Parkway Boulevard
Salt Lake City, UT 84120
Dist. Services Tel: 801-954-7200
Order Expr: 1-888-950-9595
TTY English: 1-888-448-7262
Well, I wanted these supplements to work. I really did. I hung in as long as I could but the side effects were just too severe to continue taking them. Heart palpitations, nausea, shakiness, and other, lesser effects, just weren't worth taking very expensive supplements that my doctor said I would just urinate out for the most part.
USANA has a good reputation and they claim that their products are scientifically superior to mainstream supplements. They're expensive and very potent.
For me, the Essentials were simply too potent for my system. I didn't need 1800% of the recommended dosage of B1 or 2170% of Vitamin C. It was just too much! Most of the soluble substances were flushed down the toilet anyway and the high doses caused me undesirable side effects that I never want to experience again.
Many people can take the Essentials with no ill effects at all. I am not one of them. I highly suggest, before you spend a lot of money on these, that you ask about a refund if your system acts up like mine. These are very costly and I am not so sure they are of any more benefit than lower dose supplements.
I give these a generous 3 stars. They are expensive, hard to obtain, a pain to take (A total of six a day not counting any extras you add in to round out your daily needs.), hard to swallow (Big horse pills), smelly in the bottle and in the bowl, and can cause side effects like I described.
However, they do work for some others as I saw testimonials that I believe were real from the group I joined for Meniere's Disease patients. I don't have the disease as I thought and the vertigo spells slowly dissipated on their own and only come and go now (due to my ears). Had I stayed on The Essentials, I would have strongly believed they were responsible for the waning of the vertigo spells.
At any rate, like I said, I give these 3 stars although they were 1 star supplements for me. I hesitantly recommend them to those who like mega doses of vitamins, minerals, and anti oxidants. They may make you feel great but I highly suspect a lot of the supplements (and your money) get flushed down the toilet as my doctor suggested.
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