What it is: USANA Health Sciences has been in the direct sales market since 1992. I've been approached by reps in the past to check out their products, and have always declined. Until I ran into a dietitian selling them, and read her story about how her family eats well, but these supplements really increased their energy level. I trust dietitians. I'm also a tired mom - who doesn't want more energy?! So I thought it couldn't hurt to finally try out their multivitamins for myself.
The Mega Antioxidant and Multimineral Plus is the USANA multivitamin mix. It comes in 2 bottles and you take 2 pills from each, twice a day.
Pros: 1) Consumerlab.com has independent ratings of vitamins. They test that the supplement contains the amount of ingredient it claims, that the vitamin disintegrates and that the supplement wasn't lead contaminated (none were, except one supplement for pets). USANA was approved (although it exceeds the Upper Limit for niacin and folic acid). As far as I've heard, these supplements have a good reputation.
2) The USANA supplements also contain 800IU Vitamin D per day, which is higher than more multivitamins. The dietary reference intake is 600 IU per day for adults. I generally recommend about 1000 IU per day for adults (at least in the winter), as it may be linked to prevention of autoimmune disorders, cancer and osteoporosis.
3) The Mega Antioxidant supplement contains some unique ingredients like olive fruit extract, green tea leaf extract, bilberry fruit extract, turmeric, and lycopene. These are unique ingredients in a multivitamin, and provide antioxidants. Turmeric is known as an anti-inflammatory and lycopene for possibly helping prevent prostate cancer.
Cons: 1) As mentioned by Consumerlab.com, the folic acid and niacin in these multivitamins are above the Upper Limit for the day. The folic acid level is 1000 ug/day, which is exactly the upper limit you don't want to go beyond. I would like to see the folic acid at lower levels. Higher intakes can mask vitamin B12 deficiencies (more of a concern for the elderly), and the research seems back and forth and inconclusive whether higher doses can promote cancer.
2) I understand why there is no iron in the Multimineral Plus, so this is really just a personal 'con.' Men don't need extra iron. I do. Although I could add that as an additional supplement.
3) Cost. Consumerlab.com lists costs of supplements, which is $1.82/day for this Usana duo. As a comparison, Kirkland multivitamins were also approved, without exceeding any ULs. And cost 0.04 cents per day.
4) Eight pills a day is a lot to swallow. Although they aren't huge, and don't get stuck in your throat like some others I've tried. But it's enough for most people to remember to take supplements once per day, much less twice.
My USANA trial: I was fairly proud of myself for remembering to take these pills twice daily for a month. And for my energy levels? I felt they did slightly increase. Not enough to prevent me from wanting that afternoon nap, but maybe.....30% higher than normal, if I had to pick a number. Which I haven't experienced from a multivitamin before. Why might this be? I don't think it's the B vitamins, as I can tell I peed most of those out (TMI?!). Maybe the green tea leaf extract? I would continue to take this supplement as a multivitamin, although I think the cost may be prohibitive long-term. Have you tried these Usana supplements? What do you think?