It’s a wonderful privilege to live in America and be able to shop freely for products that we want or need. It’s also a privilege to be able to afford these items. That being said, there are often just too many choices. And, on top of the plethora of choices, there are online reviews of almost every product; sometimes these reviews are helpful, and sometimes they are daunting.
This morning, I was shopping online for a children’s gummy multivitamin that includes enough Iron, Calcium and Vitamin D to make it worth the battle with my kids that invariably comes when it’s time for vitamins. Spoiler alert: said vitamin doesn’t exist. As I was searching, I clicked on one of the customer’s reviews of a vitamin that looked like a good possibility. Here is what he or she wrote:
“My kids like the taste of these but after I found out I have the MTHFR & MTRR mutation and became educated on the different forms of folate and B12, I will never feed these to my kids again. They contain folic acid, you want folate. Folate is easier for the body to absorb since the body doesn’t have to convert it from folic acid to folate. They also contain cyanocobalamin, you want methylcobalamin. Again, this is the usable form and the body doesn’t have to convert it to use. For someone with genetic mutations, it is very important to bypass the conversion that is not working properly.”
Insert crumply face with tears. Now, in addition to trying to find a vitamin, I also have to figure out what the fuck the MTHFR and MTRR mutations are and then decide if we all have to be tested. That’s item 86 on my “to do” list, by the way. And what are cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin? Do I need to speak to the pediatrician about this? I don’t want to do any more research! I just want a damn multivitamin. Why does everything have to be so complicated?
But it gets worse. I decide to go down the rabbit hole and read the responses to this person’s review. Because I’m a glutton for punishment. Here is the original reviewer’s second comment, in response to another person asking which vitamins he or she would recommend:
“I like [ ] and [ ]. Both contain methylated forms of the B vitamins. They are capsules, so you open them up and sprinkle the powder into food if your child can’t swallow them [My comment: if you visualize this, it’s creepy…picture an after school special about kidnapping]. We don’t do the full dose of 6 capsules either. [ ] gummies contain the methylated forms if you prefer a gummy. If your child has never taken methylated forms, I would start with only a partial dose and slowly work up. The B vitamins, especially the readily absorbable methylated forms, can be stimulating.”
Ok. First of all, how does she know that “B vitamins, especially the readily absorbable methylated forms” can be stimulating? And why don’t I know that? I’m educated. I interact with adults offline. I take my kids to the pediatrician. Am I supposed to know all of this? It’s just too much. Second of all, I feel like I’m 50 steps behind [Note: might be a funny mom parody of 50 Shades of Grey]. I’m still trying to figure out if folic acid is the same as iron, and why exactly it’s different from folate, and whether it really matters. I might need to go to medical school just so that I can buy a vitamin for my kids. This seems wrong. But don’t I have an obligation to my kids to look into all of this? Please say no.
Now, of course, I had to keep reading the reviews because they sucked me in like a bad network drama. By far, here is my favorite review from this batch. It’s entitled “The Best (after a lot of Research)”:
“I have spent much time researching vitamins for my kids (ages 7 and 8). [Note: I have spent one hour and I want to cry.]
First, they must be organic. Nothing added that isn’t necessary or doesn’t add value (so NO magnesium stearate, which is banned in the UK because of its toxicity–why do they use it as a filler for so many vitamins in the United Sates?). Nothing artificial.
This product contains no yeast, wheat, milk, eggs, soy, salt, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, allergens, gluten, casein, gelatin, artificial flavors, artificial colors, salicylates, or preservatives.
And it does not contain GMOs (as are readily found in corn products [and soy and papaya and many other foods now]). We need to be very concerned with GMOs (genetically modified organisms that insidiously find their way into everyday foods that we feed our family–and there is no way to know if they are in there unless the product is organic–and they ARE in about 80% of our [nonorganic] food–scary). One last thing about GMOs–they cause sterility in 4th generation rats. GMOs haven’t been around for long enough for studies to show their ill effects on us but by the time they do, it’ll be too late. Off the soapbox I go. Sorry.
In any case, no GMOs in this product 🙂
My kids really like the flavor of these. They are coated in sugar. I initially had a problem with that but I got over it because they’re not white with sugar. Plus, I roll the around in my hand before I give them to my kids. this gets rid of some of the sugar. And of course, the sugar adds to their palatability.”
Now full panic has set in. There are too many things to worry about, from this one review alone! Dear God, please send me a multivitamin that does not cause sterility in 4th generation rats. Although, God, between you and me, Earth might not be around in another 4 generations, am I right?
But back to the second review…I just find it hilarious that the same person who seems to be an expert on GMOs, allergies, and preservatives thinks it’s ok that the vitamins are coated in sugar. Because sugar makes things taste good. Obviously. But it’s also the devil. According to my doctor, studies show that sugar is more physiologically addictive than heroin. I don’t know…that sounds worse than being nonorganic. But what do I know?
After an hour of my life lost on this project, my final question for Google is “I have lost my mind–do you know where I can find it?” I bet if I asked Siri, she would have some interesting answers.
P.S. I still haven’t ordered vitamins, and I’m about to curl up in fetal position in the corner and suck my thumb. Come find me when you have a suggestion about which vitamins I should buy, preferably with a link to Amazon. Must be ✔️Prime.