Introducing Multi Female and Multi Male: Two Low-Acid Multivitamins without B6!
Following on from our series of blog posts about multivitamins, I am delighted to announce the launch of two new Tiny Pioneer multivitamin products: Multi Female and Multi Male. They are low-acid multivitamins without B6, suitable for use by individuals with interstitial cystitis, painful bladder syndrome, or acid sensitivity. I believe them to be the first gender-specific low-acid multivitamins without B6 in the world, so I am rather excited about them! In this month’s blog post, I want to tell you all about them.
Both products are comprehensive, high-potency products for those who want optimum levels of key vitamins and minerals. As a consumer, I find it irritating when multivitamins provide only token amounts of nutrients, meaning I end up taking lots of separate products on top. Multi Female and Multi Male seek to streamline your supplement regime by reducing the number of separate products you need to buy, saving you both time and money.
Although there are some differences between the products, we’ll start by discussing the similarities. Both Multi Female and Multi Male are presented as three-a-day capsules without any added fillers, binders or flow agents. As discussed in this post, while one-a-day formulae are convenient, they necessarily make compromises in the amounts and sometimes the types of nutrients offered. They also provide your entire day’s nutrients in one go, which is not conducive with optimum absorption of water-soluble vitamins. I personally think that those with sensitive bladders benefit from smaller, more regular servings to reduce the concentration of excess water-soluble nutrients excreted in the urine. Three capsules a day offer greater nutritional benefit and provide the option of flexible dosing so that you can really personalise your supplement regime to your own unique requirements.
I will talk in detail about the nutrients in each product shortly, but to summarise the similarities briefly, both products contain preformed vitamin A as well as beta carotene and both offer the same levels of B vitamins as found in many B complex products. For many people, this will be sufficient, although those with particularly high B vitamin requirements may still take a separate B complex, such as Tiny Pioneer No 6, Please! Neither product contains any vitamin B6, which can be irritating to those with interstitial cystitis. Both products offer folate and vitamin B12 in their metabolically active methyl forms for easier absorption. Both products contain bladder-friendly buffered vitamin C, presented as magnesium ascorbate, and both offer impressive levels of vitamins D and E. Finally, both products provide the same levels of many minerals as would often be found in single-ingredient mineral products.
Now for the differences. Multi Female contains iron, because menstruating women lose iron every month and are therefore more likely to be deficient. It also contains a larger serving of manganese than Multi Male, because low manganese has been associated with increased premenstrual mood and pain symptoms. Women that prefer an iron-free formula (perhaps after menopause or when levels are known to be high) may use Multi Male, which does not contain any iron.
Multi Male contains more zinc than Multi Female, because men lose zinc when they ejaculate and low levels of seminal zinc are associated with decreased fertility potential. It also contains more boron, because increased dietary boron is associated with decreased risk of prostate cancer and increased sperm output and motility. Both products contain zinc and boron, but the amounts are 15mg for Multi Female and 20mg for Multi Male and 1mg for Multi Female and 2mg for Multi Male, respectively. Ladies need not worry – the larger amounts of zinc and boron provided in the male product are still within female tolerable limits, so if you want to use Multi Male you can do. Gents, you may similarly use Multi Female if you want a product that provides iron.
As I already mentioned, the serving size for each of the products is three capsules a day and for best results you should spread the servings out. You might like to take one capsule with breakfast, one with lunch and one with your evening meal. If you find vitamins too stimulating to take at night, you can take two capsules together at breakfast or you can simply have the third capsule earlier in the day. Some people find that taking multivitamins on an empty stomach makes them nauseous and I personally find that taking copper capsules on an empty stomach makes me nauseous. I would therefore recommend that you have the capsules with food. It doesn’t need to be a banquet – I just wouldn’t advise trying them for the first time at 7am on an empty stomach and then rushing off to work with nothing to eat!
If you have never used multivitamin products before, you might like to start at just one capsule a day and build up slowly to the full serving size of three a day. If your bladder sensitivity is so bad that it makes you nervous to try new foods or new supplements, you can also start with just one a day and increase the serving size slowly over a couple of weeks.
Multivitamins and B complexes make the urine brightly coloured. This is quite normal, nothing to worry about, and in my opinion is a sign of a good product, but it can be alarming if nobody has warned you. Now that I have warned you, you will hopefully not be alarmed!
When you see the ingredients labels for our multivitamin products, you might be disappointed that they are not ‘cleaner’ and you might also be confused at how some of the ingredients can be present if we do not add fillers, binders or flow agents. I would refer you back to my post about compound ingredients, where I explain that many companies hide compound ingredients from their labels. Compound ingredients are components of separate nutrients, commonly used to ensure shelf stability and optimise performance. Not all nutrients are comprised of compound ingredients, but some – usually the fat-soluble vitamins – are. We have chosen to display the compound ingredients of each nutrient in brackets rather than ‘clean wash’ the products, even though they are present only in very tiny amounts. They are part of the nutrient powders used and are not things that we ourselves have added to the mixture.
You can stop reading this blog post now if you like. The remainder of it will be dedicated to a breakdown of the ingredients used in the products, along with some of the functions of each. If you’re not that interested in what each of the nutrients does, you can therefore go and get on with your day without feeling you’ve missed anything important! However, those of you who want to know more about what is in the products might like to stick with me. You may also like to refer to my last post where I talked specifically about the ways in which certain vitamins and minerals might benefit interstitial cystitis and other pelvic pain conditions.
Vitamin A is included as preformed retinyl acetate, because the conversion of beta carotene into vitamin A is not always very efficient. It relies on good gut function and the presence of other nutrients, so we offer both vitamin A itself and beta carotene. Amongst other things, Vitamin A contributes to normal function of the immune system and the maintenance of normal skin and mucous membranes. As well as being a precursor to vitamin A, beta carotene is also an antioxidant in its own right.
The B vitamins (excluding B6) are included at levels often found in dedicated B complex products. Several of the B vitamins contribute to normal energy-yielding metabolism, normal psychological function and normal functioning of the nervous system. Vitamins B2 and B3 also contribute to the maintenance of mucus membranes and skin and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. I discussed in my last post why I consider them especially useful to people with interstitial cystitis. I wanted to include really meaningful levels of B vitamins, because my own anxiety and mood issues improved enormously when I began using a B complex many years ago. Many of you will find the amount of B vitamins in Multi Female and Multi Male to be plenty good enough for your needs, but if you tend towards being very stressed, highly strung, or fatigued then you may like to use No 6, Please! as well. I myself can be somewhat highly strung and for many years I have used both a multivitamin and a B complex which together provide me with similar levels of B vitamins as you would get from using both our multi and our B complex. Emotional symptoms were of particular interest to me as I created our multivitamin products.
Obviously there is no vitamin B6 in Multi Female or Multi Male, because it is specifically intended to be a B6-free formula! If any of you do want to introduce B6 into your regime at some stage, I would recommend using the P5P form rather than pyridoxine and starting with only a small amount each day. I personally need vitamin B6 in my regime and am able to tolerate P5P. As mentioned above, we use methylfolate instead of folic acid and offer vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin. These are metabolically active forms which are easier for most people to absorb and use. We also present vitamin B3 as niacinamide, which does not cause blushing as nicotinic acid can.
Vitamin C is included as bladder-friendly magnesium ascorbate and I am quite pleased that I have managed to include 600mg. I am of the opinion that people should try to get 1 to 2 grams a day (more during viral or bacterial infections) but you won’t find anywhere near this in a multivitamin because it is too bulky. However, with the 600mg offered by Multi Female and Multi Male, you might be able to use less of your standalone vitamin C product. If you are one of the people who decides to use No 6, Please! alongside our multivitamins, you will get 1.4g of vitamin C a day. When it comes to taking vitamin C, little and often is more effective than one big serving, so our three-a-day formula of the multi and our two-a-day formula of the B complex are helpful here!
We used vegan vitamin D3 from algae and we put in 2000iu. Many of you might decide to dispense with your standalone vitamin D product on a day to day basis, although personally I always keep some extra vitamin D on hand for times of infection. Vitamin D contributes to normal function of the immune system, maintenance of normal muscle function, maintenance of normal bones, and normal blood calcium levels. Again, I refer you back to this blog post to read more about why vitamin D might be especially relevant for people with interstitial cystitis and other autoimmune disorders. Where you use vitamin D3 it is important to also use vitamin K2, so we have added 100mcg of menaquinone-7 which is the most efficiently absorbed type with the greatest bioavailability.
I’m particularly excited about this next part: we used a full 400iu of vitamin E! That is definitely as much as many standalone vitamin E products and is far more than offered in most multivitamins. The only official claim allowed on supplement packaging in relation to vitamin E is that it contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. However, I spoke in my last post about why I consider vitamin E especially important for people with interstitial cystitis and mentioned that women’s health expert, Dr Marilyn Glenville, recommends it for symptoms of both premenstrual syndrome and menopause. In women, 400iu of vitamin E has been shown to reduce symptoms of PMS and decrease severity and frequency of hot flushes in menopausal women. In men, vitamin E has been shown to increase basal plasma testosterone and free testosterone index. Hormonal health was another area of particular interest for me when creating our multivitamin products, so I am delighted to have managed to include such a meaningful amount of vitamin E.
Moving over to the minerals, I don’t have much to say about the calcium or the magnesium. They’re essential nutrients, but as discussed previously in the series, they’re required at such large quantities that you can’t fit truly meaningful levels into a multivitamin. Our magnesium comes from the same magnesium ascorbate that provides the vitamin C. The calcium comes from calcium glycerophosphate, which is the same type as found in our Simply Calci-G Capsules.
I already talked a little bit about the iron, the boron, the zinc and the manganese. Iron is included in the Multi Female at 14mg, so that may negate the need for a separate iron supplement for many people. I was keen to include as much iron as possible because I suspect that there might be some link between iron status and symptoms of persistent genital arousal disorder. I chose to use non-constipating iron bisglycinate. Iron contributes to normal cognitive function, normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin, normal function of the immune system, and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Iron is not included in the Multi Male formula because iron deficiency is rare in men. I also thought that offering an iron-free formula might be a good idea for any women that prefer to avoid supplemental iron for any reason.
I don’t have much else to say about boron and manganese. Regarding zinc, I already explained why I used more in Multi Male than Multi Female. Other points of interest include that zinc contributes to normal DNA synthesis, normal fertility and reproduction, the maintenance of normal testosterone levels in the blood, the maintenance of normal skin, hair and nails, the maintenance of normal vision, and normal cognitive function. That is quite a list, so I made sure to include plenty of zinc bisglycinate which is shown to be better absorbed than other forms of zinc.
As mentioned earlier in the series, it is important to get enough copper when taking zinc, as zinc depletes copper. Many multivitamins do not contain copper, in spite of containing zinc. I have included 1mg of copper bisglycinate. Copper contributes to the maintenance of normal connective tissues, normal functioning of the nervous system, normal iron transport in the body, and the normal pigmentation of hair and skin.
Chromium is included in both multivitamin products at 200mcg, which is the same amount as found in many standalone chromium products. Chromium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels and normal macronutrient metabolism.
Iodine and selenium are present at 150mcg and 100mcg, respectively. Again, these are the same amounts as often found in standalone iodine and selenium supplements. I spoke about these minerals and their particular relevance to interstitial cystitis (especially in connection to thyroid health) in this blog post, so do check that out if you have not already done so. Aside from that, iodine contributes to normal cognitive function, normal functioning of the nervous system, the maintenance of normal skin, the normal production of thyroid hormones, and normal thyroid function. Selenium also contributes to normal thyroid function as well as normal function of the immune system, maintenance of normal hair and nails, and normal spermatogenesis.
Okay, I think those are the key features of Multi Female and Multi Male explained! Both products are suitable for vegans and are made without common allergens too. Although they have been designed with interstitial cystitis in mind and have therefore had to be made without ascorbic acid or vitamin B6, I did not want anyone to feel like they had to make do with an inferior product through lack of choice. I have done my best to create two multivitamins that provide meaningful amounts of high-quality nutrients and compare favourably to the kinds of premium multivitamin brands often recommended by health professionals. I truly hope that you will like them and that they will form a great foundation for your daily nutrition regime.
Wishing you the best of health,
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