Manufactured By Source Naturals
Source Naturals is another large US based supplement company. It was founded in 1982 and now has over 400 products for sale. Source Naturals has huge product sales and is a very well known brand particularly in the USA. It is a listed company and uses a MLM (Multi Level Marketing) model for distribution of its products.
Although it manufactures a huge range of products, which causes some to see it as a ‘mass marketer’ of supplements, its multi ingredient products, which it calls "multiples" are well put together and are based on leading nutritional science.
Source Naturals was one of the pioneers of combining multiple categories of nutrients in a nutritional health /vitamin supplement.
They have the financial means to churn out a tonne of marketing literature and scientific studies, which helps to position them as an elite manufacturer of premium grade nutritional supplements (regardless of the extent of truth in this statement!!)
Source Naturals refers to their multi ingredient products as "Bio-Aligned Formulas" – "designed to help bring the power of alignment to the body by evaluating the root causes of body system imbalances, and then providing targeted nutrition”. They also state "nature abhors imbalance" – A great statement!
So, Life Force™, has been formulated to support overall good health and well-being - total balance within the body by delivering a wide range of ingredients to target vital organs and systems in the body.
Source Naturals marketing statements clearly promote Life Force™ as the best most complete vitamin/health supplement formula.
This is what their website says about Life Force™:
"The most complete daily formula available, is scientifically Bio-Aligned™ to deliver essential cellular energy and balance to vital systems and organs. For lifelong support to your brain, skin, eyes, immune, circulatory, antioxidant and energy systems, take LIFE FORCE and join the Wellness Revolution of preventive health care.
So, let's delve into its formula to see if they are right!
This review is for the Life Force™ 'No Iron' Tablet Version
P.S. I believe it's important to mention up front that Source Naturals was the least ‘consumer-friendly’ company I have dealt with in my research. They get aggressive in some of their email responses. They chose not to answer many questions and in some cases completely ignore emails with no response whatsoever (obviously when they did't like the questions being asked - questions which perhaps highlight weaknesses in their product??)
The main strength of Life Force™ is its completeness as a nutritional support supplement. It has 48 ingredients, the second highest total after Total Balance (83) and is the cheapest of the elite supplements currently shown on my "best vitamin supplements page. (roughly $6 - $7 dollars a bottle cheaper).
Life Force™ was runner-up to Xtend-Life's 'Total Balance' in most categories for ‘most potent ingredients’ analysis.
The formula is sound - the ingredients are well established choices - (this is in keeping with Source Naturals history as being a pioneer of multi ingredient supplements).
The only ingredient categories not covered appear to be 'Trace Elements' and 'Enzymes' (both of which are important categories for highly effective nutritional health/vitamin supplements. Otherwise there’s a good range of vitamins, minerals, co-factors, phytonutrients, herbal extracts (but only 2 amino acids which is not enough. Amino acids are a critical category of nutrients that should be comprehensively targeted).
Source Naturals manufacturers some of its own products and contracts out others – which they refer to as "specialty products" but I couldn’t find out which products they were referring to.
Their manufacturing standards are shrouded in mystery
since they won’t reveal much of anything about this topic. The usual claims of ‘excellence’ are there but no in-depth details are given – only what I would classify as generalizations and broad claims – the same as what you’ll find on most supplement websites.
Life Force™ contains 4 (all-natural) excipients (non-actives) which is at the lowest end (ie. the good end) of the optimal range for high quality supplements – the lowest in fact of all supplements in my best vitamin supplements comparisons table.
There are 7 herbal extracts in Life Force™ which is a good quantity BUT........ Source Naturals does not exclusively use standardized extracts (a major weakness).
There are 4 standardized extracts – 3 of which reveal their potencies and they are all high.
The dose rates of all 4 standardized herbal extracts are generous and not too far from those in Total Balance (other than for turmeric - which is an excellent medicinal herb). Life Force™ actually has 10 mg more Gingko Biloba than TB at almost the same potency.
|Life Force™||Total Balance|
Turmeric 75 mg
Green Tea 75 mg
Gingko 60 mg
Bilberry 30 mg
Life Force™ contains a tocotrienols complex which is a big plus and represents an ingredient which absolutely should be present in ''elite formulas
Vitamin E occurs naturally in 8 different forms – 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols.The best vitamin supplements should include all 8 in order to provide the full spectrum of benefits of vitamin E.
Most supplements on health food store shelves consist mainly of tocopherol (alpha – tocopherol or mixed tocopherols).
Life Force™ has Tocomax® from the Carotech Corporation. Tocomax® is a potent, natural, full spectrum tocotrienol / tocopherol complex. Total Balance also includes Tocomax®. Pharmanex's elite 'Lifepak' formula doesn’t but does have the full vitamin E spectrum represented.
Of late, tocotrienols have been gaining wide attention and surfacing as a potent neuro-protective form of vitamin E. (5)
Lastly, Life Force™ has a reasonably generous quantity of health busting Phytonutrients (322 mg) – the second highest Phytonutrient tally after Total Balance Women’s Plus version(691 mg) and Total Balance Men’s Plus version 591 mg).
Life Force™ provides 300 mg of N-Acetyl Cysteine which seems way over the top for any ingredient in a multi ingredient supplement. But since I don’t have the qualifications or knowledge to know optimum dose amounts of various amino acids, I’m not sure whether this is actually a weakness, strength or neither – so I'll 'park' this one.
Bilberry is the fourth standardized extract in the Life Force formula, but unlike the three listed above, Source Naturals will not reveal the potency of this ingredient why?) Since bilberry is an extremely expensive ingredient for manufacturers to include - could it be that they use a really low potency? If they won’t tell, then people are naturally going to make that assumption.
The total of vitamins and minerals in one Life Force tablet accounts for a whopping 71% of that tablet!
This is the second highest vitamins and minerals tally of all the elite supplements in my best vitamin supplements comparisons chart. This is without question Life Force's greatest weakness in the multi nutrient health/vitamin supplement category in which it competes.
So my stance re the very high total vitamins/mineral content in Life Force, is the same as per my reviews for LifePak and Usana's 'Essentials'
Whether you see this as a weakness or not will once again depend on your own individual (researched) stance towards high dose amounts of vitamins and minerals in supplements. (I have explained this topic in my Total Balance product review. Please take a look: Total Balance review
There is a HUGE amount of vitamin C in Life Force. 1500 mg to be exact!
This is for a full daily dose of tablets. I’d like to remind you that vitamin C (ascorbic acid - buffered or not) is one of the cheapest supplement ingredients, roughly $15 a kilo. Expensive ingredients on the other hand cost hundreds of dollars a kilo with some over a thousand dollars!
There’s a tonne of studies available for and against high doses of vitamin C – many contradicting the results of the others. So I’m not going to get into that here, other than to tell you that my stance is that doses greater than 400 mg are bad because in doses of that quantity and above, vitamin C acts as a pro-oxidant (opposite of antioxidant). Dose rates of >300 mg of Vitamin C have also been proven to increase the death rate from cardiovascular disease in diabetic women. So, be careful! Think about it and do some research if you are unsure!
My final comments on Life Force™:
While I can’t help but see 'LifePak' and 'Essentials' as primarily 'basic' multi vitamin and mineral supplements (with some important extras included), I don’t see Life Force in the same way. That’s because there are enough non-vitamin/mineral nutrients to give it a place on the ‘elite multi nutrient health supplement mantle’. A true ‘one of the markets' best vitamin supplements’ kinda feel.
However due to the high percentage of vitamin and minerals I don’t see Life Force as offering particularly good value for money.
Source Naturals definitely needs to be more open about their formulas.
Other ingredients for which information is hidden at the time of writing this review include:
The company refused to reveal this info when I requested it - twice!
If for some reason I was unable to get my hands on 'Total Balance' from Xtend-Life then 'Life Force' would be my next choice (from the group of 'elite' supplements reviewed on my best vitamin supplements comparisons page).