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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

May 1, 2013


A bit of background before the "boxing match."

Vitamins are complex organic compound that are involved in almost every metabolic process in the human body. Minerals are inorganic elements found in nature that are essential to life.  According to the book "The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer"(Copyright 1998 by David A. Whitsett, Forrest A. Dolgener, and Tanjala Mabon Kole), research has consistently supported the concept that if people get adequate vitamins and minerals from their foods, there is no need to take vitamin and mineral supplements.  But this is a mighty big if! The problem is that studies evaluating the nutritional intake of the average individual have found that most of us do not get adequate vitamins and minerals in our diets. Studies on athletes have come to the same conclusion. The recommendation of the book is that, unless you are very confident that you are consuming a nutritionally adequate diet, you should take  a one-a-day type vitamin and mineral supplement.  

The question is which one.

Which brings us to the  Mornings With Active Health (MWAH) event last  April 14 (http://bicolanopenguin.blogspot.com/2013/04/mornings-with-active-health-wah.html?utm_source=BP_recent) where  a blogger asked the Unilab  Active Health manager about the difference between Enervon Activ and Immuvit. She declined to comment on the competition and instead proceeded to highlight the benefits of Enervon Activ in building stamina against sports fatigue.   

Her hesitancy piqued my curiosity and I then proceeded to do some "field work" digging up the facts about which is better between these 2  vitamin supplements targeting the active lifestyle market. And since these vitamins are not normally given out for free, I guess the more practical question is – Which one is a better buy? Enervon Activ or Immuvit? 

My so-called "field work" was easy. I just had to go to the nearest Mercury Drug Store and requested to see a box each of the 2, pretending to be interested in a purchase. I took a picture, with my trusty Blackberry, of the back of the boxes which showed the contents. I did inquire also about the prices of each box and I had to do a double take as the prices seemed to be far from each other. More on that later.

The difficult part was reading the contents as they are in very small print. I had to enlist the aid of my son Marcel who had better vision than the old Bicolano Penguin. After much perspiring going thru each content, here is a tabulation.  Our so-called Tale of the Tape of Enervon Activ and Immuvit.

Tale of the Tape
At first glance, it would seem that one Immuvit capsule packs more vitamins and minerals.  It has vitamins B5, B12, H & M which Enervon Activ doesn’t. Immuvit also has more minerals and ginseng.  On the other hand, Enervon Activ does have Royal Jelly which Immuvit does not have.

The question now is which  vitamins and minerals deserve special consideration for people who are taking up running or would like to take up running. 

Again, I turn to the book "The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer" for guidance and it points to three items:

Antioxidants.  When  a person exercises a lot, free radical production is increased.  These free radicals can damage different parts of the cell including the cell membrane. Nutritional antioxidants comprise a broad range of essential and nonessential nutrients that can aid in the detoxification of potentially damaging free radicals. The most well researched of  these antioxidants are vitamin A, E, and  C.  Both Enervon Activ and Immuvit have a complement of these vitamins.  

Calcium. As you are probably well-aware of, calcium plays a critical role in bone formation and bone strength.  Running is an activity that has the potential to increase your bone strength but only if your calcium intake is adequate. Unfortunately, runners tend to  be at high risk for inadequate calcium intake, especially female runners.  The long-term unfortunate outcome for many that do not consume adequate calcium is osteoporosis later in life. The current  recommended daily amount (RDA) for adults younger than 25 years is 1200 mg per day.  For adults 25 years and older, the RDA is 800 mg. Both Enervon Activ and Immuvit have Iron, although both are  below the RDA mentioned.

Iron.  It is a trace mineral that is involved in oxygen transport and aerobic metabolism.  Because the optimal transport of oxygen is so important to the runner, iron becomes one of the key nutrients that runners should make sure they are getting in their diets.  The current RDA is 10 mg for teenagers and adult males and 15 mg for teenagers and adult females.  Again, both Enervon Activ and Immuvit have Iron, both at 10mg per capsule.      

In continuing with the boxing analogy, it would seem that Enervon Activ and Immuvit are in a tie when it comes to the vitamins and minerals critical to runners. But given that it has some more vitamins (B5, B12, H & M) and minerals (Chromiun and Selenium) not found in Enervon Activ, it would seem that Immuvit  is ahead slightly by points going into the final round.  
However, Enervon Activ comes roaring back  with a knockout as its price of Php 12 per capsule is 98% cheaper than the Php 23.75 of Immuvit. The difference of Php 11.75 per capsule, when annualized (as one would have to take a vitamin supplement daily for 365 days), comes up to Php 4,288.75. The amount is significant as this can already pay for a new pair of running shoes (Saucony Type A5 retails at Php 4,300 in Riovana) or a couple of hydration belts (Nathan Speed 2R auto-cant is priced Php 2,290 each in Runnr).   

Enervon Activ box of 100 capsules priced at Php 1,200 in a Mercury Drug Store

Immuvit box of 30 capsules priced at Php 712.50 in a Mercury Drug Store
My choice is crystal clear at this point.  Enervon Activ is the cost effective choice.  Enervon Activ is the vitamin supplement I procured for my daily consumption. Not only for the training runs I do to prepare for the marathons and ultra marathons I have targeted for this year, but also for boosting my energy at work, which after all is the longer run of my life.

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