Someone challenged Tasting Britain to review Halal multivitamins. Intrigued, we did.
Verdict? Seems to do what it says on the label, but you pay a price premium for religious compliance…
What is it?
A range of supplements from Nature’s Well – the first and only (as of yet) properly certified Halal vitamin brand in the UK. Obviously their range is a lot bigger than this, but this is what you could refer to as the ‘holy trinity’ of supplements (vitamin D, multivitamin, omega 3 and blasphemy…)
Where are they available?
Possibly in small independent chemists, though we haven’t seen it anywhere…
Muslims – obviously. You don’t need me to tell you that if a complicated food product isn’t explicitly certified as halal, it might contain some stuff that your religion prohibits. And you probably don’t need me to tell you that unless a product is certified through rigorous testing by an authoritative body (such as the Halal Monitoring Committee), you can’t be 100% sure that the designation is legit.
Then again you can never really be 100% sure of anything :3
…and that’s about it I think.
In a nutshell:
An extremely niche product – does exactly what it says on the tin (well, plastic container). That said, there’s no reason to replace for anyone unconcerned about haram (non halal) ingredients to replace their current supplement with these, as they are no cheaper and in my experience, no higher in quality than some of their competitors.
What’s all this then?
When it comes to vitamins, “suitable for vegetarians” does not mean “suitable for Muslims”. A number of the vegetarian approved major vitamin brands contain pork gelatine, alcohol/ethanol, and other non-halal animal based ingredients.
Enter Nature’s Well – fully certified by (HMC) Halal Monitoring Committee UK as 100% Halal, and, at the time of writing, I think the only supplement manufacturer in the UK to do this.
I’ve tried the following…
#1 OMEGA 3 – EPA DHA (NON FISH ALGAE OIL)
£17.95 for 60 softgels (about 30p a portion) and you’re meant to take one a day
In what will establish a trend for these three products, this is more expensive than my ‘regular’, omega 3, which I buy in bulk from a sports nutrition website.
My current omega 3 is about 7p a portion – and this is more than 4 times that! It’s veggie friendly (but not vegan) – not derived from sea animals. There’s no fishy smell or aftertaste – unlike a few other algae derived supplements – many of which I have found to be pretty… rough
# 2 MEN’S MULTI
£9.95 for 60 tablets (about 17p a portion) and you’re meant to take one a day.
My current multivitamin (from a big brand high street retailer) is about 8p a portion, making this one more than double the price. You may find it harder to swallow due to its long profile (I’m one of those guys who has to knock them back with water to have any hope of swallowing the damned thing). It’s brittle, and tends to break easily. You end up finding shards of them at the bottom of the container.
That said, the taste is certainly more agreeable than some of the competition. Yes, it has a chemical taste, but a nutty chemical taste. It doesn’t taste like death, as a few of the others do :3
# 3 VITAMIN D3 5000 IU
£8.95 for 60 tablets (about 15p a portion) and you’re meant to take one a day
125mcg / 5000 IU per tablet – 2500% RNI
My current vitamin D is about 3p a portion. I have never seen a Vitamin D pill like this – I always assumed they came as softgels. If this comes in a powdered form, does it make it any different in terms of bioavailability, I wonder?
In terms of dosage, this contains 125mcg / 5000IU – the same as my current multivitamin. There seems to be conflicting information as to what constitutes an RDA for vitamin D in the UK (depending on your age, skin colour etc.), but many organisations agree that we aren’t getting enough. 5000 IU is a large dose, and seems to be working for me…
To have really done a proper side by side comparison for these I should have taken my blood numbers before and after the trial – and kept every other aspect of my lifestyle ‘the same’. As you may know, private blood tests in the UK can cost hundreds of pounds – so this was not as accurate an experiment than I would have liked. For this, I apologise.
So, to our Muslim readers: this may be what you’re looking for – even though you will pay a price premium for it. I suppose there are alternatives – Herbal Traditions and Madina Vitamins are two other vitamin manufacturers who claim to be halal, but do not appear to have Nature’s Well’s HMC certification. Still, if halal status is not a concern to you, I wouldn’t recommend these.