If you’ve been using the elemental diet shake I formulated – Absorb Plus – for any length of time, you’ll know that I am always on the lookout for ways to improve the product.

Sometimes people are not too happy with me, because certain changes – like when I switched the maltodextrin to a non-GMO cassava maltodextrin – affect the taste or texture. But when they try it, and I explain the reasons why the changes will benefit their health, they’re pretty happy I’m looking out for them.

And so you may notice your latest Absorb Plus order tastes a bit different, or the texture is a bit different. Let me tell you what I’ve changed in the formula:

Now let me tell you why I made those changes for some of the key ingredients – and yes, this changes the taste profile too! Keep in mind, that as Absorb Plus is a completely natural product, you’re going to get flavor variations from batch to batch anyway. If Imix gets the vanilla beans from a different region due to flooding or drought in their normal growing regions, the taste is going to be different. If it’s a different time of year and the cows are eating different types of grass or hay, then that too is going to affect taste. Depending on where Imix sources the tapioca (cassava) maltodextrin from, that can change the taste and texture too.

As the formulator of Absorb Plus – and someone who has used it extensively myself – my goal is not to create a Coca-Cola type product; that reliably tastes exactly the same, no matter what. My goal is to create, tweak, and improve on the product to continually make sure it is the most effective and bioavailable. As research broadens, and extraction techniques improve, if I can get my readers a product that works even better, then that’s what I do.

So here’s some of the key changes from the list above, and my reasons why I switched nutrient forms:

Vitamin B9: Folic Acid vs. Folate

As you know, we need the entire B-complex of vitamins for our immune system. And Vitamin B9 (traditionally available as Folic Acid) is really important since most people with IBD tend towards anemia. And your body can’t produce hemoglobin without an adequate Vitamin B9 supply.

Although I have seen some folate supplements state ‘folic acid’ on their label (and vice-versa) according to the Mayo Clinic the correct differentiation is that folic acid is the synthetic form of Vitamin B9 and folate is the natural form that occurs in food. The folate form of B9 is also better for your health.

So in the previous upgrade I had switched straight folic acid to an organic lemon peel extract form of folic acid (which is actually naturally folate, but required by law to be listed as folic acid). However in this latest round of upgrades, I improved it further to a natural form of folate commonly known as L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate or L-5-MTHF:

“…folic acid is converted into a naturally occurring folate, namely 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, which is the major circulating form of folate in the human body”

Imix legally (due to FDA requirements) has to state this form of folate on the label as: 5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid, glucosamine salt. This form of folate is really important since up to half of the population has one or more methylation defects, and a reduced capacity to convert folic acid into its active form.

In those cases, MTHFR enzyme efficiency can drop by 30-70% and folic acid supplementation is then less effective. But the L-5-MTHF version of Vitamin B9 is effective for the entire population, and has additional benefits compared to folic acid; like a lower risk of masking B12 deficiency on blood tests, and reduced interaction with drugs that inhibit dihydrofolate reductase.

Zinc Bisglycinate

Zinc glycinate has better absorption in the presence of phytates, and in all studies that compare the two, is better able to raise plasma zinc levels than zinc gluconate and zinc picolinate. Keep in mind that grains, nuts and legumes contain varying levels of phytates (a plant defense mechanism which blocks mineral absorption).

Copper Bisglycinate

In multiple animal species trials, copper glycinate has superior absorption among copper forms, because glycine (and some other amino acids) enhances the absorption and retention of copper ions.

Vitamin B6 – Riboflavin

Pyridoxal (riboflavin) 5-phosphate is the bioactive form of riboflavin, which may be helpful/necessary for people with compromised digestive systems, who are taking certain medications, or who have genetic mutations/enzyme deficiencies that impact the body’s ability to convert riboflavin in to R5P.

So as you can see, all of these new nutrient forms have to do with increasing absorption and utilization. Please know that as nutrition information increases and as new technologies and raw materials become available, I will always be seeking to formulate the highest quality natural products I can for my readers and my family. And I never stop experimenting and seeking to make things better!

p.s. Did you know Absorb Plus is now available in Canada too? The formula is slightly different though, as Health Canada has different regulations from the FDA. But the same mission applies: I formulate to get the best ingredients for maximum absorption and utilization by the body, in each jurisdiction.