Raise your hand if you take, or have ever taken, vitamins or supplements or both. Hand up high right here. It didn’t matter if I ate well, at least I took my vitamins. Yay me for being healthy!
Or maybe not so much. Too often it didn’t matter what my diet was because I thought that I was caring for myself by taking my vitamins, or that if I couldn’t eat something I could make myself some meal substitute shake and be good. Darn me for destroying that delusion by taking nutrition courses and doing research.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate vitamins and supplements, and there really are people out there that need some of these things. If you have been tested for a vitamin or mineral deficiency and are needing to take them, please do, but most of us are not deficient (at least not nutrient wise).
The biggest problem with supplements of any kind is that they are not required to be regulated at all. Many are found to have things in them that aren’t on the label or to not even have the main ingredient in it. They can be full of fillers and added ingredients that can be harmful to those with allergies. So if you’re still going to buy them, please, please, please make sure you choose a brand that does outside lab testing. Do your research.
My next issue is with vitamins. Did you know that some are harmful if taken beyond the recommended daily allowance? Too much iron can damage you body. Vitamin C and calcium cause stones. St. John’s Wart interfere transplant patients’ medications and with antidepressants and with birth control (yeah that would suck). Supplemental beta carotene should never be taken by anyone who was or is a smoker, since it’s been linked to an increase in lung cancer. This is kind of a big deal, folks.
To top it all off, most of us are not deficient so the vitamins are not absorbed, but peed out. I paid all that good money, just to have some healthy pee to add to the toilet. A, D, E, and K are the only fat soluble vitamins, so people, you need fat to absorb them, the rest go out with the water and waste.
Next for me to judge are the food supplements or substitutes. I’m not super against getting your meals in drink form when in a time crunch. I even have my own “beverage of choice” when in a pinch, but it needs to be lab tested. Just like vitamins, food supplements are not regulated, so you have no guarantees that what they say is in it, is really in it. Some have been found to have all sorts of toxic things in them, and they are still marketed as a health food. Smart, right?
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take supplements, but if you eat a varied(ish) diet, vitamins, and the like, are just a waste of money at best, or life threatening at worst. They can have a placebo effect when you are sick, but there is no proof that extra C is going to calm that cold you got from your kid. You could invest the money you save in a boarding school. You’re welcome.
Some people do need a little extra. Here are the people who can be deficient and need to take extra vitamins for health reasons:
Pregnant women need folic acid. Though folic acid is now added to most grain products so if you forget to take you prenatal vitamin, you’ll be fine.
Babies who are not being exposed to sunlight about 15 minutes daily could use a vitamin D, but I’m not a fan of vitamins for babies so take them outside. Fresh air is good for all.
Vegans need B-12. They cannot get it or produce it in their bodies.
Anyone who’s been found to be deficient in any vitamin or mineral should add that vitamin to their diet. This includes people who’ve been advised to take supplements by a doctor, like extra D in winter.
I’m not here to tell you that you are wrong, but if you think you need a boost in your vitamins, your body will thank you when you get them the natural way; with actual food. Eat the orange, have a salad, if you can’t eat well see about some cold pressed juice or just blend everything together with some yogurt and chug. Easy, not hard, is the plan.
As always, I hope you found this informative. You can comment, email, call, text, whatever, if you want to know more, or just to talk. I like to talk.