Over the years many of my clients have asked about what vitamin supplements to take. Many have come to me with a litany of things they take in pill form from one multi-vitamin to up to 15 or more pills and capsules per day! Chances are someone they know distributed this stuff and talked them into the ‘health benefits’. Just because it probably won’t hurt you, there is no proof for 90% of the crap sold today improves your health; it mostly empties your wallet. The FDA is very lax on this stuff. “Vitamin water” is a classic example of brilliant marketing; please go read my past blog post on that product!
FOOD is your best source for nutrition (see book “In Defense of Food, blog before this one) versus packaged, fast food (no drive-thrus) or processed stuff.
Vitamins and supplements are a gazillion dollar industry, yet you all know I do not sell ANYTHING. I’m okay, however, recommending products; steering you in the right direction for wellness and healthy lifestyle.
Two words come to my mind regarding most marketed supplements for otherwise healthy adults: Expensive urine. That is generally how I feel about most highly marketed juices, powders, berry drinks, and pills “systems” from “health” stores, internet (spam) ads, and multi-level marketing organizations. I do endorse a basic over-the-counter multi-vitamin, and for women of X age, a calcium supplement.
On that note, I’m reprinting some basic Facts and Myths:
Myth: Organic vitamins (from nature: food, etc.) are better than synthetic ones.
Fact: The body cannot tell the difference between organic or synthetic vitamins. However, the food that the organic vitamins come from can give you fiber and other nutrients that synthetic vitamins cannot.
Myth: The more vitamins you take, the better for you.
Fact: Certain vitamins taken in large amounts can be harmful to you.
Myth: By taking vitamins regularly, we don’t need to exercise.
Fact: That’s a lazy person’s excuse. In fact, a daily 30 minute quick walk will do more for you than taking supplements, especially if you have high-blood pressure, or a heart conditon, or are overweight.
Myth: If vitamins and supplements are taken, then you can eat whatever you want.
Fact: Pills do not provide all the food components that a healthy body requires, they are supplements dealing with deficiency. Nothing replaces a healthy diet.
Myth: Supplements are safe otherwise they would not be on the market.
Fact: There is no official pre-market approval of supplements.(vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements). The FDA does not limit the concentration or quantity of nutrients in a pill (exception: folacin).
Myth: Taking vitamins is the best way to ensure health for us and our children.
Fact:: The body actually has limited storage for these nutrients and supplements. A lot of these are excreted from our bodies. The best way is to do regular exercise and eat a wide variety of food based on their nutritional values.
Myth: Herbal supplements cannot be harmful because they are natural .
Fact: Some naturally obtained substances can be deadly or very harmful to the body, such as Arsenic and fungus. Correct dosage is the key. Overdose on some supplements can cause damage to our health, some even permanent.
Myth: We can eat very little food if we take vitamins.
Fact: Vitamins do not function without the energy generated from food such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The best way is to eat a variety of food that can both give us energy and supply the vitamins naturally, then vitamins and mineral pills only act as additional supplements that our bodies require to compensate the deficiencies.
Myth: Vitamins are best taken on empty stomach for maximum absorption.
Fact: All supplements are best taken during meals or with food. Small amounts with several meals are better than a large dosage at one time. Fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,&K)are best absorbed if there is fat present. Also, taking supplements with meals will help us get into the habit of taking them more regularly.
Warm regards, and happy, healthy eating to you all,