If you have a perfect diet, never eat out and eat organically 100% you don’t have to worry about taking vitamins or supplements. The problem is, most of us don’t eat a perfect diet and since our bodies can’t produce all of the vitamins we need for our systems to function properly, we have to supplement some of these nutrients.
There are more than a hundred million Americans taking a nutritional supplement of some sort. We take vitamins and supplements to prevent illnesses (feel a cold coming on? Pop a capsule of garlic or oregano oil!) and to boost energy (running a little low on energy? Reach for the B12!).
It is my opinion, that at the very least, we should all be taking a quality daily multi-vitamin because I have yet to meet anyone who does qualify for the “perfect organic diet”!
Why should we take vitamins?
Just to be safe. I like to call a multi-vitamin an insurance policy. Not a substitute for a crappy diet of course. A good multi can help when you fall a little short on your otherwise healthy diet. Most doctors today recommend a multi-vitamin as a part of preventative care.
Specialized diets. If you’re vegan or if you have some sort of disease or deficiency…if you have allergies that prevent you from taking certain foods, a vitamin or supplement may be necessary for you because you’re not getting the nutrition you need from the food you eat. A qualified nutritionist or health care provider can help steer you to the supplement or vitamin you need.
Prevention. Several vitamins are linked to decreasing our risk of disease. Some of these include vitamin D which can help dramatically increase immunity (get your levels tested next time you get a check up; optimum vitamin D levels are what you should be aiming for). Lycopene and vitamin E might decrease your risk of developing prostate cancer. Folic acid, B12 and B6 can help decrease our risk of heart disease, as does magnesium.
Treatment. Calcium can help bone density (as long as there’s magnesium in the supplement), iron treats anemia (vitamin C helps absorption), and the list goes on. Again, your nutritionist or doctor may prescribe a particular vitamin or supplement for you to help your body function properly for any number of reasons.
What sort of vitamins should we take?
Make sure you’re taking natural supplements and not synthetic. This is massively important so read your labels. Here’s an example: vitamin E can read as d-alpha tocopheryl (natural) or dl-alpha tocopheryl. The L in the first part of the vitamin tells you its a synthetic.
When should we take our vitamins?
Some supplements cause cramps and nausea when taken on an empty stomach, so read the label and follow the directions! Don’t take any b-complex late in the afternoon or you will be up at night (ask me how I found this out!)
Always check with your nutritionist or health care provider before starting or adding to your vitamin regimen! S/he might order some blood work for you to see where your levels and/or deficiencies are, and you’ll discover exactly what you want to be taking.
What vitamins and supplements do you swear by?