Taking multivitamins: a good decision?
Americans spend $ 30 billion a year on vitamins and supplements. The truth is that many of them are unnecessary and of very doubtful benefit to those who take them.
An unfortunate: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The majority of the vitamin and supplement industry is the model for this claim. We want to protect our health, but the reality is that we could hurt ourselves in a number of ways.
Some points to consider about vitamin intake:
- We have a very wrong belief about vitamins: “They can help, but they can’t hurt.” This is completely untrue. Many vitamins and supplements contain “other” ingredients like dyes and hydrogenated oils. Titanium dioxide, a known carcinogen, is often used as a “flow agent” to increase the production of vitamins through machinery. Poor quality ingredients are used to save costs that can contain heavy metals like lead and mercury, which are unfortunately very common in fish oil supplements. We certainly don’t take our supplements to get a daily dose of carcinogens. We need to know where the supplement comes from and really understand that process and its production.
- There are many who say that multivitamins “create very expensive urine.” Taking a vitamin is NOT a substitute for a healthy diet. Much of the vitamin is excreted in the bathroom; Either our body had enough of that vitamin or the body cannot absorb it for a variety of possible reasons.
- Some vitamins are stored by the body and, if they accumulate above a certain threshold, they can become toxic.
- People should check with their medical providers before choosing vitamins. Yes, they can interfere with certain conditions and can definitely contain allergens.
- There is a real science when it comes to time of day, in combination with other supplements for effective supplementation. If we randomly choose certain vitamins, we may be unbalancing our internal balance of nutrients. If 2 vitamins use the same receptor site, one may not be absorbed. Some vitamins need other coenzymes to be absorbed properly.
- Taking certain supplements can reduce the body’s own production of its own natural reserves.
- Quality. Yes, we are all concerned about the price. However, the quality of our supplementation is of the utmost importance. There is no quality regulation on our supplements. Just because it is manufactured by a well-known company does not mean the best quality or the highest integrity in production, or it is in a form that the body can absorb.
- Vitamin D. I urge everyone to check with their medical providers about taking vitamin D. There are numerous vital functions of vitamin D in the body, and many people are vitamin D deficient. Wearing sunscreen, living in a place with less sun exposure, difficult to absorb enough vitamin D from our food … there are a myriad of reasons we need vitamin D supplements. However, many brands are made with D2, which requires an extra step in the body to convert to D3. Consult with your healthcare professionals about taking a D3 supplement. You can order a vitamin D blood test to check your levels.
- Oxidative Stress – As I have written many articles here on ezines, getting our antioxidants is a vital part of our nutrition and supplementation. The correct dose and variety of antioxidants can balance our redox state, the internal balance between our oxidative stress levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants. Oxidative stress is at the root of all our chronic diseases … diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, many cancers, macular degeneration, cognitive decline … Getting antioxidants in our food (colorful fruits and vegetables are a good start) And with educated supplementation it is the best investment in our health. The problem is, again, that most of the vitamins that provide antioxidants can be of poor quality, not well absorbed, not enough to reduce oxidative stress, and not in the range of antioxidants to be effective enough to prevent disease. .
We can’t take multivitamins in the hope that it will replace good solid nutrition, or that it will make up for some of our vices or poorer food choices. Supplementation does NOT allow us to “smoke safely” or drink excess alcohol. I have heard this rationalization repeatedly in my career. It is simply not true.
I also get very angry when I walk into a vitamin store and hear uneducated salespeople give advice on supplementation. Just because someone works in a vitamin store doesn’t mean they know the science, compelling as they may be. Good sales and good science are not the same.
There is excellent supplementation. Our number one goal should be disease prevention or management. That brings with it the energy, focus, physical strength, and anti-aging … all those wonderful promises we live for to take vitamins. If you’re taking supplements, find out. Insist on seeing the science. Not just about the vitamin, but about the details of the actual supplement you are going to ingest. Too often, these vitamin and supplement dollars are invested in marketing and advertising. Choose supplements of the highest quality, that the actual product itself has been examined and tested with objective science.