To take, or not to take? Vitamins are the question

Posted on July 18, 2012

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you need vitamins but might not be getting enough of ‘em. Should you take a vitamin supplement?

I grew up hearing from my Mother and my Pediatrician, “you must take a multi-vitamin daily”.  For me, it began with Flintstones and graduated to a supermarket “One a Day”.  Were these really effective?   Debatable. 

So the question of the day is: do we need vitamin supplements at all?  And, shouldn’t we be getting our vitamins from foods?
Yes, absolutely and here’s why: Healthy people as well as those suffering from health issues can benefit from vitamins.  Lifestyle and nutrition have an enormous impact in the development of a large number of diseases, including obesity and diabetes.  Supplements are supposed to fill the gaps that you may miss from meal to meal and day to day.  You know if you slack in the nutrient department—let’s be honest.  It CAN be challenging to meet your healthymealRDA (Recommended Daily Allowance)every day, all the time.  Additionally, in modern times, many people find preparing meals 3-6 times per day that are perfectly nutritionally balanced not very cost, time or energy efficient.

Vitamin supplements take all the good nutrients from herbs, fruits and vegetables to create a scientifically perfect “insurance policy,” if you will.  Vitamins can be a great SUPPLEMENT to your healthy diet.  However, vitamins are NOT a SUBSTITUTE for eating healthy meals, but should be used in conjunction.  (In fact, you won't even properly absorb most vitamins without food molecules to bind with or could just end up irritating your stomach.)

Maximizing nutritional intake by taking a vitamin 3x/day,WITH food, will help to ensure that your body is getting all that it needs to operate at its highest level.  Nutrition is the FUEL we were meant to run on.  Not pharmaceuticals, not processed junk (that we deem edible because we ingest it and it tastes good, but does nothing constructive for our bodies).  “When you have cravings, it’s a wake up call that something is out of balance, in either your diet or lifestyle” (Joshua Rosenthal). 

My recommendation is to choose whole foods and organic items where available and preferable.  Taking vitamin supplements 3x/day with meals keeps my energy high, metabolism in revved, muscle tone visible and joints pain free.  I will take vitamins for the rest of my life as part of my healthy nutrition regimen.  Consistency is key and forms good habits.  Knowing my nutrition is covered, I don’t feel any guilt over watching the ballgame with a slice and a beer—I still take my vitamins!