Do I need vitamin supplements?
Do I need vitamin supplements?
Vitamin supplements are a multibillion-dollar industry world-wide. Probably the most popular type of supplement we take is the multivitamin. And the multibillion-dollar question is do we need to take multivitamins? Some health professionals say all it does is make expensive urine, while other health professionals prescribe them for optimal health and wellness. Let us look at some of the reasons why we need our vitamin supplements.
The folate factor
The proponents of ‘getting all your vitamins from food’ even now have conceded that maybe we need to be supplementing with folate if we are planning on getting pregnant. Folate works in concert with other B vitamins so it was suggested we may need to take B vitamins to reduce a toxic amino acid (homocysteine) to safe levels for pregnancy. This of course raises the question regarding reducing this toxic amino acid may be a good idea for everyone else also? After all, homocysteine has been implicated for cardiovascular disease, which is our biggest killer.
The national deficiencies
Probably the easiest vitamin to get is vitamin D. After all, you don’t even need to eat or drink to get it. All you need to do is simply go outside in the sun and your body will make it. It is therefor hard to believe that most people are actually deficient in vitamin D. Even in ‘sunburnt countries’ like Australia, we are generally vitamin D deficient. Thus, you need to supplement with Vitamin D to ensure optimal levels of this important vitamin.
Medications create needs
Most people are on some kind of medication. While medications are generally beneficial if they are prescribed correctly, some medications can create deficiencies. For example, the most commonly prescribed medication are cholesterol lowing drugs that can further lower vitamin D because vitamin D is actually made from cholesterol. Even simple aspirin can increase your needs for Vitamin C.
Fast foods and processed foods
You will have to be eating like an angel to avoid eating some kind of processed or fast food every week. People often identify processed food as fast-foods (and correctly so), but processed foods include breads, pastas, breakfast cereals and even cows’ milk. A lot of Westerners utilise these foods as staples in their daily life often eating cereals for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch or pasta for dinner. These foods are consumed in huge amounts daily.
The modern farming system
Farmers these days do the best they can. They are businesses and are trying to be profitable in a competitive environment. Farmers are paid by the tonne of produce and thus, try to produce as much as they can. The soil has a limited amount of nutrients, the plants simply don’t have all the nutrients they one did. Thus, even if you are eating fresh, healthy plant foods, you still could be deficient in nutrients. Thus, even healthy foods these days are deficient in nutrients, compared to the foods we ate decades ago.
The take home message
You need to take your vitamins. Most people eat some kind of process food daily, which by its nature is fairly deficient in most natural nutrients. And even if you are eating a super-healthy diet, you are probably still deficient in one or more key nutrients due to modern farming practices. Or, you could simply be taking sub-optimal levels of nutrients, while you may be getting enough to prevent deficiencies. Again, you simply need a high-quality multivitamin to ensure you are taking optimal nutrients for optimal health.