Most of us have a few or more vitamin bottles around the house. Vitamins make us feel like we are doing something to take care of ourselves even if nothing else in our life actually may look like it at the moment. With a vitamin we can be assured we did something and it all matters when we talk about our health. While most of us find the process of purchasing vitamins attractive and meaningful are they worth it?
The average household spends between $60 to over $100 on vitamins and supplements every month. Industry profits are expected to exceed $196 Billion by 2028. Everyone buys and uses vitamins and supplements. Despite the numbers though, there is still debate on if we should even be taking vitamins, what they do for us and if it is worth it.
What a vitamin does
Our bodies need 13 vitamins and about 15 minerals for its health support of functions. These are essential to our very life. It is easy to become depleted in a specific vitamin or mineral due to stress, diet, and lifestyle. These vitamins and minerals are needed daily to support our body, mind and spirits needs for converting them to energy, performing repairs and supporting all of our needs and functions.
Before vitamins were big business and formed into swallowable capsules, tasty gummies and liquids they were found in their original forms. Vegetation, fruit, roots, meats, sunshine and water gave early societies these essential vitamins and minerals. Food was pure, homegrown, untouched by chemical, watered without toxic water and fertilized by nature. It was a simple process and people consumed all they needed in their diet through this form.
As the world evolved, technology and automation was implemented and people left farms for other work, food changed. Processes were needed to produce a growing population and transportation made it easier to send food around the world. This opened up the ability to eat out of season food as well as try flavors from the globe. As these advances continued our food changed even more to become more convenient to support our refocused lives and way of living. In the course of these changes, we realized our diets were no longer providing all the vitamins and minerals we needed. People were experiencing diseases, illnesses and growth challenges that indicated something wasn’t working right.
This introduced the necessity and convenience of vitamins.
Vitamins and supplements contain enzymes and hormones that help our body organs, nerves, immunity and more function optimally. Without this support, we can be susceptible to illnesses and diseases. If we cannot get these elements from our diets, we can supplement for them with vitamins.
The preferred way to obtain vitamins and minerals is through our diet. The old adage you are what you eat relates to the vitamins and minerals we need to be active, breathe, consume information, process stress and eliminate waste. If our bodies do not receive these regular intervals of vitamins and minerals functions do not perform as well for very long. Our cells do not reproduce, we lack energy, are depressed or moody and do not feel well overall.
Why take vitamins
Taking a vitamin is intended to supplement a healthy lifestyle. They fill in the gaps from our diet where certain vitamin and mineral levels are less than ideal and needed for optimal body performance. This can happen as a result of access to quality foods, stress, and more. Additionally, since our food system has so many points where over processing, chemicals are introduced and preservatives added many natural vitamins and minerals are taken out of foods.
Where most people misunderstand vitamins is in thinking it replaces a poor lifestyle and diet. You cannot supplement your way out of poor dietary habits. Vitamins can help build health but it truly is up to each of us individually to be taking the actions to create health. Ensuring we are eating nutritious foods and drinking good quality water are still the cornerstones of health.
Choosing to take a vitamin ensures gaps in any vitamins and minerals you need are filled. It is like insurance for your car and home. With the state of food quality, vitamins are needed to ensure we do not create gaps too.
The Quality of Your Vitamin Matters
There are numerous brands, types and forms of vitamins on the market. Every basic store carries vitamins as well as many online stores. Prices also vary based on brand, type and form so it is easy to see why many get overwhelmed at what vitamin to choose.
Ingredients is by far the most important factor to consider. Ensuring a natural whole food vitamin provides the closest match possible between a vitamin and your dietary food needs for vitamins and minerals. Many vitamins are chemically produced and flavored so while the label says they contain the essentials, your body cannot process chemically made ingredients so they are worthless. Check the label, do your research and talk to your natural health practitioner.
Many natural health practitioners use professional natural products and have access to high quality vitamins you can purchase. Their guidance is invaluable when looking for good vitamins and finding one of quality right for your needs.
As far as capsule, chewable, gummy or liquid forms of vitamins these are comparable as long as quality of ingredients is included. Use the form that best works for you.
Price is a consideration so please work with your natural health practitioner on options and brands to get the best that fits into your budget.
The Basic Vitamins – Multivitamins
There are so many different types of vitamins that it can be challenging to know what you should take and what you need. Your natural health practitioner can perform tests such as muscle testing, biofeedback and urinalysis to help identify specific nutritoinal gaps.
For basics, a good multi-vitamin is a great place to start. Again, look for a whole food natural product that best aligns to dietary foods. If you purchase no other vitamin, a multi-vitamin helps ensure the basics are covered.
Beyond multi-vitamins we look at you specifically and what your health is needing. There are some common themes we see such as:
Your natural health practitioner will use your health information to work with you on a plan to identify supplements that may be of use to you beyond the multi-vitamin.
Once the basics are covered, vitamins can be considered for specific health goals and needs. For example, someone experiencing recurring colds and flus may benefit from a boost in their immunity supporting vitamins such as Zinc. Another person considering pregnancy may benefit from additional folic acids. This is where having an honest conversation with natural health practitioner can be beneficial so you don’t end up with a cabinet of vitamins you really don’t need.
In most cases, we don’t need to take focused supplements for long. These can be used as we need them as a preventative and supportive aspect of our health care. Continuing to take a vitamin we really don’t need ends up being washed from our system with minimal benefit. Given the cost of vitamins this a sincere consideration to know you only take what you need when you need it.
Frequency of vitamins – do you really need to take them every day?
For basic vitamin needs, such as multi-vitamins, the answer is yes. Taking them daily at about the same time daily matters. This assures your body the ability to plan it’s needs around the next anticipated delivery of vitamins and minerals so it can operate.
For specialized supplements, follow the labeling on the bottle. Work with your natural health practitioner on duration and support knowing when to resume them in the future.
There are vitamins that work best at nighttime instead of morning too. This is because most of our repairs, cell regeneration and absorption of vitamins occurs when we are sleeping. I advise my clients that any vitamin that supports detoxification, cell regeneration or repairs to take at bedtime or after the evening meal.
For vitamins that seem to upset the stomach after taking them, check the ingredients. This can be a sign they are not naturally derived and you are having a reaction to it. Follow the label instructions if it advises taking with food.
Always take vitamins with plenty of water to allow them to breakdown appropriately in your digestive system.
How to find out what we need beyond that
Working with a natural health practitioner to look at your whole health state and goals is key to identifying the right vitamins and supplements. Together you can outline a plan that fits your needs, interest and budget. Using vitamins and supplements to support our health helps us build foundational health that is optimal and can endure the things we bring into our body and life daily.
How to work with me
To work with me as your natural health practitioner, please visit my website to schedule a consultation. I’m always happy to help answer your questions and help those interested in supporting their health more naturally.
N.A. Fortune Business Insights. (2021 May). Vitamins and Supplements Market Size, Share and COVID-19 Impact Analysis. Retrieved, February 21, 2022, from: https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/vitamins-and-supplements-market-104051
Goodman, Brenda. WebMD. (2013 December 16). Experts: Don’t Waste Your Money on Multivitamins. Retrieved, February 21, 2022, from: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/news/20131216/experts-dont-waste-your-money-on-multivitamins#1#:~:text=%22Research%20shows%20that%20the%20two%20main%20reasons%20people,provides%20reason%20for%20people%20to%20take%20a%20multivitamin.%22
Jalili, Thunder. Health University of Utah. (2020 February 4) Do Those Supplements Actually Work? Retrieved, February 21, 2022, from: https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_1dum7dno