To take vitamins or not to take vitamins that is the question. This week I am exploring a subject that I have been wondering about. How necessary is it to take a pill form of vitamins and minerals verses just eating a micronutrient rich diet? How does taking pills with high concentrations of certain vitamins and minerals affect our bodies? These are important questions because it is clearly evident vitamins and minerals are necessary for our bodies to function properly, but what is the right way to take and handle them.
Vitamins and minerals are substances your body needs for normal growth and functioning. Some facilitate crucial chemical reactions, while others act as building blocks for the body. It’s easy to get enough micronutrients from your food if you maintain a healthy diet. But most people fail; they’ll eat two or three servings of fruits and veggies per day rather than the recommended five. Because of this doctors suggest a multivitamin as a sort of nutritional safety net for many of their patients. But, this is just a safety net. So-called “whole foods” like veggies and whole grains contain fiber and a host of other important nutrients that can’t be adequately delivered through pills. In fact, scientists are still finding new “trace elements” in whole foods that may someday be labeled essential to health — but aren’t found in any pill. This is why many times you need to be wary of what brand and where you are buying vitamins.
As you seek the proper multivitamin or dietary supplement, it’s best to keep your guard up. The supplement industry is relatively unregulated, and you can injure or even kill yourself with “natural” products bought at your neighborhood supplement store. Although most health claims attached to multivitamin formulations are doubtful, but harmless. The exception is in relation to recommendations of vitamin megadoses. It is just important to watch what vitamins are in high concentrations. So-called fat-soluble vitamins — that is, vitamins A, D, E, and K — accumulate in the body, making overdosing a real threat. Vitamin overdoses have been associated with liver problems, weakened bones, cancers, and premature mortality. To prevent these problems, you just need awareness. Spread the word about vitamins that they are helpful and recommended but not essential if getting enough vitamins and minerals from the food you eat.