It’s a challenge these days to decide what general vitamins to take, or even the best multivitamins to take. One reason is that there are so many choices, too many choices – and they are not all created equal for sure. Another reason is that we are all unique. Women need different things than men, the needs of age groups vary, and of course you are unique to another person of the same gender and age. This all adds up to a complex decision.
Vitamins, specifically whole-food based natural supplements (not a tablet of chemicals), should not be ignored. Today we have proof that they work to make you healthier; and with all the factors in our world that work against our health, we need nutrition support to be healthier.
Let’s talk about 5 things you need to consider before you put that vitamin to your mouth.
1. Great health comes from nature, not from chemicals.
You might not realize that many vitamins are synthetic. And you might not realize that many vitamins that have different labels on them are produced in the same factories and aren’t unique at all. There are household brand names that have been around a very long time and represent themselves as the best or most popular when they are full of chemicals, artificial colors and flavors and can even be coal-tar based. If you haven’t seen results from taking vitamins, chances are that you either have taken a synthetic brand that doesn’t really deliver measurable health results.
Some cold hard facts about vitamins is that leading store brands can provide less than 10% of the nutrients your body needs. Since vitamins are not regulated well, what’s stated on the label is not necessarily in the bottle, and products need to be only about 10% natural to state on the label that they are ‘natural’. In addition, the ingredients that are in the tablets may not be in a formulation that will get absorbed in your body. I don’t know about you but these things don’t sit well with me. And if you ignore taking vitamins because of what you have read so far, you aren’t getting the opportunity to find the great products out there that can really make a difference in your health and wellness.
2. It’s hard to get the nutrients we need from our foods today.
If you don’t get the right nutrients you will increase your risk for long term diseases. Diseases and illnesses that in the past were thought of as being part of aging, are now hitting people at much younger ages, even kids. Diabetes and the different health challenges that are linked to it has increased across age groups. Joint pain that results in limiting physical activity is affecting people at younger ages.
If your goal is to live younger longer, you have to take care of your body. Your cells will determine your health, and you determine what you feed your cells. To make that a tougher challenge, our food today doesn’t have the nutrients in it that was in the food of our grandparents. Many factors contribute to that but the fact is that very few people are eating the right foods, the quality of foods, and without the chemicals or other additives that take away from food’s value. Supplementing will work for most of us.
3. Absorption is essential if you want to get the benefits of the nutrients.
If the nutrients you take don’t get to the right part of your body at the right time, absorption goes down and your body doesn’t get the benefit of the nutrients. For example, it is important that some vitamins be released in your stomach to enhance absorption; and your fat soluble nutrients such as fish oil and vitamin E are digested better and absorbed better if they are released in your upper intestine. You want your probiotics to be delivered right into your lower intestine where it will benefit your body best. If your probiotic dissolves in your stomach, how is it going to get the healthy microflora to your intestine?
Not every vitamin or supplement company offers this kind of delivering nutrients to the right part of the body with special formulations that increase absorption. They don’t spend the money to do the research or create the product in this way. Beware your company doesn’t spend most of its money on marketing or celebrity endorsements because you want the money going to the quality of the vitamin or supplement.
4. Safety is important
Safety issues make the news all the time. Vitamin companies have closed down or at least been hurt by quality and safety issues. This is huge because it involves your health and you have to feel safe taking supplements the same as you do eating foods. There are safety checks in place but the vitamin and food supplement industry is not regulated closely enough. Just like you see issues with foods, you are going to see issues with vitamins – and it’s scary.
It is essential to do your homework and find a vitamin and supplement source that puts safety, quality and efficacy first. You can find that company that goes beyond the industry standards and uses the best quality ingredients, conducts more safety and quality tests than they are required to do, and rejects any ingredients that are below their high standards. You won’t find many (fortunately we found one such company over 35 years ago and we can let you in on the secret!) but there are a few out there.
5. Your doctor may think that all brands of vitamins and food supplements are created equal.
The truth is that they are not, and it’s not necessarily your doctor’s fault that he or she thinks this way. In medical school they might get a semester about nutrition but they are not getting information about brands or quality or formulations. They are more focused on medications and medications are highly regulated. While there may be differences between name brands and generics, the generics must still perform their role. It’s not the same with supplements.
When your doctor prescribes a medication for your illness or disease, he is counting on you taking it as prescribed to heal or treat you. When he tells you to take a vitamin that can help your health challenge, he doesn’t know if you will go buy it and he certainly doesn’t know if you will take it every day. I think this is one of the main reasons many doctors don’t get too involved with supplements (medical insurance issues may be a factor as well).
It’s your body and YOU have to decide what to feed it. If you eat crappy food most every day and then take one multivitamin tablet every once in awhile to make up for that kind of diet, you aren’t going to get much benefit. When you take vitamins sporadically such as when you ‘remember’ to take them, you are not seeing them as a priority to your health.
We have the long term studies that have measured the results of taking whole-food, all-natural supplements. Blood tests have been measured. People are enjoying the results of better health. But they are faithful to taking their vitamins and they have the healthy goal of wanting to live better longer.
Today with genetic risk factors, all the environmental challenges around us every day, stress in our lives, sleep problems, lack of enough physical activity, our food situation that has changed to being driven by fast food, processed food that is no longer natural and loaded with sugar, bad fats and too many calories, it’s clear to me that we need all the help that we can get.
If you would like to learn more about vitamins and supplements that are real food from nature, food-based, all-natural supplements, and which vitamins can help you – in your unique body – improve your health, contact us through the blog, email, or pick up the phone and call us. We love talking about staying healthy!
Please join our Anti-Aging By Design list to stay connected. Just put your name and email in the box at the top of the column on the right.