The HealthStyle File: How To End Vitamin Confusion

What: You walk up and down the vitamin aisle feeling totally confused. Asking yourself, should I buy vitamins? Are they really necessary? Are all brands created equal? Which formula is right for my body?

Why: Why do you need to take vitamins if you eat a healthy diet? According to naturopath, Dr Scott Rose, “You can eat the best diet possible and still develop nutritional deficiencies due to: food processing/production and over farming of soil which causes depletion of the minerals in the soil; this results in produce that has lower vitamin/mineral content than it did twenty or thirty years ago.”

  • Do you need more vitamins during times of stress? I took that question to naturopath, Dr Naomi Bryant. “In times of stress, many of my patients turn to caffeinated drinks as a way to keep going while burning the candle at both ends. Caffeine will cause your body to lose minerals which may result in a mineral deficiency; when your body is deficient in minerals, especially magnesium, you may experience difficulty sleeping, muscle spasms and low back pain.”

How: In these times of high stress what can you do to improve your health and stick to your budget?

  • Keep it simple and start with a great multivitamin: Women (pre-menopause) need to make sure their multivitamin has iron. Men and post menopausal women do not need to supplement with iron. I advise my clients to take capsules, not tablets. In most cases, capsules break down easier and are more effectively assimilated in the body.
  • Fish Oil: Research strongly supports a daily dose of fish oil. The American diet is very low in “good fat”. Good fats come from eating a diet rich in nuts, seeds and fatty fish. Many physicians are now recommending fish oil for their patients who are fighting health challenges such as depression, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Key points when taking vitamins:

  • Always take them with food, unless advised otherwise by your health care professional.
  • Take them with water, not with caffeinated beverages. The caffeine may bind with the minerals, resulting in limited absorption in the body.
  • Avoid vitamins with fillers, dyes and extra ingredients such as magnesium stearate or stearic acid (this is a lubricant fat that is added to the vitamin during production). This fat is difficult to digest and may prevent absorption of the vitamin in your system.

If you are still feeling a bit confused about your vitamin routine, write me an email and book a telephone appointment with me to discuss a customized plan of action for your health.

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