Vitamins and Real Food

Is there any benefit to taking vitamins?

If you are taking them for a specific deficiency, then yes they can be useful.  However, most supplement users are what this article refers to as the “worried well” or people who are taking them because they believe that they are somehow protective and healthful.

Yet another study has confirmed that people taking vitamins do not have lower rates of cancer and heart disease than people who do not supplement.

Taking Multi-Vitamin Pills Does Nothing for our Health

What is it going to take for people to realize that there is no magic pill?  There is nothing you can take– no vitamin, no mineral, no herb, no superfruit-extract, no prescription drug that is going to give you what is found in real food or reduce your risk of disease.  It’s boring and no one wants to hear it but the truth is the best thing you can do is to get your nutrients from healthy food and be physically active.

One of the top ways to get all of those vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals into your body is to focus on plant foods.  Fresh, whole (unrefined) plant foods have the highest nutrient density, meaning you get the most bang for your calorie buck.

Perhaps try incorporating more vegan food into your life:

No Meat, No Dairy, No Problem

Or read about how more health conscious people (including many nutritionists!) are going vegan:

The Mainstreaming of Vegan Diets

Do you take vitamins?  Do you choose what to eat based on the nutrient content of your food or do you go more for taste or convenience?

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3 Responses to Vitamins and Real Food

  1. I do take a B vitamin and fish oil. The thing I wish someone would research is how available these vitamins are once we take them. Do we even absorb any of the minerals or vitamins in these pills? I take fish oil because I try not to eat much fish but I would like to get lots of Omega-3s in my diet. I know chia seeds are a good source of Omega-3s but you need to eat so many of them to get the same amount of Omega-3s as in one vitamin.

  2. Corinne Goff says:

    I’ve wondered the same thing myself. I don’t think the answer can be easily determined because of all the variables like peoples unique biological makeup, nutritional needs, metabolisms, and current state of health. Then there is the variable regarding the source of the vitamin (synthetics can be found in different forms, for example B12 could be cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin, etc) and even truth in labeling issues. It’s so complex!

    In addition, the balance of vitamins and minerals found in pill form is not that which is naturally derived from food and is missing other components of nutrition found in real food like cofactors and phytochemicals.

    As for fish oils, the ration of omega6 to omega3 may be more important than the actual amount of omega3. With all the processed oils and fried foods most people eat, their ratios are way off. To further complicate things, the conversion of ALA to DHA varies from person to person.

    If you are curious you could ask your doctor to test your DHA levels. I asked mine but his lab didn’t test for that so I never found mine out.

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