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Vitamin Supplements: Do You Need To Take Them?

Updated on August 14, 2017
dwelburn profile image

David is an army-trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifelong health and fitness enthusiast.

Vitamin supplements
Vitamin supplements | Source

Do You Need Vitamin Supplements?

There are dozens of different types of vitamin supplements on the market today, but do we really need to take them?

Well, that depends. Vitamins and minerals are absolutely essential for our bodies to function properly and to maintain good health. And as most of them can’t be manufactured in our bodies we need to make sure we get enough of them from our diets.

But in today’s world that’s usually not possible. In fact a great many of the health problems we see today are simply the result of not getting enough vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in our diet. In short, most people are vitamin and mineral deficient to some extent.

Our Food Is Not What It Used To Be

Although eating too much of the wrong foods is partly to blame for this, poor dietary choices are not the only reason. Even if we try to eat a good healthy balanced diet we are unlikely to get all the nutrients we need. This is because the food we eat today is just not what it used to be. It is largely mass produced on land that has long since lost most of its mineral content. On top of this, many foods are harvested well before they have ripened, so the vitamins and other nutrients have not had time to develop fully. Also, food is often stored for long periods of time, transported long distances, irradiated, processed etc. So no matter how well we try to eat, it’s highly unlikely we’ll get all the nutrients we need from our food.

So unless you eat a good well balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and whole grain products, produced locally on mineral rich soils, you really do need to take some extra vitamins and minerals in supplement form each day. And of particular importance is a good quality multivitamin supplement.

But it’s very important to ensure you are taking the right type of supplement; otherwise you will gain little benefit from it, and you could even be doing yourself more harm than good.

The Problem With Most Vitamin Supplements

Unfortunately most of the products on the supermarket shelves, and even in the health shops, contain synthetic or ‘isolated’ vitamins and minerals. And even most of the expensive brands contain some synthetic ingredients. They may also contain various additives, fillers, binders, artificial colors etc.

The problem with synthetic vitamins and minerals is that they are not very well absorbed by the body. In fact you may absorb less than 10% of some minerals. Chelated minerals are a little better – but not much.

Furthermore, synthetic vitamins and minerals are not very well utilized when they are absorbed. And on top of this they can actually be harmful too – especially if taken long term or in large doses. So the very thing you are taking to improve your health could actually be damaging it.

So What’s The Solution?

However you can ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need, in a form that is safe, natural and easily absorbed, by choosing a whole food source multivitamin supplement such as those supplied by MegaFood or Garden Of Life.

By using a whole food product you not only get all the vitamins and minerals you need, but all the important synergistic ingredients and co-factors will also be present. These substances, which are only present in the whole food, work together to give a far more beneficial effect.

Dietitian, Dianne Thomsen, talks about the different types of vitamin supplements available today, and which is the most effective

Do you take vitamin supplements?

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Or, as an alternative to taking a multivitamin supplement, you could take a good greens supplement instead. And whilst this may not contain quite such high levels of vitamins and minerals, it will contain a wide range of additional ingredients, and because of this may provide even greater benefits. In fact many people say they experience more energy within hours, and clearer skin and brighter eyes within just a few days, of starting to take such a product.

Getting sufficient vitamins and minerals each day is vital for good health. It will ensure you maintain strong bones and a healthy immune system, as well as giving you more energy and vitality, better skin, hair and nails, improved sleep and better digestion. And it will also help to protect you from a whole range of chronic degenerative diseases.

So, to ensure you make up for any deficiencies in your diet, my advice would be to take a good quality whole food source multivitamin supplement (or a greens supplement) each day as the cornerstone of your nutritional program.


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    • dwelburn profile image

      David 4 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      Good to hear from you Raven. Sounds like you are doing the right things. Yes, "eat big to get big" only works to a certain extent. Depends on a lot of factors, but you need to eat clean most of the time. And too many calories equals getting fat, even if you do work out with weights.

    • ravenrage07 profile image

      John Fox 4 years ago from Richmond, VA

      I am currently last time I checked around 300 pounds. Not all fat, not all muscle not sure about the BMI. Anyway, I go to the gym now 3 times a week and I take supplements. I believe that working out and building your strength is one of the best things you can do for your body because it promotes many healthy benefits.

      As for supplements I generally take stuff like Creatine, Whey Protein, Fish Oil (for the Omega vitamins) and Flax Seed Oil. I also take a pre-workout powder which called No-Xplode which is basically a workout energy cocktail. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that the motto I've been hearing lately for bodybuilding of "Eat Big to Get Big" is false, since many people say "I worked out for two hours, now i can go eat anything I want! Doesn't work that way!

    • dwelburn profile image

      David 4 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      You are welcome Jackie; glad you liked it.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Very informative. I need my vitamins. Thanks.