Written by: Dr. Loreen Dawson, ND
One of the most common questions I am asked by people is whether or not they should take vitamins. This is a really good question. In a perfect world, if you eat well and live a healthy life, you shouldn’t need vitamins. But what does it mean to eat well and live a healthy life. Well, if you eat a completely whole food diet (that means everything, EVERYTHING, is homemade); and that diet includes a wide variety of mostly vegetables, along with a little meat and/or legumes, some eggs, some fish and seafood, some whole grains, and healthy sources of fats; and all your food comes from local, well nourished soil; harvested at the right time, delivered and eaten within a day or two of being harvested; and, always stored, cooked and served to guarantee maximum nutrition, then you would be getting enough nutrition to your body.
Now let’s consider your body’s needs.
If you live a life which includes lots of daily physical activity, but nothing that strains or injures you; and you have little stress, and great coping mechanisms to deal with any stresses you do have; lots of sound sleep every night, and good energy all day long; perfect digestion; balanced hormones; loving relationships; time for fun and leisure; daily sunshine and a body which is basically healthy, without any specific health concerns, or increased risks of health problems, then, you probably don’t need to take any vitamins. In addition, if you have lots of fresh, clean water to drink, clean air to breath, and live in a home and environment completely free of toxic chemicals, never use toxic chemicals on your skin or hair, then, you probably don’t need vitamins. For everyone else, the right vitamins can make a huge difference in your overall and long term health.
Finding the right vitamins is much more difficult than it sounds. In fact, it is one of the most difficult parts of my job. Vitamin quality varies hugely. What is written on the label is usually a poor reflection of what is actually in the bottle. Dosages on the label are meaningless without understanding how the form of each vitamin alters the body’s ability to use it. Raw materials are frequently contaminated, adulterated, old, or even lacking in active ingredients. Does your vitamin company check for that? Most don’t. All vitamins contain binders, fillers and flow agents. These can really affect the ability of your body to digest and use the vitamins. Even with the right vitamins, the wrong fillers can greatly affect how much benefit you will get from your vitamin. A new problem is counterfeit vitamins available online. These are vitamins that use the name and similar labels of a reputable company but use poor quality products. Then, they are sold at a cheaper price than would be available from a reputable source.
If you need help figuring out which vitamins you would benefit from, or, how to determine the quality of your vitamins, please come and see us at Hummingbird Naturopathic Clinic. We are here to help you improve your health.