Lining the shelves of convenience and health food stores are a plethora of vitamins and minerals that we are suggested to add to our daily diet.
While the list of nutrients cover each letter of the alphabet or element of the periodic table, it is time that we start to ask ourselves if vitamins are necessary to maintain optimal essentia my health .
Whether it’s swallowing a completely packaged multi-vitamin or nutrient-specific pills, the number of vitamins is too many? Here at Aaptiv, we’ll talk with both nutritionists and medical professionals to talk when (and how often) vitamins should be consumed.
Hint: You may be getting all your essential vitamins and minerals without consuming a single pill if you don’t need to.
Keep reading to learn if you are making the best decisions for your own body and swallowing vital and essentials nutrients (the correct way).
Food is a Natural Source of Vitamins
“Vitamins are meant to be a supplement to your daily diet,” says Registered Dietitian Emily IncledonRD, MS.
“Meaning, they can’t make up for a poor quality diet, but instead can improve deficiencies in your diet. Your body needs when vitamins come from actual food because your body recognizes them more. When you pick a vitamin off [of] a shelf, you run the risk of picking something that’s synthetically manufactured. For generally healthy people [who consume ] a balanced diet, there is not a need to take a multivitamin, nor be on a lengthy list of additional supplements (as your diet is already supplying you with nourishment you need). If you’re worried [that] you may be deficient in a particular vitamin, such as vitamin D, then you can work with your physician or dietitian to ascertain if you are deficient and what dose you should take to correct that deficiency.”When You Need to Be Adding Extra Nutrients (and Possible Vitamins)
Ideally, you should ingest nutrients in the kind of raw fruits and vegetables, in addition to grass-fed and excellent meat and fish. However, there are a few additional cases when you may want to take more pick vitamins, based on Registered Dietitian Brianna Harris RD, CNSC.
“As you age, your vitamin and mineral intake recommendations change,” says Harris. “The daily vitamin D recommendation raises to 800 IU per day for ages over seventy. You can get vitamin D from fatty fish, fortified milk, fortified cereals, or this great source. The calcium recommendation raises to 1,200 mg per day for women over 51 and men over seventy one. Food high in calcium includes: dairy products, dark leafy vegetables, soy, salmon, and almonds.”
Harris recommends taking a nutritional supplement if you don’t eat food high in calcium or vitamin D.
Furthermore, Harris asserts that vitamin B12 recommendations don’t increase with age. Your body’s ability to absorb it can decrease. “If you have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 you need to take a supplement like this 1 . The vitamin in supplement form is a’free form’ that can be easily absorbed.”
The choice to consume supplements is out there. But always try relying on the organic sources of nutrients first, if you can, before adding pills into your daily diet.
“Nutrition during pregnancy is vitally important because it helps the fetus to grow and develop properly,” says Harris.
“Some vitamin recommendations grow during pregnancy. 1 example, is the folate recommendation, which raises to 600 mcg each day. The best food sources of folate (good source) are lentils, broccoli, spinach, and fortified grains. During pregnancy, iron recommendations also increase to 27mg per day. You can get iron in beef products, liver, lamb, tofu, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, black beans, and green leafy vegetables. Make sure [that] you follow up with a health care practitioner to go over the rest of the vitamin and mineral recommendations during pregnancy that are specific to you.”
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If You’ve Got a Deficiency
“If you’re diagnosed with a deficiency in a certain vitamin, it is crucial to take the recommended dose provided by your physician,” says Harris. “Your doctor will recommend a specific dosage based on your deficiency level.”When Vitamins Can Cause More Harm Than Good
You know that you should try to get your vitamins from food. Additionally, taking too many vitamins can actually cause more damage than good by leading to serious health complications.
Dr. Albana Greca has seen a problem arise with her patients who have swallowed too many vitamins. “A problem I have faced with my patients is if they decided to take vitamin D and calcium supplements, although in low dose. This has altered their metabolism, and notably kidney function, resulting in stones or precipitating a kidney colic. I personally evaluate the foods or drinks the patient does consume, plus a complete blood levels of minerals and vitamins. Then, [I] decide to begin vitamin supplements (if needed).”
Multivitamins for Children
“Gummy vitamins may seem to be delicious, easy way for kids to take their vitamins, but they have as much as seven days [the] sugar as powder or pill vitamin options,” says Dentist Dr. Rachel Rosen, DDS. It’s not about the sugar, she asserts. “They also stick to your teeth! Foods (or sugars ) that are sticky are more difficult to rinse from teeth with water and saliva. They can become the breeding grounds for cavity-producing bacteria.”
Taking Too Many
“Surprisingly, there may be too much of a great thing when it comes to supplements and vitamins,” says Dr. Samantha Morrison. “Not all vitamins are created equal. On one hand, there are such water-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins C and B, which can be easily absorbed and depleted. Because of this, it is considerably rare for these vitamins to reach toxic levels. On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins, such as A and E, are usually obtained through the diet and stored in the body’s fat deposits. Consequently, it takes a large amount of time to allow the body to recycle these nutrients. Thus, it’s important to monitor your intake of these vitamins as an imbalance may have serious health consequences.”
Dr. Glenn H Englander from GastroGroup can attest to the dangers a great deal of synthetic vitamin A can have on the body. Thirty years ago (when he was a young gastroenterologist in New York) a patient passed from liver disease caused by excess vitamin A.”I still remember her saying how the she believed she was doing the right thing by taking additional (and seemingly healthy) nutrients. But, unfortunately, anyone can make and sell a vitamin.”
While not all cases are going to go be that extreme, it is always helpful to check in with your health care provider before adding any vitamins or supplements to your diet. Bear in mind, when possible, it is always better to get your nutrients from whole foods!