Almost every patient that comes into the office can rattle off a list of prescription drugs and miscellaneous vitamins they take because they heard about some random study on the local news channel regarding their particular condition. While I do believe that vitamins can be beneficial in some instances, there are things that I believe you need to know. As good as vitamins can be for you, they can also be essentially worthless. Yes, that’s correct, I did say your vitamins can be worthless.
As we look at vitamins, the majority of vitamins we purchase, whether it be at your local health food store or what seems to be a favorite of many people, the wholesale warehouse (ie, Sam’s Club or Costco), you are almost always purchasing synthetic isolated vitamins. Synthetic meaning lab created and isolated meaning by itself. Here is where the problem lies. We weren’t created to take either one. Synthetic vitamins aren’t natural. In fact, there’s usually other chemicals involved, some of which can be harmful. As well, when were we ever supposed to take in individual nutrients? Take vitamin C for instance. Many people want to supplement vitamin C due to the numerous health benefits that have been shown. In most cases, the vitamin C you take comes as ascorbic acid. Well, when you eat an orange for instance, the majority of the ascorbic acid is actually in the peel. Not only do you get vitamin C with the orange, but you also get a ton of co-enzymes that assist in the uptake of the vitamin C and also increase your health. You get things like magnesium, potassium, calcium, fiber, etc. all of which are necessary for proper cell function. You can never get the same health from taking vitamins as you can from taking food. It is not possible.
So what can you do to increase your health? Start with small things. Begin with eating some form of raw fresh fruits or vegetables before you eat anything else. That includes meals and snacks. If you want a donut, eat the donut, but eat something natural first. This will help to at least increase the vitamin and nutrient sufficiency of the meal. As well, you may find it will help curb your cravings for things that aren’t so good for you like the donut. Clearly, our food nutrients have declined over the years due to agricultural practices. If you would like vitamins, go with vitamins that are created from natural, whole food choices. These will have greater nutrient contents and are much more readily absorbable. Understand, however, that taking a multivitamin will never replace healthy eating. It can only supplement that which you may not be getting.
What should you take? Again, your diet is the key to getting proper nutrients. However, there are some things that I believe everyone should take as they can’t be eaten in a great enough dose. A good quality, whole food multivitamin is the way to go for your vitamin needs. In our office, we use Catalyn by Standard Process. It is food, so it is easily digestible and packed with nutrients. Another key supplement is a quality fish oil. Fish oil is rich in EPA and DHA two omega-3 fatty acids. Our food today is essentially void in them so they would need to be supplemented. As well, they make up the cell membrane of every cell in your body so they are essential for true health. Also, a quality probiotic supplement is another product we should take every day. The way we grow our food has decreased the good bacteria which our bodies need to have in order for proper digestion. Start there and work on the diet and you’ll feel like a brand new person!
Yours in Health,
Dr. James Ashley, DC