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See, I’m healthy….I take lots of vitamins!

One of the most interesting parts of my day happens when I am with my wife at the breakfast table as she takes her vitamins. She has a “half” zip lock baggie that literally bulges with all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors of vitamins. There are capsules, tablets, and pills of all varieties that get dumped into a pile beside her plate. She arranges them by type. The capsules get separated from the pills and the tablets from the other two piles. Then she starts one pill at a time into the process of consuming all those vitamins. I have asked her what all she is taking, and she is pretty good at telling me what each one is and what they are for.

A big problem I have with this is that she is taking a huge number of vitamins and that can get expensive at the rate she is taking them. The second problem I have is that she is taking many of these vitamins as a means of preventing certain conditions, most of which she will likely never end up with anyway. The third problem I have is that she is not regular and consistent with her vitamin consumption. As a happily married man, I know better than to say anything to her about this. I am only getting away with writing this because she never reads any of my office related social media/blog posts.

I am sure that there are many people that do exactly what my wife does with vitamin and mineral supplementation. I get it. I understand the thinking that taking a prophylactic quantity of vitamins will in theory prevent you from developing certain conditions or from getting sick. The question is, how many conditions do you want to prevent? Let’s take a little deeper look at the purpose of vitamins and minerals to see if we can shed some light on this subject.

Vitamins are a group of organic compounds (chemicals) that are essential to life because they cannot be synthesized by our bodies. The really great thing is that many of these vitamins are needed in such small amounts that just eating an adequate supply of fresh fruits and vegetables is enough to keep us healthy.

It is also important to remember that the various stresses that we undergo in our lives will deplete these vitamins and minerals. For example, if we are under an emotional stress, we tend to over utilize the B complex vitamins. If the B complex vitamins are depleted, we have poor nerve signal conduction, confusion of thought processes, certain anemias, and other sicknesses like beriberi that can occur. We know that a lack of vitamin C weakens our immune system. A lack of vitamin D inhibits our ability to absorb calcium which is necessary for bone strength and muscle contraction.

Most of the vitamins are water soluble. This means that what your body does not use immediately is passed out of your body in your urine. The fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are stored in your body fat if they are not used. The problem here is that if we store too much of this vitamin, they become toxic to us and make us sick. An example is jaundice that shows up like the yellow in this eye.

I recommend to my patients that they eat a healthy well-balanced diet. A good rule of thumb is to consume as many colorful fruits and vegetables as possible. These colorful foods are super rich in the vitamins and minerals that we need, and I like to think that they are colorful so that they draw our attention to them to be eaten.

We also need to be aware of our surroundings and our environment with regards to our vitamin and mineral intake. If we are going to catch a cold or the flu, it would likely occur when our immune systems are stressed. This occurs usually in the winter when we are exposed to the cold. Is it any wonder that we get sick when we’ve just come off a holiday that is fraught with stress and rich foods, late hours, and alcohol that deplete our system? This would be a great time to beef up on vitamin C and vitamin B complex.

If you are an outside summer person and have a diet that is rich in dairy, is there any real reason for you to be taking extra vitamin D and calcium? Probably not. Sunshine is an excellent source of vitamin D as are most dairy products.

So, my bottom line is that we could save ourselves a lot of time and money by simply eating smarter and healthier. If you would like to consult with me about your diet, supplement routine, and food related goals that you may have, please reach out to me from the contact us tab on this website or call me at 724-285-9093 to schedule a consultation.

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