Vitamins, Take Em, Or Leave Em...

             Should you throw them out, or take them...

Some people think that if you take vitamin pills by the handful, you don't have to bother watching what you eat. It's easy to see the attraction of this approach. You can exist on junk food, have a terrible lifestyle, and vitamin pills save the day. Most people take a less extreme view, and try to eat right, exercise some, and rest. These folks believe that they will fall short of the ideal vitamin intake, and they take vitamins as a kind of insurance policy. Having a deficiency in any vitamins can put you on the path to bad health, and premature aging. Vitamin deficiencies can go unnoticed for many years until illness develops. Vitamin deficiency can arise either from inadequate intake, abnormal metabolism, excessive excretion, or because of an underlying disease process. It can also arise because of imbalance in other vitamins or minerals since these nutrients interact with each other. Regardless of how you got there, if allowed to go unaddressed then your health may become compromised. Some healthy groups particularly at risk for vitamin deficiency are:
  • Pregnant and lactating women
  • The elderly who often live a sedentary lifestyle with notoriously bad diet's, are at risk for a broad range of vitamin deficiencies including vitamin D because of their limited sun time
  • Strict vegetarians who are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • People who are doing intense training for sport, survival training etc.

These people have legitimate reasons to supplement with vitamins, keeping in mind that more is not necessarily better. This is particularly true with the fat-soluble vitamins that will be stored in the liver, like vitamin A. They can eventually reach toxic levels and cause liver damage. Even the water-soluble vitamin C can cause diarrhea at levels of 2000mg a day, which is lower than the amount some people take in the hope of staving off colds.

A vitamin profile blood test will help you to discover if you have a particular vitamin deficiency that could be affecting your health. Then you will know which vitamins to pay attention to, giving you an effective, and rational approach for supplementation. It will also save you a few bucks and unnecessary vitamin supplementation. Remember some vitamins in excess can be detrimental to your health. So what we know is that, it isn't wise to just embark on a vitamin supplement program with out some baseline facts in place. You would just be throwing your money down the drain. Many studies have shown that vitamins from supplements do not act on the body in the same way as vitamins from foods. Take apples, they are a rich source of vitamin C, which builds up the immune system. But when researchers at Cornell University in New York compared the effects of apples and vitamin C tablets, the results surprised everyone. The apples contained many other naturally occurring chemicals in addition to vitamin C, including antioxidants called flavanoids and polyphenols that are thought to protect against cancer. This meant that eating a small apple (100g) gave an antioxidant effect equivalent to taking 1500mg of vitamin C, and you'd have to take a mega-dose supplement to achieve that. One of the study's authors, Professor Chong Yong Lee, said, "Some of the chemicals we found in apples are known to be anti-allergenic, some are anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral." Recently, the US Women's Health Study found a link between vitamin C supplements and an increased risk of hardening arteries in some people with diabetes.

Dr.Weil has a web site that offers a rather elaborate questioner method for determining your vitamin needs. Keeping in mind now, that it can't tell if you have any vitamin deficiencies just what levels of which vitamins you should have to suit your lifestyle https://www.drweilvitaminadvisor.com Personally the way I look at it is, if you guys aren't juicing, and eating fresh fruits, nuts and veggies, what are you waiting for? Me, I'd rather rely on fresh grown organic produce for my vitamins, than some synthesized version of nutrients. I must admit though when I feel run-down or I'm training hard I do take a multi-vitamin supplement with minerals occasionally. One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to increase your fruit, and vegetable consumption. These are the foods that are nutrient rich, vitamin rich and mineral rich. Currently most of us nutritionists agree eat as much of as many  varieties as you can. I realise this is a tall order because it takes tremendous effort to wash produce and stick in in your mouth. It  must be true because most people don't even eat half the recommended quantity. These foods contain more than the vitamins and minerals. They contain many other plant benefits, that can't be put in a bottle or made into a pill. However if you won't eat  healthy foods, get a deficiency test and supplement accordingly. Don't expect to get a good vitamin at wall-mart or most local pharmacies. All they sell is crap. Do an online search for what you need, and use the best product you can afford. Good Luck...

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