You work out, you try to eat healthy, but you wonder if you can do more to feel great and perform at your best. After wondering this, many people consider taking supplements and vitamins. The question is, do multivitamins and supplements work? The answer is yes and no.
If you are healthy, eat a well-balanced diet with all of your required vitamins and minerals, you may not need additional vitamins. This means that taking a multivitamin would be wasted or even dangerous in some cases.
In most cases, excess vitamins are filtered out through the kidneys and passed through the urine. Sadly, most of the vitamins that people take aren’t absorbed and are simply passed through the body. However, so vitamins and minerals can build up in the blood stream and increase certain health risks or create their own problems.
Vitamins such as iron and D3 shouldn’t be taken more than necessary. Your body also doesn’t eliminate the excess through the urine as it does with other vitamins such as B vitamins. This means it will circulate in your body until it is depleted.
If you continue to take these vitamins at high levels, it can cause serious health problems. D3, for example can cause you to develop excess calcium in the blood, which can make you ill, and in extreme cases cause death.
On the other hand, even relatively healthy people with a well-balanced diet could be taking medications that prevent the absorption of certain vitamins or minerals. Medicines such as proton pump inhibitors are well known for preventing the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. This means that alternative means or supplements may help increase the amount of vitamins absorbed into the bloodstream for these individuals.
Most of us don’t have a perfect diet though. Even if you are eating a strict vegan diet loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables, you are missing necessary vitamins and minerals from your diet, including vitamins D3 and B12. Vitamin D3 is essential for healthy bones and the absorption of calcium and B12 is critical for red blood cell development.
Unfortunately, both of these vitamins come primarily from dairy, meat, and other animal-based food products in your diet. That means that if you adhere to a strict vegan diet, it is a good idea to see your doctor regularly and have bloodwork and testing to ensure you are getting enough of these vitamins.
It is possible to get enough D3 through sun exposure without taking a supplement. However, if you use sunscreen or don’t spend much time outdoors, you still may not get enough D3 on a vegan diet.
There Is No Substitute for a Balanced Diet
Vitamins and minerals can be codependent. That is why you often see two supplements combined. For example, you can take calcium supplements, but if you don’t have enough vitamin D3, your bones can’t absorb that calcium. As a result, most calcium supplements come with D3.
Likewise, taking vitamin C with iron supplements could also drastically improve your body’s absorption of iron. This can greatly improve iron in people with iron deficient anemia and ensure that the iron you consume or take as a supplement is absorbing.
The vitamins and minerals you consume in your diet are much broader and more complex than those found in supplements. For example, if you eat an orange, you will receive your daily dose of vitamin C, plus vitamin A, many B vitamins, as well as protein, fiber, minerals and other nutritional requirements.
Recent studies have proven that those who get their nutrition from their diets are much less likely to develop cancer and have other health problems affected by vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately, try as we might, it may no be possible to get in all of our nutritional needs from our diet alone. If you have allergies, can’t afford fresh produce, or don’t have the time to prepare fresh foods, you will likely be lacking important vitamins and minerals.
To discover the gaps in your diet, you must visit your doctor for blood work to check your vitamin levels and ensure that the vitamins you have absorbed are not too high or low. This way, you can choose the best and safest supplements to keep your body functioning at its best.
It is important to follow up with your doctor to ensure your levels are ideal for you. Give us a call today at 205-352-9141 so that we can help you make sure you are receiving the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet. We will help you determine which vitamins and supplements will help you live your best life.