Today, most people are toxic and nutrient depleted and the quality of our soil where our fruits, vegetables and whole foods grow from is lacking minerals more than ever, causing our foods to contain less minerals as a result. Not only this, but our fresh food travels a long time until it makes it onto our plate. Supplements are increasingly becoming more of a necessity to everyone.
So does this mean all you need to do is pop a “one-a-day” multi-vitamin and you’re on your way to feeling like a rockstar?
Supplements must supplement an already nutrient dense diet. Those “One-a-day” multi-vitamins you may be taking are a marketing-made myth. If they are intended to provide nutrients our diets might be deficient in then we would want them to mimic food as close as possible and contain enough of a dose to meet our daily nutritional requirements. Also specific nutrients, like vitamin C and the all the B vitamins, only last in the body for about 4 hours. So if you’re going to go the multivitamin route, look for multis with at least 2-3 times per day dose to stay topped up.
In case you’re wondering about those gummy vitamins you see being promoted all over instagram – they’re just expensive candy. Save ya monay honay.
So what’s really in your multi-vitamin?
Majority of multivitamins are synthetic; which means your body would have a hard time absorbing them properly. Even the ones that claim they are “natural” or food-based” are often derived from limestone, coral, oyster shell, sand, and chalk! Yummy.
However, since everyone is unique, some people actually absorb synthetic better than food-based. But you won’t find them at your local drug store or Costco. The key is to look for high quality synthetic formulations like: Jigsaw Complete, Klaire Labs, Designs for Health, Metagenics, and Thorne which may be found at your local health food store, amazon, or supplied through your naturopath or certified nutritionist.
If you do happen to find a true “natural” multivitamin, keep in mind you would need to take several times the recommended dosage to come even close to meeting your nutritional needs. In case you go with natural food-based supplements some of the best brands are: Innate Response, Garden of Life, New Chapter and Pure Synergy. I personally tend to stick with greens powders that I just mix into water. Genuine Health and Progressive are a couple I keep around for days where I don’t get my usual servings of fresh vegetables in.
What to look for next time you’re reading the label on a vitamin supplement:
Chelated Minerals: Which are minerals bound to amino acids, for maximum absorption. ie: chelated zinc, chelated magnesium, chelated copper.
Methylated B vitamins: A certain percentage of the population – possibly as high as 30% – is unable to metabolize the unmethylated forms of specific B vitamins, namely Folate and Vitamin B12. The active forms of these B vitamins are referred to as the methylated form. This is the form that your body can actually utilize. Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 which is harder to convert into the active form, folate is the active form you need to be looking out for.
Are you actually “covering your bases”?
In my practice I don’t regularly advise my clients take multi-vitamins because every single vitamin and mineral has an effect on every other mineral or vitamin in the body. I look at multis as a jack of all trades, master of none. Since we are all so uniquely different, I find that mineral and vitamin therapy works best when customized.
For customized supplementation, it’s important to enlist your physician to order blood tests and any other tests recommended. Be your own health advocate, you know your body best and if you feel like something is “off” don’t wait for your symptoms to magically go away, take action and ask for help. And even if blood tests show up as normal but you still feel off, listen to your intuition, look for a second (or third, or fourth…) opinion and consider nutritional interventions to help feel your best again. I also want to highlight that there is a fine line of excessive nutrient intake that can actually lead to health risks such as liver toxicity, heart disease and cancer. More doesn’t always mean better so make sure to work with your physician to determine appropriate dosing.
Do you still have questions about what supplements you should be taking? As always, consult your physician before taking any new supplements and work with a certified nutrition professional on improving your diet. If this is something you’d like to dive a little deeper in, consider becoming one of my clients by signing up for a discovery call here.
These products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This post was not sponsored by any brands listed above. These recommendations are what I’ve researched as some of the highest ranked in quality based on ingredients. Everyone is different so what works for one person may not work for another. Duration and dose of supplemental intake should be considered in order to notice any beneficial improvements.