Short answer – Yes, you absolutely are.
Quick question first!!!
Do you believe that almost all problems are caused by an EXCESS or DEFICIENCY?
Let’s be objective though.
Biology is a science and science means using different methods to obtain an outcome that is most likely.
But first – look at this image…
Do YOU genuinely believe these have the same health benefits as foods containing these vitamins? This a question to ponder.
The ‘vitamin’ or ‘supplement’ industry is BIG, financially. And it’s barely regulated. Most are sold as food supplements so they can bypass laws that regulate sale of drugs and other legislation.
This means they’re safe, right?
Well, not quite. You can buy 7 chocolate bars and eat one each morning but would you consider that healthy? Again, your answer will be built upon your belief system…
Think about calcium as one example. You’re told that if you have osteoporosis to take calcium supplements. Seems logical, however, in the countries where osteoporosis is LOWEST the population do not take calcium supplements.
To be classified as a vitamin, there must be a disease resulting from the deficiency of it. Eg, vitamin C > scurvy. Vitamin D > rickets and so on.
Vitamins have long been a staple in many people’s daily routine, with the belief that they can help to support a healthy diet and lifestyle. Americans are particularly high consumers of these heavily marketed products. Google vitamins and you’ll get slammed with pages of adverts.
Here’s the thing, nutrition is complicated. It is not a case of simply taking a vitamin to be healthy UNLESS THERE IS A PROVEN DEFICIENCY. Taking vitamin supplements is actually harmful in most cases. And it’s the same with minerals.
The calcium example for osteoporosis. People’s bones don’t get stronger, what happens is they end up with calcified arteries in some cases. Not good.
Calcium supplements: Good for the bone, bad for the heart? A systematic updated appraisal..
Oh shit. Yeah…
Another example, high doses of vitamin A cause liver damage.
Too much vitamin D can lead to kidney stones. (although you’d need to take a LOT of vitamin D)
Another point, many people do not realise that certain vitamins have contraindications with medications, leading to negative side effects. Eek.
But the real deal here is that single-nutrient supplementation is stupid. It is reductionist thinking and doesn’t work. Nutrition is an EXTREMELY complex topic, not fully understood and works through hundreds of thousands of mechanisms and compounds all coming together to create a perfect symphony that is health! Not, take vitamin A to fix your skin…
Something I struggled to find is any studies showing the benefits of taking vitamins, but lots of studies showing that they can cause harm.
Another biggie with vitamins is that they are often marketed as a “quick fix” for poor health. Many people believe that by simply popping a few pills, they can solve any nutritional deficiencies or health problems they may have. This is just nonsense.
So, where to go from here…
Well, the ONLY ‘vitamin’ I’d suggest you look at is vitamin D but it’s not strictly a vitamin on its own… and only because of the latitudes we live at and the lifestyles we lead coupled with the difficulty of obtaining it from food. I wrote about it here and I recommend you read it also.
For EVERYTHING else, the solution is to eat food. Not food-like products but food, vegetables in particular. Lots of colours, textures and flavours.
And I’d suggest adding in herbs and spices. Aim for around 2-4Kg (4.5lb-9lb) per week of these foods.
That may sound a lot but that’s what we need really – supplements do supplement but in nearly every case they supplement someone’s income, and nothing more. You’ll clock this with nutritionists, podcasters, YouTubers and so on… If it needs an advert or endorsement – question why…
If you sincerely think you have a deficiency then get some bloods done for objective data.
All my love,