Should You Take a MultiVitamin?

Have you asked yourself this question at any time?  I have and I used to take them at different times.  Usually when I found one on sale at the health food store or if my Mom happened to bring me a bottle from Hippocrates where she worked.  But I never felt like I needed one until recently.  More and more of us are finding benefits from nutritional and herbal supplements.  Sure, diet alone should be able to provide all the essential nutrition necessary for optimal health, but not many of us are eating a diet that could make that possible.  And most one a day multi vitamins provide less than ideal amounts of most key nutrients, not to mention you end up urinating out what your body doesn’t need.

More and more Americans are now regularly taking vitamin or mineral supplements.  Unfortunately, most people taking a multiple vitamin or mineral supplement are still not getting what they really need.  Rueters Health states that “more than 30 percent of multivitamins tested recently by contained significantly more or less of an ingredient than claimed, or were contaminated with lead..”

Minerals are important.  The key function of vitamins and minerals in the body revolve around their serving the role as essential components in enzymes and coenzymes.  Enzymes are chemicals that speed up the rate of reactions between substances while being consumed themselves.  They are vital to bodily functions like digestion. Enzymes are a type of protein that sometime work in tandem with non-proteins called coenzymes.  If an enzyme is lacking an essential mineral or vitamin, it can’t properly function.  We have to provide the necessary minerals through our diet to help.  These minerals or nutritional formulas help the enzyme perform its vital function.  Here’s an example:  If there is no zinc in the enzyme, the vitamin A cannot be converted to the active form.  This type of deficiency can result in night-blindness.

How else to get enzymes in you?  A second category of enzymes is in raw foods that aid in the process of digesting those foods.  Such enzymes like proteases, implement the digestion of protein, lipases, help in digesting lipids or fats, and amylases, make it possible to digest carbs.  These enzymes set in motion the digestive process as the food is in the mouth.  They move with the food into your stomach and continue to aid in digestion.

Problems with the tolerable limits of certain multivitamins have been found in several multivitamin products.  Even one type of vitamin water, tested by “had 15 times its stated amount of folic acid, so drinking one bottle would exceed the tolerable limit for adults…”

In my research for writing this blog, I’ve found a lot of information stating multivitamins to be more harmful than helpful.  What to do?  I agree with one doctor saying the safest way to get all the antioxidants and vitamins I need without exceeding doses, is to eat a balanced diet rich in plants, whole grains and legumes.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are far better for you than supplements.  Can you get enough into your diet?  I take a multivitamin a few times a week.  It actually makes me feel better.  In addition I eat a high raw diet and attempt to stay away from dairy and sugar.  Women and men have different nutritional needs.  For instance, men rearly need to supplement their diet with iron.  I am finding I need more iron with perimenopause.

There’s much to be informed of when it comes to the answer to this question.  As I always say…Do your research.  There is a wealth of knowledge out there.  Find it.  It may be different for you, your spouse or your children.  Take the time to read about what you need or consult your physician.

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