Do I need vitamins? More importantly, do I really want to leave my long-term health to chance? Since this is my blog, you’re going to get my opinion (based on 20+ years experience, mixed with some facts and research) on this.
“I eat a really good diet so I don’t need to supplement.”
Yeah, right. Here’s where we need the reality check. Usually the person telling me this is in denial about exactly how good their diet is. Or, they’re not consistent enough over the long term. Not to mention the reason we’re talking is because they have some sort of health complaint (fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, allergies, depression, skin problems, can’t lose weight, etc.) which is indicating a nutritional need. Clear signs that they’re NOT getting what they need from their diet alone.
Every single nutritionist or dietician I’ve ever asked has told me that not one of their clients eats a perfect diet; it’s nearly impossible. Our nutritional needs change daily, if not hourly, and who has the time or expertise to be that diligent? (See also the 2006 study discussing why food alone may not prevent deficiency and the 2010 study showing a prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in popular diets.)
Now don’t get me wrong. Striving for a good, clean diet is still required for optimal health. Using supplements is not a license to eat poorly.
Do we want to eat a diet that is as unprocessed as possible? Sure. Are vitamins and herbal supplements processed? Absolutely. (Heck, raw foodists will say cooking your food is processing it, and they’re right.) The important question is this:
Where do you want to draw the line between adhering to your food ideals and ensuring a long and healthy life for you and your family?
My next favorite rationale is, “My grandparents never took supplements and were perfectly healthy while living to a ripe old age.” Not surprising since both their food and environment was healthier during their lifetimes. Fact is, we are living in a much more toxic world which increases our nutritional needs. And regardless of whether you’re eating organic or not, according to a 2004 study which looked at changes in food composition, nutrient content in our food supply has declined.
The bottom line is certain nutrients are too important to leave to chance and thanks to the 2007 Landmark Study, we now have proof of the long-term benefits of supplement use. I’ve heard it said that ailments we attribute to aging (heart disease, arthritis, etc.) can actually be due to long-term minor malnutrition. Maybe you’re eating a healthy diet but if you’re under in a few key areas you’re still missing the boat over the long term.
Which brings me to the most common comment against supplementation: Expensive urine. As discussed previously, many are wasting money on vitamins that aren’t doing them any good.
However, assuming I’ve chosen a quality brand (see guidelines for vitamin comparison) – in my opinion, if I’m peeing out excess vitamins, I actually see this as a good thing. First, it means they’re in a form that my body can absorb and thus, also eliminate. Secondly and more importantly, it means my body has what it needs – when it needs it – to heal, rebuild and protect my health.
Or would you rather he/she has more than enough nails to be certain a strong and stable house is built? From this vantage point, the people NOT taking vitamins have the expensive urine. The cost is their long-term vitality.
While I’m not saying that more is better, I will say that most people misunderstand the RDA’s (see Explaining the RDA’s). I will also say that most people will want to worry about taking too little before they need to worry about taking too much, at least if they are using Shaklee.
The 2007 Landmark Study confirms this. Those who took multiple supplements over a 20+ year period had markedly better health than those who took only a single multivitamin or nothing at all. They had lower incidences of diabetes, heart disease and other risk factors. The cost of treating diabetes alone is astronomical and we’re going to quibble about expensive urine? Really??!! Current telomere research is also indicating the same.
In a perfect world, we could and would get all the nutrition we need for optimal health from our diet alone. Yes, we want to strive to get as much as we can from from our food and stay as close to nature as possible. For those who ignore mounting facts while holding on to their nutrition ideals, I think you’ll agree that we do not live in a perfect world. I hope you’ll consider the facts and a new perspective.
Isn’t the long-term health of you and your family worth it?