I was asked by Becca:
What are your feelings on multi-vitamins? Should we be taking them?
In a perfect world, I’d say no. In the beginning God created a perfect world to meet all of our nutritional needs. Unfortunately, over the years, we’ve messed it up by polluting our waters and robbing our soil of nutrients through bad agricultural practices. Our food now a days contains no where near the amount of vitamins and minerals it did even a couple hundred years ago.
So I’d have to say, my personal opinion, is that yes, supplements can be useful. Absolutely necessary? No. I think we should focus on the food we eat first and then supplement when needed. Vitamins just can’t take place of good food! You eat fast food burgers and fries, a vitamin will only do so much.
So how do you know what you need?
Personally, I tried a few different things and found a combination that suited my body well. I take a high quality whole foods multi-vitamin along with an extra B-Complex vitamin. (seeing as how a lot of women with pcos are deficient in B vitamins, I thought I’d start there and it has worked well for me along with a change in diet) Instead of taking a stab in the dark, you could also do like my sister just did and visit a holistic doctor/nutritionist. They tested her for deficiencies and will place her on supplements according to what her test results might be.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of supplements out there. Do yourself a favor and talk to someone knowledgeable to figure out what you need. Or grab a great holistic book on supplements.
What do you look for in a supplement?
Skip the local supermarket and most drugstores and head for a health food store if you have one near. Look for high quality vitamins. They may cost more, but if you’re actually absorbing the nutrients, it’s worth the money!
Also look for whole foods vitamins as they absorb much better in their natural forms than the synthetic versions. And not only do they absorb better, they are also used better in your body. Only a small percentage of the cheap synthetic versions are absorbed and what is absorbed, your body has a hard time using.
Check the ingredients on the label. Do they contain corn for the coating? If so….just think back to the last time you ate corn. What happens when it comes out the other end? Yea, not so digestible!
While I do believe vitamins and supplements can have a place in a healthy diet, I think we have to be careful not to go overboard. There is no reason to spend hundreds of dollars a month or be so rigid that you have to take certain vitamins at certain times of the day. I’ll be the first to tell you, I get lazy with my vitamins from time to time. When I was busy trying to get my body to heal itself and work properly, I was a lot more diligent to take at least my mutli-vitamin everyday. When my husband first went gluten free, we were more diligent making sure he had his vitamins because the symptoms he had pointed to nutritional deficiencies. After we both started feeling better, and eating a lot better, we stopped taking them so much. I’ll bet I take mine approximately 4 times a week or so. And honestly, I’ll take my B-Complex everyday throughout a season like the Christmas holidays as I know eating all of those bad foods depletes my system of B vitamins. (I know – I should only eat good foods! But who can pass up moms Christmas cookies?!)
So if you feel like your body isn’t working as it should, try supplements. Do your research, find a reasonably priced (some are just outrageous!) vitamin and give it a try. But make sure you’re eating well! And stay away from over processed foods and refined sugar and flour. They just deplete your natural stores of vitamins and minerals.