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Everything You Need To Know About Vitamins

When my daughter Brody was a baby, she would drop some sort of food on the floor, pick it up and then eat it. My friends used to look at me sideways after seeing that. If I was at home, I'd just let that move roll (we’re not at the public train station or gas stop bathroom). These are the same friends that don’t think twice about going to a drive-through window for a burger (that may or may not have been dropped on the floor or better yet – sneezed on by some hormonal seventeen year old). I compare this kind of thinking to the individuals who won’t blink when some white coat gives them a pill for some ailment or a little extra stress but would NEVER take a vitamin. Too risky. I mean after all your meds could lead to three other pills to deal with your new side effects or your impulse to gamble or bloody urine. Makes sense to me.

I can see how vitamins are confusing, an added expense, and a pain in the butt. However, none of us are getting the 39 essential vitamins and minerals we need in our food so, in my mind, they’re something we should rotate in and out of our diets. You can run down to Costco or to GNC when they are having a sale and go grab a bottle. Sorry, it’s not quite that easy.

What are the things you should consider when buying and taking vitamins?

First of all, keep it simple. If you are taking twenty-three pills three times a day, eighteen minutes after you eat, but not forty five minutes before bed it is not going to happen. On the functional side, you have to get a quick understanding about the differences between the kinds of vitamins, how they absorb in your body, and who is making them.

1. Vitamin Absorption

Better to buy a whole food vitamin since it’s a food already. There are tons of studies showing that the body can absorb these vitamins 20x greater then synthesized vitamins. So yes, the buy in bulk vitamin is cheaper, but you may only be able get 1% of the nutrients if any at all. Talk about a waste of money and time!

2. Vitamin Quality

You should also note that the FDA does not regulate the vitamin supplement industry (probably not enough money in it). So you want to be sure to buy from a company that self regulates and holds it’s products to high standards. Check to see if they display USP-DSVP stamp (US Pharmacopoeia Dietary Supplement Verification Program).

3. Natural Vitamins

Given that the vitamin is produced by a solid company, a natural vitamin is easier to absorb into the body. Be mindful that they don’t often taste great, won’t be cheap, and will have an expiration date.  If they don't then they may not be worthwhile.

4. Liquid Vitamins

The good news about the liquid supplement is they have about a 98% absorption rate. The inconvenient part is that they need to be refrigerated so not good for on-the-go or traveling supplementation.

5. Don’t Take a Vitamin Instead of Food

It’s never a good idea to rely on vitamins as a source of nutrition, hence the word “supplement”. 

Take a strong multivitamin that contains all 39 essential vitamins and minerals. A few solid brands are Rainbow Light, Solgar, KAL, and Nutrilite. Look to sites like Dr. Mercola’s website, Dr. Al Sears’s website, Drugnatural.com, and naturalhealthconcepts.com. These are great places to start.

Like anything we ingest, it is smart to do one or two months on and then take a week off. Our bodies get used to anything we put into them, so in order to continue to get the benefits, it’s imperative to bring them in AND out of your diet.

I realize it seems a little voodoo, but I am a real believer in vitamins helping us defend our health, sleep better, process stress, and just better overall body function. And if you want to get crazy, I’m all for natural Chinese herbs and teas.

Whoa, easy there, are you sure you don’t just want a Prozac? I mean, tea can seem pretty scary, and it has been around for thousands of years. What do they know?

In all seriousness, here is to your good health,

Gabby

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