More than half of American adults take at least one vitamin supplement every month, but a federal panel of health experts suggests that they could be wasting their time and money. Nearly one in three Americans takes a multivitamin, but why? In many cases, the nutrients in multivitamins are already covered by a healthy daily diet. For some, vitamins and supplements can be beneficial, but how do you know if you really need them? UH Naturopathic Doctor Connor Whole Health, Dr. Jacob Wolf has the answers and can help you do your homework before buying a bottle of pills.
Pete Kenworthy remembers trying Flintstone vitamins as a kid and still wondering if he needs them. Macie Jepson is overwhelmed by all the options and is wondering if they even work. Dr. Wolf explains that if you eat a good, healthy diet consisting of lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and potentially healthy fats, you may not get all the nutrients you need.
This is because the foods we eat today aren't as nutrient-packed as they used to be. Wolf suggests that some tests can be done to detect nutrient levels in the body, but many nutrients aren't routinely tested because they aren't standard laboratory tests. He also explains that we still need to get all of these essential nutrients found in something like a multivitamin in our diet because diseases like scurvy and rickets are still caused by nutrient deficiencies.
What Are the Non-Negotiables?When asked what the non-negotiables are, Dr. Wolf explains that if you're on a somewhat healthy diet, there's nothing you can't consume at a very basic level to prevent disease. He also explains that there is no supplement that a person with a relatively large diet needs to prevent such diseases. Dr.
Wolf also explains that B vitamins are heavily involved in our energy processes and can help our adrenal glands, so for some people with deficiencies, vitamin B or B complex can definitely help. He also explains that turmeric is great in theory but it's hard to get inside the body and needs other nutrients to absorb it better.
Are There Any Risks?Finally, Dr. Wolf cautions against taking too many supplements as they can be harmful if taken in excess. He also explains that natural doesn't mean anything when it comes to supplements and organic may be of higher quality but all supplements must have some type of purity statement either on the bottle or on the company's website. So if you're considering taking supplements, it's important to do your research first.
Talk to your doctor or naturopathic doctor about what tests you should get done to determine if you have any nutrient deficiencies and what supplements might be beneficial for you.