Are you among the millions of Americans who take vitamin supplements daily? Whether it’s for counteracting an existing vitamin deficiency or as a preventive measure for various diseases, you may feel that taking a vitamin supplement is in your best interest.
Americans have been using vitamin supplements since they were first offered to the public in the 1940s at most corner drugstores. People flocked to stock their medicine cabinets with what were considered magic pills that many believed could substantially improve their health and well-being.
At BodyLogicMD in Glastonbury, Connecticut, Dr. Anita Petruzzelli helps her patients reach an optimal level of health, and getting your nutrition right is a key ingredient to overall wellness.
Vitamin supplements, whether used in powder, liquid, or pill form, are all billed with the same purpose — to provide your body with the required nutrients it needs to function correctly and to maintain your health. However, vitamin supplements shouldn’t be seen as a shortcut or alternative for better health and prevention of disease.
It’s important to understand that not all vitamin supplements are created equal. When it comes to purchasing supplements, we as consumers tend to reach for the cheaper brands, thinking to ourselves, How much different can they be? But there is a difference in the quality of vitamin supplements, which can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Supplement manufacturers must make the most out of the little tablet they pack their nutritional supplements into. For this reason, they gravitate toward using the synthetic forms of materials that are least expensive, with binders and fillers that are synthetic, which results in your body having difficulty dissolving and digesting the supplements you hope will provide the necessary benefits.
Not all vitamin forms are created equal. Because of their differences, some vitamin supplements may not provide the full benefits your body needs. The inferior nutrients and ingredients are much cheaper to produce but won’t provide the desired effects in the long run.
Most vitamin supplements on the market today contain strange ingredients that aren’t needed. If you have ever looked at the label on a multivitamin, you’ll see ingredients such as FD&C yellow, modified food starch, or even silicon dioxide, which in layman's terms is sand.
If the label shows a longer list of strange ingredients than it does beneficial ingredients, that should be a definite red flag to put it back on the shelf.
Alternatives to supplements
If you follow a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight, you may not need to add vitamin supplements. Food provides us with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. But we need to make sure we eat three healthy, well-balanced meals daily. Foods to consider in your meal planning include:
Produce — and plenty of it!
It’s best if you attempt to have two or more servings of either vegetables or fruit at each meal. Add a salad for your lunch or dinner meal several times weekly.
Keep your dairy items limited to low-fat or fat-free when possible, such as with milk and yogurt. Dairy provides several crucial vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
Ensure you include whole grains in your diet and limit processed and refined grains. Whole wheat, barley, and brown rice provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial fats. They’re also rich sources of fiber.
Include one source of protein in each meal, whether you choose meat, cheese, or nuts. A good source of healthful, omega-3 fatty acids can be found in many forms of fish, including salmon.
Making sure to include beneficial foods at each daily meal and maintaining a healthy weight will be all your body needs.
Taking vitamin supplements should not be your first choice, as a diet of natural foods can more than provide you with the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs to function and remain healthy, but if Dr. Petruzzelli’s analysis and tests show you’re lacking, she recommends high-quality nutraceutical-grade supplements.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Petruzzelli to learn more about eating healthy and foregoing the need for vitamin supplements. Call our office or book your visit online today.