September 08, 2016

Vitamins and Supplements part 1 of 2

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

Do you take vitamins and supplements? Why do you take them? How did you choose what you currently consume? Price? Ingredients? Availability? Recommendation? Why?

I talk supplements with many people in the office, and most are just winging it, hoping it helps their health. Many people have fallen for the “one a day” advertising. Some buy supplements as cheaply as possible. Others look for certain ingredients, but really have no idea what should be in them. It is hard to know what to look for and how to buy when your knowledge and time are limited.

Supplement producers can squeeze a lot of stuff into a capsule these days, but is it stuff worth having? It is highly doubtful that any single pill can pack the essentials needed to make a difference. Most of the one a day pills are chock full of synthetic vitamins and low cost ingredients that aren’t well absorbed by our bodies. Shopping at discount stores and big box retailers will probably let your health short changed in the long run. If you like blowing money on things that have no value, be my guest. The old saying that you get what you pay for certainly applies to supplements.

Synthetic vitamins are partially vitamin and partially other chemicals. They are completely different than vitamins from whole food.  Nature meant for us to eat whole foods. Most synthetic vitamins are scantily absorbed and utilized even less. Most multi vitamins give you huge amounts of certain nutrients (usually cheap synthetics) and very little of the other necessary ones.

The single best thing you can do for your health is to eat properly. It helps you feel better and maximizes your immune capabilities. The problem is that even the food we consider to be healthy and essential has probably lost much of its nutrient content before it even reaches the table. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides and large scale growing operations aren’t likely to infuse your vegetables and fruits with the nutrient value they are supposed to have. Some estimates report a nutrient value lost at over 50%! When it does reach your house, many people prepare their food in ways that further deplete its nutritional value.

Next time, we will continue this topic to see what a good supplement looks like and how you can evaluate it for yourself.