Beginner Vitamin recommendations: Deciding What Vitamins and Supplements to Take

For the original PDF  version of this article click the link below. 

Deciding what vitamins and supplements to take

So, you don’t get the required servings of fruits and vegetables a day… So you think “let me at least take a supplement of some sort”. These are often the thoughts I hear from countless clients. I have a tendency to prefer and recommend getting your required nutritional intake via food, but I understand that this is not always possible. 

Deciding what vitamins and supplements to take depends on what you are using them for, your goals, objectives etc…  There are so many new vitamin variations and supplements on the market today that it can become confusing as to which vitamins and supplements will work for your particular situation.  Researchers are also finding new uses for the vitamins found on grocery store shelves.  The progress that vitamins and supplements have made is incredible; but if you are feeling left a little bewildered, here is some advice on how to decide what supplements and vitamins you may look at taking and discussing with your nutritional consultant.

If you don’t know anything about vitamins and supplements, it’s best to start with a whole food multivitamin.  You may have friends or coworkers who start making recommendations about all the different kinds of supplements that you should be taking, but steer clear of their advice.  Keep things simple. Otherwise, you will walk out of the health food store with a very expensive parcel of supplements that may or may not be beneficial to your situation. Also, even taking a capsule has to become a habit and done on a stable consistent basis, or very few benefits will come from your investment.

A good quality multivitamin will get you the right dosage of the vitamins and minerals that researchers deem necessary to prevent most illnesses.  Don’t underestimate the power of one small multivitamin. Especially if your diet is lacking in some essential nutrients.

 Multivitamins usually combine all the required vitamins and minerals in one unit. These amounts are to aid you on the road to good health as well as to help prevent most illnesses linked to nutritional deficiencies.  Remember, the main point of taking vitamins is to prevent illness, not cure it.  Therefore, taking the recommended dose of the different micronutrients will help keep you ahead of the game, especially if you are already fairly healthy. A multivitamin often contains, water soluble vitamins, fat soluble vitamins and minerals. If you want to maximize its absorption, it is better taken with a meal that contains, water, a little fat and protein. In this manner, almost all the elements will be present to maximize the benefits of your multivitamin. If you consume the it in the morning with a glass of orange juice and do not eat anything else with it that contains fat and protein, some vitamins and minerals may not be absorbed. This is one of the reasons I prefer individuals looking at eating a balanced whole food diet versus depending on supplements.

Once multivitamin consumption is stable, the next step that people often take (when they want to boost their disease fighting abilities), is to increase their dosage of vitamin C and Vitamin E.  These two vitamins have been shown in research to be considered antioxidants, helping to boost the immune system.  This is often why people take extra vitamin C around cold and flu season. This is of high importance if individuals are consuming high levels of processed foods and very few fresh fruits and vegetables.

  If you are taking a multivitamin, are healthy with no need for medication and want to purchase extra vitamin E and vitamin C, it may be useful.  Vitamin C can be taken in larger doses because it is a water-soluble vitamin. This means your body eliminates excesses of it daily, when a person is in good health.  Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it should be taken at meals that have some fat in them and that the body can store it within your fatty deposits. It should be taken following the label’s instructions and please consult your resident health care provider before starting any supplement protocol.

Other than Vitamin E and Vitamin C, the next vitamin that people are interested in is the B-complex vitamins.  This is because a higher dosage of vitamin B compliments what Vitamin E and Vitamin C are already doing with regards to the immune system.  Vitamin B also promotes better functioning of the brain.

Basically at this point, if you are taking a multivitamin and extra vitamins C, B, and E, you are essentially taking much to aide you in preventing several types of cancer, heart disease, premature aging, bone loss, high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure.  If you want any more help than this, you will really have to look at being followed by a functional medicine Doctor or certified specialist, particularly when it comes to things like lowering cholesterol.  This is because in some cases each province, state or country has different scopes of practice and legal restrictions on supplements. So please do your due diligence.

Don’t be fooled by products that make claims of miracle cures for serious medical conditions.  If you look on the label of many of these vitamins and supplements, you will find that most of them have claims that read “not evaluated by the FDA”.  This usually means that what the manufacturer is claiming isn’t fully true.  This is why you also have to be careful and not over consume vitamins.  If you take too much Vitamin C for example, it will just flush out of your system.  If you take as much of every vitamin you can, some of them will also cancel each other out, leaving you with no positive effects at all. St times taking too many vitamins can actually be poisonous and make you sick. 

The best rule of thumb when it comes to taking vitamins is to stick to the basics in the recommended doses and speak about your habits with a regularly with a certified nutritional health specialist.

Take the time to research what you a taking. I am often surprised the amount of time and effort people will put into researching electronic purchases but not what they put into their own bodies.