As kids, the early morning breakfast of nestum-milo and bread is always followed by nagging to remember to take your vitamins. Those yucky brown multivitamins that taste so horrible when in the mouth ready to be swallowed. Shesh…now vitamins and supplements, especially those for the little ones, have multiple flavours and chewable lolly disguise. But is eating vitamins good for you or is Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory right that we are just making expensive pee?
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Firstly, let’s look at the purpose of why we take vitamins. There has to be a reason for why we spend so much money on these pills. Research shows that the two main reasons people take multivitamins are for overall health and wellness and to fill in nutrient gaps. Multivitamins are said to help build our immune system and reduce risk of diseases like colon cancer and cardiovascular disease. In this day and age when everything is as quick and instant as can be, we are looking to vitamins and supplements as the quick fix solution to our overworked bodies and lack of a balanced diet.
“There are no shortcuts to good health and popping a pill isn’t going to solve the problem.”
Quote by Dr Tho Lye Mun as stated in NST
Nutritionists recommend food first as the source of a variety of vitamins and minerals. Some foods have a lot of elements and dietary fiber that can’t be extracted into a pill. Some supplements needs to be taken with food so that they can be absorbed into our system properly.
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Vitamins + Food = Good Absorption
So, do remember to always take your vitamins and supplements after a meal to make sure it doesn’t get flushed through your system instantly. If your body doesn’t need the supplements because you have enough in your body, the excess is secreted out as pee. A sign of this happening is bright yellow pee. I guess this is where Sheldon Cooper got his idea about the expensive pee!
The scary part is, if you are eating a well-balanced diet, not only do you not need multivitamins but you could overindulging in the good stuff especially when many foods are already full of vitamins and minerals. Use the vitamins as they are intended to by supplementing the areas where your diet falls short with specific vitamins.
Supplements ≅ Missing Vitamins in Body
So, take the time to analyze your needs and what is missing in your dietary requirements to find the right vitamins or supplements for you. For instance, pregnant women or those trying to conceive take folic acid to help aid in the creation of a healthy baby or vegetarians taking iron pills to compensate for the lack of meat eaten.
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Vitamins ≠ Food
Every sci-fi film out there boasts of cooking and kitchen free scenarios where a 3-course meal unfolds in seconds from a pill. Food innovations has used science to make food taste better through chemistry but has sadly not yet been able to solve world hunger and low food supply with a meal-in-a-pill. There are every variety of pills out there for any kind of vitamin we need but sadly is unable to give you the calorie intake to keep you alive. A typical adult averages about 2000 calories per day, and even the most concentrated source (pure fat) can’t make that many calories fit into a single pill. There is even 3 different studies that have found that taking multivitamins daily did not strengthen your heart against heart problems or enhanced your brain to ward off memory loss, and wasn’t tied to a longer life span.
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The Caveman Doctor believes that our bodies have been programmed for millions of years to run on certain foods and when the body doesn’t get those foods, it rebels and gets cranky with the unwanted outcome of diseases following. Cases such as Dr Terry Wahls curing herself from multiple sclerosis by eating a hunter-gatherer diet and only increased her vitamin and nutrient intake naturally and the rise of the Paleo Diet around the world has painted supplements and vitamins pills as the inferior source of nutrients.
> What Body Needs = B.A.D.
Too much of anything is definitely bad for you…just as everyone knows that eating too much can make you overweight and unhealthy.
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There was even a study that notes some clinical trials finding where beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin E, and vitamin A supplements which are a higher dosage from what is received naturally through our diet may increase mortality. Another study shows that while we believe Vitamin A as a deterrent to some cancers, it actually has been linked to increasing the risk of lung cancer in smokers, if taken in supplement form.
But don’t panic and start ditching all those expensive supplements in your cupboard. Taking supplements short term to help correct the missing vitamin/chemical balance in your body is good for you…we just need to stay clear of long term supplement dependency.
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Have a laugh and let us start 2016 with fresh wise eyes! No more watching our hard earned money flush down the toilet thinking. Find balance in examining carefully what we need and learn to listen well to our body. And if you are not too sure still, take the time to double check and see if you fit in any of situations where vitamins are a MUST.