Should I or shouldn’t I? – the vitamin dilemna

In 400 BC, Hippocrates, the father of medicine said “let food be thine medicine and let medicine be thine food.” It has been over 2500 years and we still haven’t taken his message to heart!

The best and most effective way to get your vitamin needs met is through the food you eat. However, we don’t always eat the best quality and depending upon the season, fresh fruit and vegetables may not be available. And now that winter is upon us, we want to do all we can to stay healthy.

So we turn to commercially produced supplements. However, not all supplements are created equal.

This is another case where reading the labels becomes very important. Look for those supplements that are plant based versus chemically based. Chemical based supplements are generally not “bio available” for the body to use, meaning that your body will discard them, providing little or no health benefit. Also, the ability to have your body use vitamin supplements may depend on whether they are water soluble or fat soluble. Water soluble vitamin supplements include: C, B; fat soluble – A, D, E, K.

“Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water, which means these vitamins and nutrients dissolve quickly in the body. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body’s tissues, but the body cannot store them. Any excess amounts of water-soluble vitamins simply pass through the body.”

“Fat-soluble vitamins are most abundant in high-fat foods and are much better absorbed into your bloodstream when you eat them with fat.”

It is also important to rotate your supplement product – brand, choice as well as giving your body a period of rest from supplements. By using a variety, you can determine what works best for you – we are all individuals and have different needs/responses.

You may also want to discuss your supplement needs with your family doctor to determine what supplements you need and how much. Most adults in the US need vitamin D as our bodies are not as efficient using the sunlight on our skin to transform cholesterol into vitamin D. As with most herbs and vitamins, just because a little works well, doesn’t imply that more is better.

Some signs that might indicate there might be a need for supplements include: chronic fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, high stress lifestyle, digestive issues, and lowered immunity.

Staying healthy in winter is always a challenge – lots of holiday parties with good but not necessarily healthy foods, lots of people with varying degrees of healthiness and colder weather which makes us more inbound creatures. Whenever possible, eat good food, get outside in fresh air, exercise, and wash your hands… a lot!

Picture by:Kayla Mauris,

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