Vitamins…should you take them?

Vitamins…should you take them?

I used to take a lot of vitamins.  Then I started juicing and eating super healthy and stopped. Then I learned about how depleted our food system is and how our food just doesn’t have the nutrients it used to, so now I’m pretty religious about it again.   Plus…who actually eats perfectly all the time?

vitamin-benefits

If you’re wondering where to start and what to take…check out the list below for some basic recommendations:

A good multivitamin

This is a good place to start if you’re not taking anything and don’t want to be bothered to analyze what might be missing from your diet at this point. To be clear, vitamins and minerals will not give you energy (that’s what carbs are for), but they may help you use the energy from your food and they are the catalysts for every process that goes on in our very complex bodies.

These are best taken with food that includes healthy fats as it will include vitamins and minerals that are both fat and water soluble.  I like this brand for men, and this one for women.

B vitamin complex

B vitamins are crucial to more than 300 metabolic processes in our bodies, so they are kind of a big deal. For anyone who takes birth control, drinks alcohol, or is stressed, these 3 factors are proven to severely deplete your B vitamins, so a supplement may be a good idea. I take these every day and I can definitely notice a difference.  As an added bonus…despite attending a wedding full of tequila shots, and a few other long nights, I’ve yet to have much of a hangover since I started taking these.  Booyah.  These little guys are my fave.  They can be taken with just water as they are water soluble, but for best absorption, take with food.

PS – If you’re a vegetarian like me, it is super important to get B12 as it’s not really concentrated in plant-products, except sprirulina.

PPS- Some B vitamins help with PMS and some also make bugs dislike your blood, BONUS!

Antioxidants

Our environment is super polluted…did you know we will encounter at least 60,000 known toxins every year?  All of these toxins cause free radicals (evil molecules in your body that cause us to age faster and can lead to cancer) and antioxidants are the warriors in our body that fight them. I eat a lot of antioxidant-rich food but I still take these to help combat all of the pollution in our environment.  These are best taken with food, especially some type of healthy fats.

I recommend these ones.

Probiotics

An overwhelming majority of us don’t have a super efficient gut, mostly due to diet, but also because of antibiotics, infection, and many other factors. Since your stomach and intestines are responsible for breaking down food and getting the nutrients where they need to go, doesn’t it make sense to help them do that as efficiently as possible?  Having a healthy gut not only helps your digestion and immune system, but did you know that most of your serotonin is also made in the gut?  So if things aren’t working right down there, they could be affecting your mood…crazy huh?

You can buy these at your local health food store (Sprouts, Jimbo’s, Whole Foods, Wegmen’s etc) if you get the refrigerated kind. It’s great to get one that has multiple strains of probiotics.  For a general shelf-stable version,  I recommend Jarrow Formulas Jarro-Dophilus EPS (or any Jarrow brand), but if you’ve been on antibiotics recently, you may want to look for something stronger than 5 billion.  

Tip – Even if you buy a shelf stable version, refrigeration will ensure maximum shelf-life. 

Fish Oil

Sorry vegans…you probably won’t be into this, but for anyone else, fish oil is high in Vitamin A, D and healthy fats (Omega-3) so it’s beneficial on so many levels.  It is definitely a brain superstar; it’s been shown to help with ADD/ADHD, hormone production, the synthesis of neurotransmitters and so much more, including reproductive health.  I think a strong brain is a sexy thing, so I’d like all the help I can get in that department.

Fish oils are usually refrigerated (unless you buy the capsules), so you can get them at your local health food store in the refrigerated supplement section. Carlson Labs and Seroyal both make great quality brands.  This should be taken with meals.

Are you on board yet?  If so, here are 3 tips to help you get the most benefit from these supplements:

  1. The biggest challenge is to remember to take them regularly.  To help you remember, get in a habit of carrying a container with them at all times, or leaving a container of them on your desk (a dark container is preferred, and don’t leave in the heat…sunlight and heat can destroy some vitamins). You can also set alarm(s) to remind you.
  2. Most importantly…quality is a HUGE factor and the end product and result will vary significantly from brand to brand, so don’t just get the cheapest.  You don’t search for the cheapest doctor, you want the best…so don’t skimp in other areas when it comes to your health.  I love the Garden of Life Vitamin Code line (obviously). They  mix them with a whole food complex so they are more easily absorbed and you reap the extra benefits of those fruits and veggies.
  3. Capsules are way better than tablets for vitamins (for herbal supplements, tinctures are usually best).  Tablets require a binding agent and usually need to be heated to get them to form so quality can be compromised.

This is in no way even close to a comprehensive list…there are sooo many vitamins, minerals and supplements that could benefit you, but at least it gives you a starting point.  And hopefully, it gives you a little better insight as to how you can better your health with just a few capsules a day. Depending on your diet and lifestyle, you may need more of a certain vitamin, mineral or supplement, and that would usually require an analysis on an individual basis. If you have any questions or have additional tips, let me know in the comments!

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