The Skinny on Vitamin Supplements

Close up of lemon and pills isolated – vitamin conceptI’m often asked about my opinion on vitamins. “Should I take them?” and “Which ones do you recommend?” Both very valid questions which absolutely need addressing.

Should I take them? 

Generally, I am not a fan of vitamin supplements.  If you are healthy and consume a healthy diet rich in vibrant vegetables, fruit and whole grains then for the most part, you should be able to get what you need from a balanced, nutrient rich diet.  With a healthy digestive system you will also absorb the nutrients you need and properly eliminate those you don’t.  That being said, not all of us eat this nutritiously, nor do we all absorb nutrients like sponges.

Supplements come in so many different forms and some are loaded with additional ingredients.  I am of the firm opinion that it is very important to know what you are putting into your body.  If labeled as a dietary supplement, it will contain a manufacturers label which will list the active ingredients along with any other added ingredients such as fillers, binders and flavoring agents.  Supplements are created to have an intended function on our body, and some have been proven to be beneficial for individuals that need help managing health conditions or those that need an added boost in their diet.  However, some supplements can interfere with the effectiveness of a medication that you may be prescribed.  This is why it is so important to inform your physician of every supplement that you are taking.

Which ones do you recommend?

Unlike prescription drugs, which require FDA approval,  supplements are not required to have premarket review or approval.  While manufacturers are required to have proof that their products are safe, labels are not misleading, and listed ingredients can be trusted; they do not need to provide this information when their product is marketed.  IF the FDA finds the product to be unsafe, they may then take action.  There have been several news alerts regarding the concern of the actual amount of active ingredient listed in vitamin supplements from some manufacturers, as well as the types of fillers used.

Several independent organizations test vitamin supplements and allow their seal to be placed on the container if the product meets their standards.  Some of these organizations include:

U.S. Pharmacopeia
NSF International

All this being said, if you find that you are in need of a good quality vitamin supplement, I recommend a brand that has been trusted by health professionals for years.  Metagenics offers high quality vitamins that are formulated based on scientific evidence to enhance absorption.  I also think Pro-thera is a phenominal brand (I love their Pro-biotic formula, There-biotic Complete).  You can now purchase Metagenics through me directly by visiting my online store.