Do You Really Need Vitamin and Mineral Supplements for Good Health Or Are They Just a Waste of Money?

As a natural health company believing in the power of natural cures and remedies, we get questions about the validity, effectiveness and necessity of vitamins all the time.  Questions like…

  • What kinds should I take?
  • When should I take them?
  • How much?
  • How often?
  • Should I take a multivitamin or just a couple of the important individual vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin E, or folic acid?
  • Will they help me lose weight or build muscle?

So with all the emphasis, claims and  hype about vitamin and mineral supplements…..Are they really necessary for optimal health? There are a lot of sources (media, news and reports) that promote taking a daily multivitamin is absolutely essential to your health.

Well, the answer is … NO!  (But, there is a stipulation.)

If you are currently eating a perfectly balanced and healthy diet, then you may not need a daily vitamin. However, we can all testify that most people DON’T each a perfectly balanced and healthy diet.

Let me explain. A vitamin and mineral supplement might be somewhat beneficial to you if you have a poor diet.  But if you are really serious about getting healthy, then why would your diet be poor?

One more thing, some vitamin and mineral supplements are made with synthetic compounds that aren’t readily digested and absorbed, and might even be detrimental to your body.  Some studies have actually proven that artificial vitamins produced negative effects in your body and on your health. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.

Now, wait a minute…

Stop and think.

  • Did humans thrive for tens of thousands of years to be amazing creatures by popping an artificially created vitamin?

I don’t think so! Vitamins have only been around for the last couple of decades. Tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of humans have lived without the consumption of vitamins and minerals in pill form. Unfortunately, today’s population is in worse health than previous generations. Sure, maybe the human race is not in its worst health from a contagious disease perspective, but we definitely are from a degenerative disease perspective.

It is easy to tell we now have a longer life expectancy compared to history – and I am thankful for that! But, that is only because the advance of medical technology can keep us alive longer.  In general, the human population is in horrendous shape physically. Sure, people might live longer now, but they’re simply living longer while being overweight, crippled with degenerated joints, plagued with heart disease and cancers, and on and on. You get the point!

Vitamins make things worse???

So, let us get right to some answers as to why I contend that vitamin and mineral supplements are sometimes more dangerous to health than beneficial.

First and foremost, let me state the best case scenario. A balanced healthy diet consisting of a large variety of natural unprocessed foods provides a rich array of vitamins, minerals and all of the other nutrients we need to thrive in perfect health.  This includes eating:

  • Healthy meats raised in the correct way, raw grass-fed dairy (not pasteurized or homogenized commercial dairy)
  • Whole eggs
  • Fruits and vegetables (organic when possible)
  • A small amount of whole grains or sprouted grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, etc.

But if it far too easy to eat a diet that is full of processed foods, rather than a diet  full of variety and high quality foods. We claim to be too busy and that cooking or eating “healthy” is too inconvenient. But, I hope that you are one of those that take the health of your body and those of your family more serious than those that apparently don’t care about the physical being.

You’ve probably heard this before, but it is worth saying to drive home a point.  Our bodies are designed to absorb and utilize nutrients efficiently from natural food – not pill form. Whole foods naturally contain vitamins and minerals in natural combinations that are best assimilated and utlized by the body.

But the vitamin and mineral supplements contain “nutrients” that can interfere with one another. For example, zinc and copper taken at the same time interfere with each others absorption. Also, high doses of Vitamin E can interfere with absorption of beta carotene (a vitamin A precursor) and other fat soluble vitamins. Many other combinations interfere with each other, as well.

Another problem with vitamin pills is possible excess consumption of fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K).  Keep in mind though that MOST of the population is deficient in vitamin D (due to lack of sun exposure, etc), so it’s rare to overdose on that from a pill or food.  Fat soluble vitamins accumulate in fatty tissue in our bodies, and therefore it is easier to overdose on these compared with water soluble vitamins (vitamin C and the various B vitamins). Excess fat soluble vitamin accumulation can cause various toxic effects within the body.

But, it is much harder to take in excess quantities of fat soluble vitamins through natural foods. For example, you would have to consume exorbitant quantities of liver and other organ meats to absorb too much Vitamin A and D. But these days, there is not a whole of lot liver and organ meat overeating!  Also, it would be hard to over-consume a plant-based precursor to Vitamin A (beta carotene), found in sweet potatoes, carrots, etc., because your body simply would shut down the conversion to Vitamin A once it has obtained what it needs.

Believe it or not, there are even some incidences of overdosing on water soluble vitamins, which can be quite toxic. Mega doses of some B vitamins can potentially cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even liver damage in excessively high doses. Thankfully, in most instances, you simply excrete excess water soluble vitamins in your urine. Have you noticed that your urine will often be a deep yellow color a couple of hours after taking a vitamin that has high doses of vitamins B and C? So when you take a vitamin, most of the water soluble vitamins are simply flushed down the toilet.

Another problem with vitamin pills is that they often use synthetic versions of vitamins that can actually be unhealthy. For example, the forms of vitamin E that are found in pills can be either d-alpha tocopherol (a natural version) and dl-alpha tocopherol (a synthetic version). First of all, the bioavailability of synthetic vitamin E is much lower than natural vitamin E. In addition, I’ve seen many studies and articles that indicated that there could be potential health dangers with taking synthetic vitamin E.

It is plain and simple. Natural is always better than what has been heavily modified by man.

The good news is your body will absorb all the nutrients it needs to be healthy, operate efficiently and heal itself when eat a balanced diet.  Include the following:

  • A good variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds
  • Small amounts of whole grains or sprouted grains and legumes
  • Healthy meats, grass-fed dairy, free-range eggs, etc.

My vitamin and mineral supplement recommendation

If there is a chance your diet is not 100% optimal and balanced, don’t turn to synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements. Instead, look for a trusted brand that clearly states that the sources are whole food based or completely natural.  One brand that I recommend is Prograde’s VGF-25+, which is a whole-foods based vitamin supplement based on 25+ veggies, greens, and fruits (hence the VGF name).

Lastly, let me state the obvious. Exercise is also very important for body fat, building a strong body, and keeping lean and trim.  A conditioned body does wonders and feeding

Exercise is obviously also very important for losing body fat and building a strong, lean body. But, always remember that proper nutrition is even more important. A lousy diet means a flabby, unhealthy body, regardless of how often someone works out. For a fully comprehensive nutritional analysis of how to establish a truly healthy diet and a lean body for life, try our recommended book,  The Truth About Six Pack Abs.

by Mike Geary – Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
Author of best-selling program:  The Truth about 6-Pack Abs

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