Why I limit my supplements & which ones I do use!

I used to be a supplement queen. I had one of those pill boxes that your grandma has, you know, the one with everyday of the week on it (you know the box I'm talking about!) and had to take multiple gulps of water just to choke down all the pills. But it got expensive and just plain annoying. Not to mention I wasn't feeling any better (and in one case was actually feeling worse after starting a certain regimin).

Then I took a nutrition class and learned about over-supplementing and vitamin toxicity. It had never occurred to me this could happen with vitamins, but as with everything, too much of anything can be bad. Despite how good it is for you. Vitamin toxicity can happen very easily with supplements because of the high dosages they contain, but it is nearly impossible to do so when receiving your vitamins and minerals through diet. Just as vitamin deficiency can be detrimental to health, so can vitamin toxicity. Fat soluble vitamins in particular can easily be over consumed because the body stores the excess it doesn't utilize for later use instead of excreting it as it does with water soluble vitamins. For example, excess vitamin D taken over time can build up in the body and cause the arteries to calcify (harden). 

While the possibility of vitamin toxicity alone deters me, what really made me throw away all my vitamins was the fact that most supplements you buy at the store are synthesized (made) in a lab from non-natural sources and have added fillers and junk in them. Or they are extracted and isolated from foods that contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are meant to be consumed in conjunction and offer much better nutrition this way. For example, an orange contains vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients that you would not get just from taking a vitamin C supplement.

It it best to get your vitamins and minerals the natural way, through diet. This is why I have a veggie juice everyday. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I view it as my daily multivitamin. I dumped out all my pills a while back and decided to start fresh. Now I only take the absolute bare minimum supplements and strive to get everything else from my food. The truth of the matter is, if you are eating a well balanced diet and do not have any serious life conditions requiring the extra supplementation, you really don't need to be taking a ton of vitamins.

What I take & Why

  • VITAMIN B12: This vitamin is especially important because a deficiency in it can cause irreversible neurological problems. Whats scary is the symptoms of a Vitamin B12 deficiency don't generally show up until its too late to be reversed. You find vitamin B12 in animal products such as beef, milk, eggs and salmon so vegetarians and light meat eaters (such as myself) are more at risk for deficiency. Supplementing this vitamin helps with anxiety and depression as it improves mood and energy. I take Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW B-Complex
  • VITAMIN D: I know I mentioned above that Vitamin D being a fat soluble vitamin puts it at more of a risk for toxicity, but I still believe everyone should be on a decent dose of vitamin D because of its cancer fighting benefits. In a study done on cancer patients of all variety, 77% of them were deficient in Vitamin D! Also, in another study a group receiving vitamin D supplementation (and calcium) saw a 60% decrease in cancers compared to the placebo group. While your body does synthesize vitamin D from the sun, we don't get nearly enough of it these days because of environmental factors and slathering on sunscreen (which actually blocks the body from synthesizing Vitamin D). Since it is fat soluble and can be stored in toxic amounts in the body, you should be mindful of the amount you take. I take 5,000 IUs in the winter months and with summer approaching I am about to switch to a 2,000 IU pill that I will only take a couple days a week. Since beginning to supplement Vitamin D I have noticed a major increase in my mood! Definitely a plus. I take Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW D3.

  • PROBIOTICS: Your gut contains both good and bad bacteria in it. Both play a special role in maintaining your health and we are learning more everyday about just how important the gut is to our overall health and well being. Here is a great article if you want to read more about the importance of keeping a healthy gut! Probiotics are healthy bacteria, most commonly known for being in yogurt, and they offer a huge variety of health benefits such as increased immune protection, improved digestion and assistance in warding off infection. Here's another great article on the benefits of probiotics. I take Inner-eco coconut water probiotic kefir in Original flavor. After trying several different probiotics this one in my opinion is the best! (I find it at Whole Foods)