Vitamins: Waste of Money or Nutritional Asset?
Are Vitamins Really a Waste of Money?
An editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine say that yes, they in fact are a waste. The editorial is titled, “Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamins and Supplements.” This bold declaration is based on 3 studies that they believe “prove” that vitamins and supplements have no health benefits and do not prevent disease or death. In these studies, multivitamins were administered and studies were performed based on their ability to:
- Prevent cancer and/or cardiovascular disease
- Prevent a secondary heart attack
- Increase cognitive function
First of all, I want to make it clear that I am not a fan of blanket statements. Frankly, I find this editorial to be one gigantic blanket statement that is chock full of holes. Who is saying that a simple multivitamin to going to magically prevent chronic diseases like cancer or heart disease, or increase mental performance? Outside of bold marketing schemes, anyone versed in nutrition knows that it is much more complicated than swallowing a daily vitamin.
The government itself has repeatedly made statements that the typical American diet lacks critical nutrients. Even the public school system has been forced to make dietary changes to their meals in hopes of increasing nutrient consumption in children. In a society starved of vitamins and minerals, claiming multivitamins are useless is nothing short of absurd!
Vitamins: Not a Magic Pill
If anyone is tired of the “magic pill” scheme, then it is I. Nothing in the health industry irks me more than companies that push pills with promises of miraculous results.
Believing a pill will fix a problem is truly the lazy man’s path. It NEVER produces significant results and the results you may get don’t last. Only a change in diet and exercise combined with the needed supplements can produce real lasting results!
Even in my distaste of the “magic pill” scheme, I’m a huge proponent of the use of safe supplements, including multivitamins! I believe the average person does not and more accurately cannot get adequate nutrition from diet alone. The only exception may be a person who eats natural, nutrient dense foods 99% of the time. And honestly, that person is in a teeny-tiny minority. Eating “perfect” is not practical or easy for most of us. I believe a quality multivitamin is a fantastic addition to a daily regime. Multivitamins help to fill in the gaps where the foods we eat are lacking.
I’m not advocating an “Eat whatever you want… just take a multivitamin” lifestyle. I believe that is ridiculous. Healthy food choices are the absolute foundation to health and wellness. However, even if you make healthy food choices, you could be lacking essential vitamins and minerals.
It’s not necessarily your fault that diet alone cannot provide all the necessary nutrition. Most all food is now processed, pasteurized, or cooked leaving it lacking in nutrients. Even declines in the nutrition of fresh fruits and vegetables have occurred due to depleted soil and genetically modified seeds.
This is the sad reality in the food industry today. Choosing organic, non-GMO, or locally sourced foods are great ways to consume higher nutrient levels.
Not All Vitamins are Created Equal
I always recommend a quality multivitamin for everyone as a foundational part of maintaining health and wellness. As I mentioned earlier, it is just too difficult to get everything you need from diet alone. However, I do NOT believe that all vitamins are created equal.
The supplement industry is not a regulated industry. The FDA and other organizations do not have jurisdiction over the natural products industry. This, in reality, is a good thing as it is highly likely that if the FDA did have precedence over the supplement industry that most products would be pulled from the shelves and you would have to have prescriptions to purchase them. Having the freedom to consume herbs, vitamins, minerals, and supplements of your choosing is a beautiful thing.
However, this leaves the integrity of the product up to the company that produces it. And unfortunately, there are companies who are just out to make money, not to produce quality products. Navigating through the hundreds of choices can be overwhelming! If the label says Vitamin C, then knowing that it might not contain much or any vitamin C can be scary…and frankly quite frustrating! So, how do you know that what you are buying is the real deal?
Visit a Health Food Store
If you haven’t already, then it’s time to take a trip to your nearest health food store. If you do not have a health food store nearby, then Home Cures That Work has an Amazon store full of products endorsed by the writers of this magazine.
I’m in no way trying to encourage a snobbish attitude towards vitamins carried by your local pharmacy or retailer chain. However, I have worked at several health food stores and also as a sales rep for several different supplement companies over the years. These positions have given me insight into the companies that produce the supplements carried by most health food stores. I believe, without a doubt, that these companies are far superior and worth the time and investment. The employees of most health food stores are trained and passionate about the products in their store. They can answer your questions and help point you towards a vitamin that fits your needs and budget!
Working in the health industry has allowed me to be trained in the production, quality standards, and differing formulas put out by many of these companies. I can say, without hesitation, that their quality is above the standard of the mass produced cheap vitamins you’ll find almost anywhere. Most of these companies refuse to put their products in big box chains or pharmacies. They are serious about what they produce and pride themselves in creating supplements that give real results. Results don’t come from fillers or contaminated materials. Results come from supplements that: