The Vitamin Conundrum: One a Day?
By Gary Picariello
There was a period of time when I was putting in some serious time at the gym. Like five or six nights a week. Sometimes twice a day. I was trying to eat right and maximize my body dynamics so it only made sense that I should increase the number of vitamins and supplements I took on a daily basis, right?
Too Much of a Good Thing
Wrong! The only thing I noticed was the amount of money I was spending. I'll concede to my need for more protein but apart from that, all the vitamins and minerals I needed were adequately provided by eating the right foods every day. So why is it that the nearly half the U.S. population takes more vitamins than it needs to?
Numbers Don't Lie
A ton of current research supports the notion that If you don't have a serious vitamin deficiency, “taking supplemental vitamins doesn't provide benefit”; what's even more shocking is regularly taking large doses of vitamins may do more harm than good in the long-term. There just isn’t sufficient data to suggest that healthy people benefit by taking certain vitamin or mineral supplements in excess of the daily recommended allowance.
The Heavy Hitters
So let's break this down. There are vitamins that we really need. Specifically Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6 and calcium. Unless your healthcare provider directs you to, all of these are easily acquired by eating right. If you follow the healthy food pyramid, you can get the required amount of every vitamin and more by the food you eat.
For the uninitiated that means that literally a quarter of your plate should be made up of protein, another quarter should be whole grains and the other half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. You get bonus points for milk, coffee and tea taken in moderation.
That said, eating right is something that the majority of the population doesn't do. So a vitamin supplement might be a smart move. Remember, vitamin supplements are exactly that. That's why the word is “supplement” and not “replacement,” and should only be taken if recommended by your healthcare professional.