Many people will do whatever it takes to stay healthy. Some will take up a sport or fitness program while others will take on a new diet. But for those looking to start their health journey with something simple and easy, taking vitamins is the way to go.

When it comes to taking care of the body and mind, supplements have always been a popular topic, especially vitamins.

For as long as I can remember, I was told always to take a multivitamin. I like many others grew up with the Flintstone Chewable Vitamins my parents told us to take because it was good for us. That was all they said about it: “take it because it’s good for you” without any explanation as to how.

As I got older I started to stray away from vitamins and healthy habits blaming my busy lifestyle as a young writer living in Queens. But it wasn’t until recently after finally coming to the conclusion that I have to get my act together, I wondered whether taking vitamins actually does any good.

Are taking vitamins necessary for our health or a waste of money?

Vitamins are supplements (usually in pill form) that provide essential multivitamins and minerals at the levels the body needs. Vitamins are usually suggested to people who are on any particular diet, whether it has a positive or negative impact on the body.

In other words, whether someone is going fully vegan or eating McDonald’s every day, vitamins are required to make sure the body has the right levels of multivitamins and minerals in order for the body to function properly. According to the CDC, 58% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over take a dietary supplement, and it’s usually among women (63.8%) than men (50.8%).

Vitamins have been known to help the body resist infections and keep your nerves healthy, while others help your body get energy from food properly. While vitamins are used for people with different diets or exercise regimens, some people take them out of precaution making sure they’re doing what they can to help their bodies. But do people who have a well-balanced diet need vitamins?

Keri Gans, a Registered Dietician located in New York City, says that even the best eaters with a well-balanced diet may need to take certain vitamins:

“A person who is lactose intolerant and avoids all dairy may not get enough calcium in their diet and need to supplement. A person following a vegan lifestyle may find their diet lacking vitamin B12 due to the absence of animal products. Also, postbiotics found in fermented foods, have been associated with maintaining digestive and immune health but not all individuals like the taste or consume enough. A daily dose of a vitamin supplement would be beneficial.”

It’s all good and well to take supplements for your body, but there is also the fear of what happens when you take too much. As with anything in life, taking too much of something is never a good thing and that includes vitamins. Since vitamins have a variety of different ones in a single pill, an excess amount of vitamins A, E, K, and D can become toxic.

A report by the National Library of Health found that Vitamin A toxicity can lead to serious effects like increased spinal fluid pressure, coma, and potentially fatal organ damage. Vitamin A, E, K, and D are not excreted from the body and can cause other side effects for vitamin overload can vary, from diarrhea and nausea to as severe as a coma or death.

So are vitamins really necessary for our wellness?

The answer is yes and no. Vitamins offer great benefits to the mind and body in everyday life. People who have a weakened immune system or who do not eat a nutritious meal are encouraged to take a multivitamin. However, if you are eating at least 3-4 meals a day and are packed with nutritious foods, then there is no need to take vitamins.

In fact, taking vitamins while you are on a healthy diet can cause more harm than good as your body needs to flush out what isn’t needed. The best rule of thumb is to meet with your doctor or pharmacists to discuss which vitamins your body is deficient in and what are the best ways to make sure you are getting them. Naturally, vitamins from food are always your best bet.

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Till next time,

kim delarosa

Photo by Leohoho on Unsplash

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