Many people buy one or a ton of various vitamin pills, feeling they are doing the best possible thing for their health. After all, there is so much scary news about diseases and health issues out there, that many people reason that more pills equals more “good” stuff, right? But are synthetic vitamins really good for you? New research suggests they may not be.
With so many supplements available for every micronutrient out there, many people take tons of different pills. But if it was that easy to just pop pills to “fix” health issues, why are numbers for numerous different diseases skyrocketing?
Synthetic Vitamins Linked to Higher Death Rates
A 2011 study printed in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that several commonly used vitamin and mineral supplements were associated with a higher mortality risk. Among the vitamins tested and shown to have this positive association are iron supplements, synthetic multivitamins, vitamin B, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
What’s The Deal With Vitamins?
Many people take a whole bevy of supplements. Some might even have a whole cabinet full of them. Some people don’t even know what they take, there are so many different pills, that they forget what they are all supposed to do! They believe supplements help them get the nutrients they need, even when they eat a less than excellent, nutritionally bankrupt diet. Evidence seems to suggest, however, that we can’t fake the nutrients found in whole, natural foods in the lab. Mother nature loves and praises authenticity!
Synthetic nutrients are different than those we receive from whole foods. To create synthetic vitamins and minerals, manufacturers must chemically isolate vitamins and then re-create them in a synthetic process that relies on chemical reactions.
Synthetic vitamins are chemicals. Our bodies may recognize these chemicals as toxins, struggling to metabolize them appropriately. This can take a lot of digestive energy to break down. Even if your body is able to process the synthetic vitamins, they may cause unwelcome changes in body chemistry as your body fights to metabolize something foreign to your system.
Naturally occurring vitamins found in whole foods don’t exist as isolated molecules. Instead, they exist as part of a whole food that contains enzymes, antioxidants, macronutrients, and trace minerals that help your body absorb and utilize their full nutritional potential. It is the combination of these elements with the micronutrients that support good health, and it isn’t something that can be manufactured in a laboratory. Isolating vitamins may completely destroy any effectiveness they have in our bodies. In fact, it can even compound toxicity in the body.
Another component may be this: many people take vitamins in lieu of a healthy diet. The typical Western diet is filled with nutritionally bankrupt processed foods laden with chemicals that can harm your health. Taking vitamin supplements to “fix” the nutritional bankruptcy of a highly processed diet most likely can’t overcome the problems associated with poor nutrition.
The Best Way to “Take” Vitamins
The best way to take your vitamins is the way nature intended human beings obtain nutrients: by eating whole, raw, organic plant foods. There are a few key supplements that I do recommend, like a probiotic, which isn’t a specific nutrient per se but can help your body absorb nutrients better, and also helps make your own body function more efficiently, ie helping to promote better digestion and also manufacture B vitamins. I’m a huge fan of digestive enzymes, but again, they are not a specific micronutrient. A high quality whole-food based multi-vitamin- multi-mineral can be good insurance, especially if you don’t always eat the best diet, and if you are vegan (to ensure you are getting B12). If you never get sunlight on your skin, vitamin D is also a good idea.
Whole, natural foods like the Glowing Green Smoothie, raw greens, and other fruits and vegetables have everything your body needs for good health. Not only that, but foods from whole sources have all of the important trace elements, anti-oxidants, and enzymes your body needs to ensure optimal absorption and use of vitamins and minerals.
It’s important to eat a variety of foods in order to get the vitamins and nutrients you need. Choosing plant foods across the spectrum of colors can also ensure they contain the full complement of vitamins and minerals. So while greens are important in nutrition, so are reds, oranges, yellows, and purples. The Glowing Lean System and The Beauty Detox Solution are both whole foods plans that provide variety and nutrition.
What should you be eating for optimal nutrition?
- A variety of colorful fruits
- A variety of colorful vegetables
- Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and amaranth
- Raw seeds such as chia and sunflower
- Raw nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts
- Legumes like lentils can also be eaten in moderation
If you make the majority of the foods you eat come from the above categories, then you’ll get the range of vitamins and minerals you need – without having to resort to a plethora of laboratory “grown” pills.