Vitamins are nutrients we require. We are unable to make them in our bodies and therefore need to get them from outside sources such as food or supplementation. Our bodies need a wide array of vitmains to be healthy and function well. “I eat a healthy diet, do I still need vitamins?” is a common question I hear in practice. The “usual” (note this is a common diet, my no means an optimal diet) is sufficient to prevent scurvy, pellagra, and beriberi (severe vitamin deficiencies). However more than just the bare minimum is necessary to prevent chronic diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis and feel good). A large group of us are at risk because of our low levels of vitamins. Some examples include,
- Suboptimal (less than optimal levels) of folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 puts us at risk for cardiovascular diseases, neural tube defects (in developing fetus), colon and breast cancer
- Low levels of vitamin D put at risk for heart attack, increased blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, increased muscle pain, some cancers (and many more)
Most of us do not get enough vitamins in our diet. Are you able to get the minimum of over 6 servings (sometimes more) a day? Many do not. Survey’s show that over 30% of us do not and suspect this number is much higher. Sometimes by understanding an individual’s symtpoms and conditions we are able to formulate a supportive plan using vitamins and nutrition alone. It may take doing some unique laboratory testing to see how we can support the indiviudal in a personalized way. Diseases are goups of symptoms. Symptoms (headache, fatigue, allergies, cramps etc) are 0ur bodies’ way of speaking to us, telling us that something is not right. If we pay attention and understand ‘why’ your body is giving you symptoms, we can better understand how to support it. Vitamins may be one way.
Paying attention to everything we eat (or do not eat) is very important. It has the ability to greatly influence our health. A good multi vitamin, or a target approach (using specific vitmains like B6 in higher doses) for restoring low levels of certain vitamins can wonders for health. The key is making it personalized for you!