Are Vitamins worth taking? - An ongoing question. And one where everyone has an opinion.
The first thing we must all remember is that the amount of minerals and vitamins you get in foods are becoming less and less as food is coated with pesticides, takes longer to get to our plate and we eat less local food.
Avocado all year round? Sure. Mangos in winter. Why not? We can get whatever fruit and vegetables we want, when we want, but they may have travelled around the world to get to us. And this travel does damage to the nutrients in the food. There is a school of thought that says the minerals are being leeched out of the earth but lets not go there right now.
When the food does get to you – vitamins and minerals – especially those water soluble ones such as B and C – can take a beating. For example – vitamin C is a particularly fragile vitamin – if it gets too hot it deteriorates but it is particularly strong in FCOJ (Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice – yuck). And because of the fragile nature of some vitamins and minerals there are definitely times when supplements are required. But you do not need to be taking so many that it becomes prohibitively expensive or you are rattling as you pop them.
The main complaints that people have when talking about their health are often that they lack energy, cannot sleep well, have digestive issues and are mentally fatigued. There are a few things you can take to address these common issues.
“I am so tired all the time”.
The dream vitamin for this is a B Complex. You get Bs in all sorts of foods but often not enough. The B group is found in unprocessed foods and is responsible for fat metabolizing, energy production, nerve and brain function and stress management. As they are water soluble there is no risk of toxicity and 1 in the morning will help with energy levels. Of course you will not be bouncing off the walls after 1 day. You are probably already deficient and need to get up to a regular level before seeing the benefits.
“I cannot sleep” or “my digestive system is a mess”.
A common side effect of exhaustion is twitching muscles. Whether it is eye twitches or leg cramps – it is a message that something is wrong. Magnesium is the answer for this. It is hard to test for deficiency, as it does not show up in blood tests. A magnesium tablet taken at night will help improve sleep and assists with muscular spasms, which will in turn help, regulate your bowels. It is also fantastic to help with PMT cravings and cramps – if you crave chocolate, you are craving magnesium and supplements will help alleviate this.
“I cannot remember anything” or “I turn into a monster once a month”.
Fish oil. Fish oil. Omega 3 oils. Our ratio of consumption of inflammatory Omega 6 oils (vegetable oils, but also peanut oil, grape seed oil, cotton seed, safflower and sunflower oils) to Omega 3s is about 25:1. (It should be 3:1 – like the Eskimos and Japanese). These Omega 6 oils are what creates stickiness in the arteries, and is considered the basis of many diseases. This can be offset by upping your consumption of Omega 3s so the ratio is a bit better. These little rippers are found in oily fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds. However – a few fish oil tablets a day will do the job. They also help with memory, are great for the skin and help with PMT.
“I cannot get rid of this cold”
People often have colds that last all winter. And although tests are not conclusive I believe that high dose Vitamin C will speed the cold through the system. By high dose – I mean 5 or 6 at a time. Several times a day. Too much Vitamin C can result in an upset stomach (called reaching bowel tolerance). If you are not getting to that stage the body craves it. I will not go into a free radical/unpaired electron explanation here but believe me it is a great vitamin. And amazing for the skin.
And the difference between girls and boys:
A lecturer once said that if you have teens that the boys are more likely to become zinc deficient and girls more likely to need iron. Think about it. It makes sense. So –for the moody teen boy – load him up with zinc and your teen girls whose periods are regulating – get her eating lots of red meat or if not – an organic iron supplement washed down with vitamin c.
So – I believe whole heartedly in supplements but most days I just take a B, Magnesium, and a few fish oils. Vitamin C should be every day too.
Which magic supplements, vitamins and minerals do you swear by? Or do you think it’s a bit of a con? Let us know…