Many people take a daily vitamin. Many more wander down the overwhelming aisle and wonder if they need one.
How do you know if you actually need a daily vitamin? Here are a few questions to help you figure it out:
-Question 1: How does your daily diet look? Is it well rounded, full of a variety of foods that are every in season color of the rainbow? Or is it more focused on meat and potatoes, with the occasional corn piece or mushroom covered sirlion and a Poptart everyday for breakfast?
-Question 2: How do you feel? Are you frequently ill, with muscle aches and headaches? These can be signs that you do need a vitamin, or at least more vitamins in your diet.
-Question 3: What does your blood test say? Some vitamins (A, D, E, K) are fat soluble and only a blood test will tell you if you should be taking them. Otherwise, you can actually overdose on vitamins and build up a toxic amount! This simple test can be perscribed by your doctor and can be a simple fix to many complicated problems, including depression and lethargy, most commonly seen in more northern living folks.
If answering those questions has left you needing a vitamin, remember this: Obtaining vitamins from naturally occuring sources (the food we eat and the sun) is the best way for your body to be able to utilize them. Of course, it will also eliminate the need and cost of a daily vitamin.
Naturally occuring sources of vitamins and minerals are:
-Pastured/Free Range and organic meats which contain more vitamins and minerals that corn feed meats.
-Organic products which contain more vitamins and minerals than conventional products, but a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will help fill your vitamin quota. Try to fill half of your meal time plate with fruits and veggies and remember, they make great snacks!
-Locally produced products retain more vitamins and minerals because they are used sooner than those shipped great distances, which can cause nutrient loss.
-15 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun, especially in the summer months.
Can't put your hands on that kind of fix? Whether is is because you live in a far distant land without easy affordable access, or those kinds of foods don't fit your palate (and you aren't willing to change it)it wouldn't hurt to add in a vitamin. You will "excrete" the water soluble vitamins that you don't need. And after taking it for a month or so, you can evaluate how you feel. If you feel better than before beginning your vitamin, keep taking it. No change? Change vitamins or even just stop taking it all together.
Exceptions to those rules:
-Pregnant and lactating/nursing women
-Those who have been perscribed supplements by a health care provider. Always check with them first!