Having spent the last 2 years studying nutrition I’ve realized that my opinions on certain topics have changed. One topic in particular is whether or not people should take vitamins or supplements on a regular basis.
Here’s my opinion on the subject: If you eat a healthy diet 80% of the time – that would be a variety of fresh, raw fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts & seeds, wild fish and organic animal protein (& limit your intake of caffeine & alcohol) than taking a variety of supplements (ex. B50 complex, multi-vitamin, vitamin C, etc.) on a regular basis is not necessary.
The balance of vitamins & minerals in your body is very delicate. If you start taking a zinc supplement for example, you’re in danger of throwing off that delicate balance. Have you ever walked by someone’s desk at work, and it’s covered in vitamin bottles? It’s because they’ve started messing around with the balance and have to keep taking more supplements to try and re-balance their bodies. That can be dangerous to your health, and to your wallet – supplements are expensive!
That being said, part of my job as a future nutritionist is to help people with imbalances, and part of that help sometimes means taking supplements for a period of time. For example, some people just don’t have enough healthy bacteria in their gut, and may experience gastro-intestinal symptoms such as bloating or gas after meals or IBS. Once this imbalance is identified I would probably recommend a good pro-biotic supplement to help re-balance their body.
Or if a client suffers from anxiety or mood issues, I may recommend a B100 complex or Evening Primrose Oil to help fix those imbalances (keep in mind these recommendations depends on many other aspects of the individual).
I do have a few exceptions to my supplement rule:
1. Omega-3 is difficult to get from food (especially if you don’t like fish), and I think it’s ok to take 1000 mg of omega-3 daily. Make sure it’s from a good brand like Jamieson, and is pharmaceutical grade & moleculery distilled.
2. Vitamin D is hard to get enough of during a long, harsh Canadian winter. 1000 mg daily during the winter is ok (again, I would recommend Jamieson).
3. Folic Acid: if you’re pregnant, breast-feeding or trying to get pregnant I would recommend 400mcg – 1000mcg of folic acid daily.
I went through all my vitamin posts from the last 2 years and updated them, so if you’re looking for a little weekend reading, check them out!