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do you need vitamins or just food

Vitamins: Do I Need Them, and Which Ones to Take

nutrition vitamins

Getting all the nutrition your body needs is difficult to do with food alone. 

I used to think that I could get by without supplements.  My mind changed when I was pregnant and found myself sobbing uncontrollably at one of my prenatal exams.  Not because anything was making me depressed, and it wasn’t the usual pregnancy emotional rollercoaster, either.  It felt more acute than that. 

I told my midwife, “I don’t know why I’m feeling so emotional!  Nothing’s wrong, per se, in my life.”  She asked if I was taking the prenatal vitamins she recommended.  I wasn’t.  She said, matter-of-factly, which one does after 30 years of delivering babies, “You’re anemic.  Start taking iron.” 

One sign of anemia is feeling overly emotional.  As soon as I started the food-based iron supplement, I felt like myself again.  

Why is it so hard to get everything we need from our food?  There’s a few reasons. 

1.  Farmland soil is slowly and reliably declining in essential minerals and vitamins.  Unfortunately, modern farming practices focus more on outcome (large produce, quickly and efficiently grown for profits) than the health of the environment.  

2.  A lot of the foods people used to eat thousands of years ago, we rarely eat any more, like organ meats and seaweed.  Even if you’re very careful with your diet, getting a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, raw dairy, good quality oils, and organic animal proteins (from “tip to tail”), it’s challenging!  We get busy, eat take-out, or indulge in poor quality food from time to time. 

3.  Stress and our ever-busy modern lifestyle make our needs for minerals and vitamins much stronger. 

4.  Certain life situations call for a more dense nutritional intake.  Health issues like a weakened immune system, either through acute infection or chronic illness, requires more usable Vitamins A, C, D, Zinc, and Calcium.  Prenancy and other times of hormonal fluctuation (post-natal care, puberty, and menopause for starters) require enhanced nutrition as well. 

Most health imbalances indicate something may be “off,” nutritionally.  

Mental disorders – everything from chronic, low-grade stress to things like anxiety, depression, insomnia, bi-polar disorder, or schizophrenia.  Almost always, these individuals could benefit from upping their Vitamin BMagnesium, and other trace minerals.  Hemp oil is beneficial as well.  

Painful, stiff, crackling, or swollen joints indicate some type of inflammation.  Repairing from injuries requires a good, quality calcium supplement, plus the ability to transport and absorb calcium, which could be aided with an omega 3 or 6 oil.  Manganese also helps with the rebuilding and repair of connective tissue.  Glucosamine occurs naturally in animal shells is a good source of vitamin A for connective tissue repair as well.  Bone spurs and other bone abnormalities can benefit from additional Phosphorus.  

Muscular pain and cramping could be a sign of a Vitamin E deficiency, especially when occurring with skin or hormone concerns.  Tight muscles benefit from minerals that encourage relaxation such as MagnesiumCalcium, and other trace minerals.  If you’re more sore after workouts, try adding some extra Vitamin C into your daily routine to see if it helps.  If you haven’t cleansed in a while, have an unhealthy diet, or need digestive support, you could try a Chlorophyll supplement to see if that helps.   

Nervy pain could benefit from additional B6.  

Digestive irregularities can include everything from diarrhea to constipation, bloating, and gas (lower Gastro-Intestinal), or acid reflux and heartburn (upper GI) disorders.  Almost always, I recommend a digestive aid that contains hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes.  Fixing the gut is a priority before optimizing the nutritional load because we need to ensure things are absorbing. 

This depends on what’s at the root cause of the problem.  It could be a pathogen that needs to be eliminated, an imbalance of gut flora, or Liver and Gall Bladder issues.  Sometimes it’s stress related or due to undiagnosed food allergies or improper diet.  

Almost everyone could benefit from taking these 3 things –

1.  A good multivitamin – a good supplement is based on real food, and not made in a laboratory.  I like Standard Process because I’ve visited their lab and the field where they grow their produce.  Let me tell you – their soil is amazing!  Rich, moist, and black, compared to the conventional field next door with grey, dry soil, the difference is like night and day.  Plus, with food-based supplements, your body absorbs it and it’s unlikely to do damage.  The “RDA” amounts are much lower than conventional vitamins, but the absorbability is much higher.  Think of it like a very condensed, healthy meal.  

For people who don’t like taking pills – “Take it or eat it.”  If you can’t swallow pills, you can chew them, or try to get those ingredients in your regular diet as often as possible.  

There’s a chewable multi for kids or a general multi for adults.  I recommend specific multis for specific health conditions too – one for joint problems; for stress disorders and chronic fatigue; for lung problems; gluten-free options; for cardiac health; for allergies; for diabetics; and for eye problems.  

2.  A trace mineral – there’s one that has a little bit of everythingiron for anemia or pregnancy; relaxation minerals for stress or tension; zinc for digestive or immune system health; and calcium for bone density issues and hormonal fluctuations.  Protein-bound iodine, in a small dose to start, is essential for thyroid disorders.  

3.  An Omega 3 or 6 oil.  There’s a chewable one for kids; a good general omega for pregnancy; Cod oil for skin problems or Vitamin D deficiency; a DHA/EPA for reducing inflammation; and some that are more Essential Fatty Acids for hormone, skin, and muscular health.  Vegetarian options could include wheat germ oil, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, or hemp oil.  

 

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