Do vitamins and dietary supplements really work? Before we get to that question, perhaps a better question to answer first would be: “Are they really necessary?”
Are they really necessary?
Vitamins and dietary supplements are not meant to be an alternative option to a healthy diet. They are purely there to supplement a diet that is lacking the required minerals, vitamins and nutrients.
In an ideal world where people eat the perfect portions of healthy, fiber-rich nutritious meals filled with all the minerals, vitamins and nutrients that their body needs on a daily basis there would not really be a need for them to supplement their diet.
Herein lies the problem.
The vast majority of people do not follow a regular and healthy diet.
- Some people are simply too busy or lazy to go through the effort of following a healthy diet.
- Other people might not like the food they should be eating.
- Many people simply can’t afford to buy the right food on a daily basis.
- Soil deterioration and poor food preparation methods result in fewer nutrients being absorbed.
- In some cases it is not easy to get what your body needs from your diet. (More about this later)
Most of the criticism levelled against vitamins and dietary supplements is that some companies try to sell it as “magic beans” that can prevent or cure just about any ailment. This is dangerous as they are not regulated as drugs by the FDA and can therefore not be sold as such, i.e. they cannot be sold as if they are intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure diseases; in which case a health care professional should be consulted before supplements are used.
Unfortunately, some of the criticism levelled against vitamins and dietary supplements comes from groups that are only trying to protect their financial interests as they view vitamins and dietary supplements as a potential threat and they will do whatever they can to discredit vitamins and dietary supplements as being worthless and nothing but a waste of money.
So, do vitamins and dietary supplements really work?
The Office of Dietary Supplements in the NIH (National Institute of Health) has the following to say:
“Scientific evidence shows that some dietary supplements are beneficial for overall health and for managing some health conditions.”
- The Office of Dietary Supplements in the NIH
In some cases it is not easy to get what your body needs from your diet.
Example 1: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
“Patients with heart disease should consume about 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids called EPA + DHA. This should ideally come from fish. This can be hard to get by diet alone, so a supplement could be needed. As always, consult with a physician first.”
- American Heart Association
Note: For more information on the Omega 3 Fish Oil supplement that we sell at LUNVA, click this link > Omega 3 Fish Oil
Example 2: Vitamin D
A vitamin such as Vitamin D is essential for a healthy body. Without sufficient Vitamin D bones can become thin, brittle or misshapen. Vitamin D has many important health benefits! The problem is that very few foods in nature contain Vitamin D.
Most people get at least some of their Vitamin D needs through exposure to sunlight but older people are at risk because, as they age, their skin cannot synthesize Vitamin D as efficiently as when they were younger. The skin is also less able to produce Vitamin D3 in people with a dark skin.
“Obtaining sufficient vitamin D from natural food sources alone is difficult. For many people, consuming vitamin D-fortified foods and, arguably, being exposed to some sunlight are essential for maintaining a healthy vitamin D status. In some groups, dietary supplements might be required to meet the daily need for vitamin D.”
- The Office of Dietary Supplements in the NIH
Note: For more information on the Vitamin D supplement that we sell at LUNVA, click this link > Vitamin D
There are many scientific studies that support the use and benefits of dietary supplements but the above examples from authority sources should be sufficient to dispel any myths that all vitamins and dietary supplements don’t work and are a waste of money.
My own journey into the world of vitamins and dietary supplements started many years ago when I went to my doctor to get a prescription for bronchitis. Her first question was: “Do you take Vitamin C?” to which I replied that I wasn’t taking any. She shook her head, gave me a prescription for antibiotics and told me to start taking a Vitamin C supplement. She told me that it would boost my immune system and help me to prevent getting colds and flu.
I followed her advice and started taking 1,000 mg of Vitamin C on a daily basis. She said 500 mg should be sufficient but since I was a smoker that I should double the dose, especially if I started getting the first symptoms of flu.
To my surprise her advice worked. Even when my wife was coughing and sneezing all over me I did not get sick. It was as if my body was resistant to the flu virus.
I had no idea how it worked. I only knew that it was working for me.
Many years later I came across research conducted by the brilliant and highly respected Dr Suzanne Humphries on the benefits of taking Vitamin C that blew my mind.
Below is a lecture on Vitamin C given by Dr Suzanne Humphries. (It’s a long video but definitely worth watching if you are interested and have the time to watch it.)
Not all vitamin & dietary supplement brands are the same or equal.
Warning: Be very cautious when considering buying low cost imported brands or even brands that are made in the USA by someone mixing and bottling the ingredients in his or her kitchen or garage.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements in the NIH:
“The FDA has established good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements to help ensure their identity, purity, strength and composition. These GMPs are designed to prevent the inclusion of the wrong ingredient, the addition of too much or too little of an ingredient, the possibility of contamination, and the improper packaging and labeling of a product. The FDA periodically inspects facilities that manufacture dietary supplements.”
Make sure that the vitamins and dietary supplements you buy are:
- Made in the USA to the highest quality standards in a FDA registered facility that also maintains a current GMP certificate.
- Made with Non-GMO ingredients which means that none of the ingredients have been genetically modified.
- Gluten free and made from natural ingredients.
To your health!
Casper du Toit
Natural Vitamins & Dietary Supplements