Do You Need a Multivitamin?
This weeks “Ask the Nutrition Consultant” question comes from Debbie!
Q: Do you recommend that everyone take a multivitamin daily?
A: Great question, Debbie! As a holistic nutrition consultant I always encourage my clients to focus on obtaining nutrients through their diet. Whole, real foods contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the balance that mother nature intended.
Vitamins and minerals work together synergistically and antagonistically in our body. For example: adequate vitamin D3 increases our ability to absorb calcium, BUT we also we need optimal levels of vitamin K2 to to ensure that the calcium goes into our bones and teeth and NOT into our arteries (atherosclerosis) or kidneys (kidney stones). On the antagonistic side, high levels of vitamin A can decrease our Vitamin D uptake by 30%…and low levels of vitamin D affect our ability to absorb calcium. So, you can see just from that example looking at D, A, K, and calcium how important it is to have a proper balance.
The best way to obtain adequate levels of vitamins and minerals is to eat a plant based whole foods diet. A diet comprised of a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and smaller amounts of animal products like meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy can provide most of us with optimal levels of nutrients needed for health. There are definitely some instances when supplementation may be necessary. For example, it is impossible for a vegan to get adequate levels of B12 from their diet because no plant food offers adequate levels. B12 is produced by intestinal bacteria in fish and ruminants (cattle, goats, sheep) and these animals then absorb the B12 their intestinal bacteria make. We absorb that B12 when we consume these animals.
Assessing micronutrient imbalances is one of the first areas I look at when working with my clients. I’ll have my client track their food and beverage intake over the course of 3-7 days to get an idea of their typical food choices and average intake. If any micronutrients (or macronutrients – protein, fat, carbohydrate) are low I’ll make recommendations of food sources to incorporate into the diet. If adequate intake from food sources cannot be made for whatever reason then we may need to assess supplementation. When supplementation is used I recommend client’s only purchase GMP certified products and I will help them find options.
If you have a food, diet, nutrition, or digestion related question you would like to ask, or if you would like to sign up for a FREE “Nourish to Flourish” strategy/discovery session please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org