I have tried to educate myself about vitamins, but one of my problems is that I am a cynic. Deep in the recesses of my mind (and not so deep, as well), I am not sure that vitamins work. There isn’t a committee of dedicated physicians who rigorously test how taking vitamins will affect each individual. There aren’t any standards at all, that I noticed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically states on its website, that it “does not have the authority to review dietary supplements.”
While it is true there are no clear standards for vitamins and supplements, I do concede that there is evidence we need vitamins (in some form) to be healthy. It is a known fact that Vitamin C is good for you. Of course, in its natural state, as oranges, limes and lemons, it’s easier to digest. As sailors and pirates knew, Vitamin C prevents scurvy, helps strengthen the immune system, protects eye health, and some even claim that it protects from cancer and stroke. Naturally I started taking Vitamin C to never get scurvy. Again. Kidding.
I also take Vitamin D, otherwise known as the “sunshine” vitamin. I am not proud of taking Vitamin D, considering that I live in one of the sunniest places in United States. I mean, I should take more walks out in the sun, or at least sun-adjacent in the shade. Yet one of my problems is that I do not like the sun, preferring clouds, rain and snow to heat. Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitates normal immune system function (this is straight from the all-knowing Internet). Vitamin D also decreases your chances of developing heart disease. All good things.
A problem with taking vitamins and supplements is the fact that you sometimes have to take great quantities of them to get any benefits. The last time I looked, St. John’s wort, a supplement that is supposed to aid memory, must be taken in quantities of three, four or five pills per day, a recommendation totally depending on the company that manufactures the St. John’s wort capsules.
Mind you, I am not advocating against taking vitamins, especially if you find that they help you. For example, I didn’t feel all that different after taking Glucosamine Chondroitin for several years, but when I stopped because I had to have a medical procedure done, I really did feel more achy and stiff. For me that was enough tangible proof of it working.
All of this goes to show that I am not gullible. I am so far away from that, I am ridiculous to convince otherwise. I hope that vitamins do work, because I do not have a diet that makes them unnecessary. Like most Americans, I do not strictly adhere to a Mediterranean, whole grain, raw, paleo, organic, unprocessed diet. Actually, like most Americans, I do not strictly adhere to any diet — more shame on me.
I would be false to say that I don’t know how to eat well and healthy. We all do. Eat fruits and veggies! Drink more water! Eat more lean protein! This isn’t rocket surgery. It’s just good common sense. So, in the spirit of doing something for my health, taking a few vitamins is definitely a plus.
I’d like to finish on a lighter note, a joke my husband told me when I mentioned the topic of my blog:
“What do you do when a health supplement salesman knocks on your door? . . . ‘Vite ’em in!”