The debate around vitamins is something I find interesting, so I was happy to see an article about it in this months Nutrition Action magazine. My mom got Ruth and I subscriptions as a gift last year. She must have noticed how we fought over her copy every time we came home.
It got me thinking once again about the why, when, and how much surrounding vitamins. Most studies show people who take vitamins don't live longer, get colds just as often, and in general don't get much benefit (except for pregnant women and older people who need B12). But I also saw a documentary about high doses of vitamins curing cancer, depression, and other illnesses. Plus, vitamin deficiencies are serious, so what's the harm in taking some pre-cautions?
I've taken a lot of supplements at different points in my life, from B-12 to vitamin D. I usually have a hard time remembering to take them, especially at the right time. Don't take with caffeine, do take with food, don't take with your regular multi-vitamin, take at the same time each day.... etc.
Aaron's vitamin (left) and mine (with more calcium)
At this point, Aaron and I both take a multi-vitamin with dinner each night. We leave the bottles sitting on the table so we remember to take them. This has been the only successful method! Our vitamins come from Whole Foods and are kind-of expensive (about $25 for 180), but they have a lot more stuff packed into them. They also make your pee neon greenish, so just a warning.
Here is a Women's multi-vitamin from Whole Foods next to a Meijer one.
Spinach, Kale and beet powder... etc.
Nutrition Action had some interesting things to add to the debate. For example, men who take multi-vitamins should not eat fortified cereal because they will likely get an overdose of folic acid, and that can cause problems. They also said don't waste your money, because most vitamins are the same.
Should we be spending any money on something that might not have a benefit? I'm not sure. We mainly take the vitamins for the extra B-12, which is harder to get in a vegetarian diet. The calcium and vitamin D are probably helpful too, especially in the winter, so I guess we'll keep it up. Of course, TRYING to get all of the essential nutrients from food, first and for most.