Do I Need Vitamins and Minerals?
What Vitamins & Mineral Do For My body
First of all we should ask the question… what are vitamins and minerals?
We hear people talk about Vitamins, minerals, multi-vitamins, etc. all the time… but what are they really?
Vitamins are natural substances found in living things such as plants. And the only way we can get vitamins into our body is to eat them (as in from the food we eat) or from supplements (which is still by mouth). The body can’t produce vitamins on its own.
Minerals are also found in plants. Plants get their minerals from the soil—soil gets minerals from water washing over the rocks… Now in order for vitamins to do their job in the body, minerals are required and these minerals must also come from food or supplements.
Now, of course, as already mentioned, vitamins and minerals get into your body when you eat plants such as fruits, veggies, grains, nuts and spices or when you take a vitamin/mineral supplement. You can also get some vitamins and minerals in to your body by eating meat because most animals eat plants.
But what are Supplements?
Supplements are vitamins and minerals that have been extracted from a plant or created in a lab (with synthetic ingredients) and put into a form that can be ingested and used by the body. That can be in a pill, capsule, gel cap, liquid form, etc.
Let me stop and ask some questions before going any further….
Are you taking a Vitamin & Mineral/ Multi-Vitamin supplement?
If not, do you feel like you should take a Vitamin & Mineral supplement, and do you know what to look for in a good natural supplement?
Do you realize that there are different kinds (as in qualities) of supplements?
There are effective supplements, ineffective supplements, and there are supplements that are down right dangerous for our health.
Consumers are at risk from two sides of the equation if they are uneducated about supplements:
- First, most consumers know they should take supplements, but they don’t know how to select an effective, quality supplement, therefore they waste their money, time and even risk their health.
- Second, many consumers are uninformed or are given bad advice on the need to supplement and risk or sacrifice their health.
So it’s important to do your due diligence and educate yourself on the quality of the supplement you’re taking or one that you are considering.
So where do vitamins and minerals go once they are in the body?
Well, obviously, they go into your stomach. From there, they go from your stomach to your intestines. Once in the intestine, they are absorbed through the intestinal lining, into the bloodstream and then go through a very complex allocation system whereby the body distributes certain vitamins and mineral to parts of your body based on its own priority system.
Your body knows where it is lacking and needs the most support. So as you take in the vitamins and minerals, they are assimilated into the body and then are carried to the parts of the body that needs them.
And, if a nutrient or nutrients are needed in a certain organ or in an area that the body deems more important, it will also take the nutrient(s) from a less important organ and pass it to the one that needs it more. Doesn't seem right, but it's true.
That’s why it’s critical to maintain proper vitamin & mineral levels. Putting vitamins and minerals in your body should not be viewed as putting independent substances into your body, but rather as a cooperative network of nutrients working together to help achieve and/or maintain good health.
Because without the proper balance of nutrients, your health is at risk. If one nutrient is missing, it throws the entire network of nutrients out of balance in the body, so the body isn’t able to function at its best.
The following is a quote from James F. Balch, MD:
“A deficiency of a vitamin or mineral will cause a body part to malfunction and eventually break down… and, like dominos, other body parts will follow.”
It may break down slowly, but, over time, it will break down... the thing is, is that it happens so slowly that we don’t notice it, because the process is so gradual. We start out feeling a bit sluggish, we get tired quicker, we start having a little headache here and there, etc… and it just becomes the norm... but what we don’t realize is, is that these are signs that the body is not functioning optimally.
Here is a quote from the American Medical Association:
“Insufficient vitamin intake is apparently a cause of chronic diseases… Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone. Pending strong evidence of effectiveness from randomized trials, it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.
This is from the AMA! That’s huge!!
Now considering everything you’ve read so far, if you’re not taking vitamins or better yet, a multivitamin, do you now think you should be taking one?
Vitamins and minerals are vital nutrients for bodily functions and prevention of disease (dis-ease). There is an archaic argument of “I can get everything I need from my food.” But are you really?
In a large 26,000 person study, it was concluded that not one person received the nutritional requirements of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance), and the RDA is set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. 96% of the US population dies of a disease… as a whole, we are not getting proper nutrition. All disease can be traced back to a nutritional deficiency of some sort.
Let me say this: Kudos to you if you are taking a multi-vitamin!
Now let me ask you this… Does your multi say on the label that you need to take it with food? Most of them do.
Have you ever taken your vitamins on an empty stomach? How did it make you feel after a while? Did you feel nauseous?
If so, do you know why this happens?
This happens because about 95% of all vitamins are produced chemically in a laboratory and are pretty much made from petroleum or coal tar; they’re not from plants for the most part. Because they are less expensive, most minerals used for supplements are mined from the ground, come from rocks, or manufactured from chemical processes.
Tests have shown that these minerals do not dissolve well, if at all (they are not soluble), in either the stomach or small intestine. And because your body can’t assimilate or process them and doesn’t recognize them as food, it tries to throw them off/up. Hence the nausea; and that’s why they tell you to take them with food, because they will mix with the food and pass through the system more easily.
And because your body can’t assimilate them, they pass whole or barely broken down if broken down at all, through the waste.
As a matter of fact, I knew a woman several years ago, whose husband worked for the EPA. His job was to supervise the cleaning of sewer drains. He and his team would find whole Centrum and One A Day vitamins in the sewer drains. And he could even still see the engraved name, Centrum, clearly on the ‘whole’ pills. This was after they had passed through the human body and the sewer drain. Pretty eye opening if you ask me.
You can actually test your multi-vitamin to see if it is plant based or synthetic based. There are two tests you can do.
The first is the water test. Get a glass, glass and fill half full of water. Drop one of you pills into the water and let it sit overnight. If it is plant based, it will soften and pretty much dissolve when you stir it. If it doesn’t, it mainly chemical based.
The second is the baking test. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Take a small piece of aluminum foil and place the pill on it. You can cut the spill in half if you want to. Bake it for 10 minutes and then take it out of the oven. If it is chemical and synthetic based, it will melt into a black sludge or some black sludge with ooze out in some places. That’s the coal and/or the tar. I have a friend who was taking a powdered vitamin and he did this test, and it just melted in to a blob of tar.
So needless to say, the best vitamin/mineral supplement to take is one that is plant based, with no or very little synthetic ingredients, so that the nutrients can absorb readily into the bloodstream and will be more beneficial for the body.