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How to Know What Vitamins and Supplements to Take

How to Know What Vitamins and Supplements to Take

Odds are, you have at least a little experience with taking vitamins or supplements – even if the last time you took a vitamin was shaped like a cartoon family. With as many products as there are on the market, it can be intimidating to know which ones you need, and which ones to stay away from. This process is made even more complicated by contradicting information and false-advertisement, but there is a way for you to know you are taking the right vitamins and supplements.

The key is to know what essential vitamins and nutrients you need to look out for. In order to do this, you should carefully assess your diet and lifestyle and pay attention to what nutrients you may not be consuming enough of. Remember that vitamins and supplements aren’t meant to be a replacement for fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce offers the antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber in which your body needs. Supplements and vitamins are simply an addition to ensure your body is retaining all of the nutrients in which it needs.

Know Your Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Most simply put, vitamins are essential organic substances your body’s cells need to function, grow, develop and heal properly. There are 13 essential vitamins – A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins, B6, B12, biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and thiamine. A deficiency in any of these vitamins can lead to serious health issues.

Along with the essential vitamins, there are 16 essential minerals, all of which you’ll recognize from the periodic table. Macrominerals are the minerals that your body needs in relatively large amounts, while trace minerals are needed in small amounts. The essential macrominerals are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. The trace minerals are iron, zinc, iodine, chromium, copper, fluoride, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium.

How to Assess Your Diet

The US Food and Drug Administration sets a Recommended Daily Intake for the essential nutrients to help people manage their nutrition.

The RDI is simply how much nutrient is needed each day for healthy adults. This obviously varies from person to person, depending on diet, lifestyle, and health factors. The nutrition labels on foods also list the nutrients they contain, as well as the percentage of your RDI for each particular nutrient.

One way to measure what vitamins and supplements to take is to look carefully at the nutrition; value of all the foods in your diet and see how close you come to the RDI. From there you can assess if you’re consuming too much or too little or a particular vitamin or mineral.

If you have a diet that is particularly low or high in certain foods, you could be getting too much or too little of certain nutrients. For example, B12 is commonly found in meats, poultry, eggs, and milk products. This being said, if you eat a plant-based diet, this may be a supplement that you need to take.

While the RDI can be a great starting benchmark, it isn’t the do-all-be-all of health. Depending on your body size, physical activity, health goals or issues, the RDI may be lower than your actual needs.

Factors like gender, age, fitness level, or even your geographical location can mean you need more or less of a certain nutrient. For example, women entering their 50s may need more bone strengthening vitamins to protect against osteoporosis, while women who are pregnant may need more folate or iron.

Depending on your long-term or short-term health goals, more or less of a certain vitamin may be necessary. Evaluate your daily life, your goals, your family history, and your current needs to see what vitamins and supplements may fit your needs best. However, taking too many of the wrong supplements can also be severely detrimental to your health.

Even the most health-savvy individuals could use professional guidance. Consulting with your doctor or medical professional could also be a great way to pin-point the best vitamin and supplements for you.

Getting a functional health report and labs is one of the most accurate approaches to navigating your supplement journey. Lab results don’t lie, and can give your medical professional a clear understanding of the best vitamins and supplements to improve your health.

You can sign up for an in person or virtual consult with Deep Relief professionals here. We’ll look at your current lab results, run a functional health report, and help guide you towards the right vitamins and supplements for you.

Whole Food Supplements vs. Synthetic

Whole Food Supplements vs. Synthetic

The majority of Americans don’t get enough nutrients from diet alone. 

Statistics show that over half of the U.S takes synthetic nutrients, such as multivitamins. 

There have been many debates between health professionals about whether or not there are benefits to synthetic nutrients. 

In this article we are going to take an objective look at what synthetic nutrients are, the differences between whole food supplements vs. synthetic, and the benefits they offer. 

What Are Synthetic Nutrients? 

Synthetic nutrients are dietary supplements made in a lab to mimic the way natural nutrients act in our bodies. 

They do not include “whole foods”, which are made from concentrated, dehydrated whole foods. 

They can be taken in pill, tablet, powder, or liquid form. To check whether the ingredients in your supplements are whole food based or synthetic, read the label. 

Supplements that list nutrients individually as opposed to listing them as food sources or labels that read 100% plant or animal based, such as vitamin C, are almost always synthetic. 

Whole Food Supplements vs. Synthetic 

Here’s the difference:

Whole Food Supplements – These are obtained through natural, whole food sources, such as plants or animals and are easily assimilated by our bodies.

Synthetic Nutrients – These are most often made artificially, in an industrial process. 

While synthetic nutrients are understood to be almost identical to whole foods chemically, your body reacts to them differently. 

Due to the fact that synthetic nutrients are created differently than how plants and animals make them, it’s unclear how well synthetic nutrients are actually absorbed and used in the body in comparison to whole food supplements. 

When you eat real food you’re not absorbing single nutrients but a range of vitamins, enzymes and minerals that allow for optimal use in the body. 

While whole foods are always the best option, there are an array of whole food supplements that are the next best thing to ensure your body is receiving enough nutrients. 

Standard Process is a whole food supplement company that offers products with beneficial and high-concentrates of naturally derived sources of nutrients. 

Benefits of Whole Food Supplements vs. Synthetic 

While it’s unclear how well the body absorbs synthetic nutrients, it is clear that natural nutrients are linked to a multitude of health benefits. 

Whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, provide us with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibers, and fatty acids that synthetic nutrients can’t replicate. 

Foods such as fish, beans, nuts, and whole grains are known to help reduce blood pressure, improve heart health, reduce risk of diabetes, and also have cancer prevention properties. 

These benefits can only be achieved through natural sources, such as whole foods or whole food supplements. 

The evidence on the benefits of synthetic nutrients is mixed. While some multivitamins have been linked to reduced heart disease and cancer, some have been proven to have no effect at all, or to even increase the risk of cancer. 

Some studies suggest that B vitamins may improve brain function, yet other studies prove the latter. 

Overall, studies on synthetic supplements are inconclusive. Many studies have proven to be weak, contradictory, or downright harmful. 

While there are some groups  in which synthetic nutrients have proven to be beneficial, such as for the elderly, vegans and vegetarians, pregnant women, and people with nutrients deficiencies (such as iron), getting natural nutrients is always the better option. 

While supplements aren’t a replacement for a healthy and balanced diet, they can be a great option if you’re lacking nutrients in specific areas. 

With this in mind, always opt for a whole food supplement. There are many reliable sources for natural supplements, including these Standard Process supplements