Hello dear followers!
Today I (Karima) want to talk about vitamin supplements. I always wondered if it's really necessary to take vitamin supplements or if I could be just as healthy without them.
Nowadays, nutrition is a multibillion and fast growing industry. As a result, the second you put "vitamin" or "vitamin deficiency" in your search engine whether it be Google, Yahoo etc., you will get an overwhelming amount of websites, blog posts and other online tools that will provide a wealth of information on nutrition. On top of this, numerous websites will try to sell you vitamins and an array of other supplements. The sellers will seduce you with some flashy deals and catchy phrases like: "evidence-based", "fast results", "scientifically proven" etc. And thanks to cookies the advertisements and flashy deals will keep popping up on your screens.
I will be honest with you, I did fall victim to these persistent advertisements myself and purchased a personalised course of vitamin supplements. But I will talk about that a little bit later.
So, should we take vitamin supplements or not?
The American Institute of Nutrition and Society for Clinical Nutrition recommends that "healthy children and adults should obtain adequate nutrient intakes from dietary sources. Meeting nutrient needs by choosing a variety of foods in moderation, rather than by supplementation, reduces the potential risk for both nutrient deficiencies and nutrient excesses. Individual recommendations regarding supplements and diets should come from physicians and registered dieticians."
This statement summarises it quite clearly. A paper from Sydney University highlights three major issues that arise from taking vitamin supplements. First and foremost, people that are more likely to take supplements are the ones with already perfectly balanced diets and most probably get the right amount of nutrients through their meals.
This leads to another problem, which is getting a megadose of vitamins that can potentially (and ironically) lead to serious health problems. For example, overdosing on vitamin B-6 can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as ugly skin patches, extreme sensitivity to sunlight, nausea, and heartburn and even severe nerve damage. Vitamin A hypervitaminosis (overdose) can lead to changes in vision, bone pain, and skin changes. Pretty scary, isn't it?
The third issue pointed out by the authors of the paper is that most of the time people who take vitamins opt to take the supplements that their bodies don't actually need.
So, my conclusion is that we should not take any vitamin supplements without a clear indication that we need those vitamins or that we are experiencing some degree of vitamin deficiency. Therefore, we should consult our doctors before taking any vitamins. And I think it is worth mentioning that there is not much conclusive scientific evidence to back up the benefits of the vitamins supplements uptake and the improvement of general health in a normal healthy individual.
Now, back to my personal experience. Two years ago I started to work out regularly and started googling things like sports clothes, gyms, benefits of HIIT (high-intensity trainings). Very soon —thank you cookies — I started to see more ads on nutritional support for athletes, protein shakes etc.
One particular website caught my attention: myvitamins.com. I really loved the look of the website and the information they provided about their product. I was also totally compelled by their prices and huge promotions.
So, eventually I decided to test it out, and truth be told, I have nothing bad to say about my experience with myvitamins.com. The delivery was fast, the packaging was perfect and the labels of the vitamins were pretty (packaging and wrapping are very important for me when I choose any type of merchandise).
I ordered collagen and biotin supplements as well as a couple of other supplements that they seem to discontinue, such as "Beauty Sleep" supplements mix, in a desperate hope that it will improve my skin condition. Since I placed my order in the middle of the exam period, I also ordered a blend of Vitamin Bs called "Hocus Focus", which was supposed to increase my mental performance and energy levels.
Once I finished the course of my vitamins I was feeling good, my skin condition did improve a little bit. As for the mental performance, I didn't notice any changes - positive or negative. Therefore, my overall verdict is that while the vitamins didn't harm me (thank God!), they also didn't do me any good.
Two years later I decided to give vitamins another go mostly because yet again I fell victim to the brilliant marketing scheme by a company called Persona Nutrition. Persona Nutrition offer a unique set of vitamins that suit your personal needs. After completing a short quiz, they provided me with a set of nutrients that they deemed to fit my body. I was recommended a set of "essentials" and a set of extra options that were supposed to target my hair, skin and nail health, female health, iron support etc. I obviously opted for that hair, skin and nails package on top of the essentials.
Again, the whole experience with Persona was wonderful, I enjoyed playing with their app and setting a reminder to take my vitamins at the correct time (morning, day, evening). Moreover, I loooved the cute little box with my prepackaged vitamins in a small plastic bag for every day. Each bag was labeled with my name (cute) and the list of vitamins that it contained.
Pricewise, the Persona Nutrition vitamins are not cheap, I got my first box with a 50% discount as it was my first order. I paid the equivalent of $35.45 for "The essentials" (Omega 3, Daily Probiotics and Foundation Multivitamin), "The Hair, Skin & Nails Formula" and "Iron support". I'm sure that if it wasn't for the great promotion I would've never ever spent over £70 for vitamins.
I had high expectations for these vitamins, but again I did not experience any changes in my health, most probably because I am a healthy young individual and didn't actually need these vitamins to begin with. Therefore, I think that from now onwards I will stop spending money on vitamins and buy more fruits and veggies, good quality meat and seafood to boost my immunity and keep myself healthy and fit.
The bottom line is: you should not take vitamins unless your doctor advises you to. Most importantly, you should try and get vital nutrients through your well-balanced diet.
We hope you enjoyed our post and found it informative. Speak to you soon!
Lots of love,