We all know that vitamins and minerals contribute importantly to our overall health. However, according to Mark Hyman, M.D. who is the author of The UltraMind Solution and several other NY Times best sellers, more than 92% of American’s are deficient in one or more vitamins (based on 2012 NHANES data). Obviously we’re not getting what we need from our food. So should we take a multivitamin, or does that just contribute to expensive pee?
There’s been a lot of recent media hype over the idea that vitamin supplementation is not only unnecessary and wasteful, but we’ve been told it is downright dangerous. It’s true, the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements the way it does drugs, so what’s a person to do?
Here we will present some basic facts in an effort to clarify the controversy and to present our stance. At GetzWell we believe there is a context for safe, informed micronutrient supplementation. We recommend only the highest quality supplements, because unlike generic drugs compared to name brands, vitamins vary greatly in quality.
How have we become so vitamin-deficient?
Our vitamin deficiencies are largely based on the quality of our food supply which is increasingly depleted of nutritional value on account of soil overuse, current agricultural practices promoting monocrops and petroleum based fertilizers, factory farming of animals, genetic modification, and over processing. For many of us what we eat simply isn’t adequate to provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, environmental toxicity may interfere with proper absorption and use of micronutrients and render all of us, but children in particular, more susceptible to disease and infection by weakening our immune systems, which depend on adequate levels of vitamins and minerals in order to function optimally. (Learn more from our cautionary tale on chemical toxins.)
Another cause for vitamin deficiency is the “one-size-fits-all” dosages recommend by the USDA. In reality, we have unique bodies with complex physiologies whose vitamin requirements are determined by many factors including age, lifestyle, weight, genetics, toxin and environmental exposures, stress, etc.
Why are vitamins so essential?
Vitamins/minerals and macronutrients are the keys to optimal health. For example, the minerals magnesium and zinc alone help to drive over 500 enzymatic pathways in the body and brain. Many of us, however, lack optimal levels of both of these crucial micronutrients, again because our food supply is lacking and our lifestyles are depleting. (Stress, caffeine, alcohol and sugar are examples of what exhausts magnesium and zinc in the body.)
In fact, many diseases and ailments that we are beginning to see in epidemic proportions – allergies, asthma, heart disease, to name a few – may stem, in part, from a lack of optimal micronutrients and in turn can be mitigated, and even prevented, by lifestyle changes including getting enough of the right nutrients.
Getting the RIGHT nutrients for you and your baby.
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, it’s all about your unique makeup. Here are some tips for keeping you and your children vitamin sufficient:
1. Green your body.
At GetzWell, we can help prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy through our “Greening the Womb” process. We’ll thoroughly assess your overall health and lifestyle and make nutritional recommendations based on your unique needs.
One example of why this is imperative is provided by looking at vitamin D’s impact on a healthy pregnancy: it helps to prevent premature labor, preeclampsia, hypertension, low birth weight, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. Check out our post on Vitamin D for more information.
2. Go organic from the get-go.
Starting your child on a nutrient-rich diet is a great way to build and fortify their vitamin and nutrient levels.
We always recommend breastfeeding as the #1 source of nutrition for infants.
When your little one is ready for solids foods, choose organic produce and meats, and buying from local farmers whenever possible. This also means trying to avoid packaged and processed foods that are lacking nutrients and often full of preservatives and hydrogenated oils.
3. Supplement safely.
Unfortunately in today’s world most of us can’t get all of the nutrients we need from food. Vitamin and mineral supplements can help us meet our bodies requirements, allowing us to thrive and not just get through the day. Since all bodies are different, we advise working with a physician on a custom supplementation plan to achieve optimal health. At GetzWell we carry supplements that are manufactured to the highest standards and are submitted to third party testing.
Let GetzWell guide you.
GetzWell offers comprehensive nutrition counseling to moms, kids, and women who want to become pregnant. Give us a call today at 415.826.1701 to get you and your family on the right path to optimal health.