There is a lot of controversy on whether taking vitamins will help you live longer and healthier. Health guru and pioneer fitness expert Jack LaLanne, who opened the first nationwide chain of fitness gyms and was on TV for 34 years touting everything fitness related, took 40 to 50 vitamins a day. While it seemed it worked, since he managed to towed 65 boats filled with 6,500-pounds of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp while handcuffed and shackled crossing Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan, it also could have been the great shape he was in, his healthy diet and genetics. Do vitamins really help? The answer isn’t a simple “yes” or “no,” but more of a “sometimes yes” and “sometimes no.”
Diet and sunshine are more beneficial than supplements.
A 2019 study, discovered that modifying your diet to make it better was far superior to supplements if you wanted to live longer. That’s because food contains phytonutrients that aren’t in supplements and enhance the benefits of the vitamins. Other vitamins may be in the supplements, but aren’t bioavailable. The bioavailability is how well the body absorbs the vitamin. No matter how many supplements you take, if your body doesn’t get the benefits, you simply eliminate them in your waste and urine.
Women past menopause need vitamin K2 to avoid osteoporosis.
If you’re a post-menopausal woman and worried about bone density, taking a vitamin K2 supplement could actually help. While studies aren’t always in agreement as to its efficacy, many studies show that it does. Many foods contain vitamin K1, which is an anticoagulant, but not nearly as many common foods contain K2 a vitamin necessary to ensure that calcium is deposited in bones, cartilage and teeth, while also preventing it from going to places like kidneys and blood vessels that causes coronary artery disease. It’s also important for brain functioning. Vitamin K2 is found in fermented soy called Natto, goose liver, egg yolks, dark chicken meat, butter from milk from grass fed cows and some types of cheese.
Vitamin D may also be beneficial as a supplement.
While safe sunning is one way to increase your vitamin D, most people just slather on the sun block or simply don’t go out in the sun. Vitamin D is extremely important for strong bones and teeth, reducing the risk of cancer and diabetes, boosting immunity, reducing the risk depression and improving brain health, improving metabolism, building muscles and aiding heart health. Studies show that a large portion of Americans have a vitamin D deficit. Fatty fish like salmon, beef liver and egg yolks contain vitamin D.
If you supplement with vitamin D or even do safe sunning, make sure you have adequate magnesium in your diet. It activates the vitamin D.
If you’re pregnant, supplementing with folic acid is important. It helps prevent birth defects. It also potentially lowers the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease for everyone.
While many people supplement with vitamin C when they feel a cold coming on, you can get too much of a good thing. It can be dangerous if you have liver disease or kidney stones. It also can cause stomach problems with nausea, diarrhea and headache for everyone if taken in too large of a dose.
Unless you have a specific problem of absorption, you’re far better off eating healthier rather than supplementing a bad diet. Add to that healthy diet a program of exercise and you have the perfect blend for a healthier life.