Why take a multivitamin?

Supplementation is one of the most opinionated subjects in the natural health world. On one side you have many health experts promoting the consumption of multiple types of supplements with aggressive dosing. On the other side you have many health experts suggesting you get everything from food. This contrast of opinion between health experts leaves a lot of people unsure of what to do. I see many patients who from time to time flip back and forth from aggressive supplementation to no supplementation at all. This is where the value of working one on one with a health care practitioner is so helpful. There is no one size fits all supplement regiment. Working with a knowledgeable health care provider should result in you taking the supplements you really need and avoiding the ones you don’t.

In this week’s article, we will discuss the top five reasons most of us should take some form of a multivitamin. While the individual characteristics of the multi should be different for different people, it makes sense for most of us to take a multi.


1.  Minerals Come From The Soil

Minerals are elements that exist in the environment. Minerals cannot be created or destroyed. Minerals cannot convert from one thing to another. Simply stated, they exist. Therefore, when it comes to our food, if minerals are in the soil they should end up in the food grown in that soil. If the soil is deficient in one or more essential minerals the food grown in that soil will be deficient. In agriculture, most fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are the only minerals required in high amounts to grow big and beautiful looking fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, these fruit and veggies start their lives low in many minerals.


2.  Vitamins Come From Quality Growing Conditions

Unlike minerals, vitamins are not elements that exist in the soil. Vitamins are nutrients that are created by plants. We call them vitamins because humans cannot make them and thus are required to consume them from plants or other animals. The better the growing conditions that the fruits and veggies grow in the better these plants are able to produce their full potential of vitamins.


3.  Vitamins Are Lost in Transit and On The Shelf

Vitamins can be created and destroyed. We just learned how important growing conditions are for vitamins to be created by plants. What I didn’t mention is that many fruits are picked before they fully ripen. In fact, many fruits ripen on trucks or container ships. This process actually causes either a loss of vitamins for some species or a halting of vitamin creation for other species. This is one reason farm fresh local produce tastes so good. It’s in part because the plant is alive with vitamins and other nutrients that are either not created or lost during transit and shelf life.


4.  Vitamins and Minerals Are Lost in Cooking

A final place vitamins can be destroyed is during the cooking process. Heat and oxygen can denature many vitamins as we prepare them in our food. Minerals cannot be destroyed but the can be leached out of the food and into the cooking fluid/broth. However, I’m not suggesting we only eat raw food. A certain amount of vitamin and mineral loss is inevitable during cooking. I am suggesting that we start with more nutritious produce so more essential nutrients are left for us to consume at the end.


5.  Why Not?

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, some health experts are against multivitamins. I disagree with a general position against multivitamins for the above four reasons. However, I think it’s important to choose the right multivitamin for the individual. I also think there are some bad products out there that tarnish the category. In the next article I’ll go over the things that are important for you to select the right multivitamin.

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About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call 250-448-5610.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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