Many people buy one or a ton of various vitamin pills, feeling they are doing the best possible thing for their health. After all, there is so much scary news about diseases and health issues out there, that many people reason that more pills equals more “good” stuff, right?
But are synthetic vitamins really good for you?
New research suggests they may not be. With so many supplements available for every micro-nutrient out there, many people take tons of different pills.
But if it was that easy to just pop pills to “fix” health issues, why are numbers for numerous different diseases skyrocketing?
Synthetic Vitamins Linked to Higher Death Rates
A 2011 study printed in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that several commonly used vitamin and mineral supplements were associated with a higher mortality risk.
Among the vitamins tested and shown to have this positive association are iron supplements, synthetic multivitamins, vitamin B, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
What’s The Deal With Vitamins?
Many people take a whole bevy of supplements. Some might even have a whole cabinet full of them. Some people don’t even know what they take, there are so many different pills, that they forget what they are all supposed to do!
They believe supplements help them get the nutrients they need, even when they eat a less than excellent, nutritionally bankrupt diet.
Evidence seems to suggest, however, that we can’t fake the nutrients found in whole, natural foods in the lab.
Mother nature loves and praises authenticity!
Synthetic nutrients are different than those we receive from whole foods. To create synthetic vitamins and minerals, manufacturers must chemically isolate vitamins and then re-create them in a synthetic process that relies on chemical reactions.
Synthetic vitamins are chemicals. Our bodies may recognize these chemicals as toxins, struggling to metabolize them appropriately. This can take a lot of digestive energy to break down.
Even if your body is able to process the synthetic vitamins, they may cause unwelcome changes in body chemistry as your body fights to metabolize something foreign to your system.
Naturally occurring vitamins found in whole foods don’t exist as isolated molecules. Instead, they exist as part of a whole food that contains enzymes, antioxidants, macro-nutrients, and trace minerals that help your body absorb and utilize their full nutritional potential.
It is the combination of these elements with the micro-nutrients that support good health, and it isn’t something that can be manufactured in a laboratory.
Isolating vitamins may completely destroy any effectiveness they have in our bodies. In fact, it can even compound toxicity in the body.
Another component may be this: many people take vitamins in lieu of a healthy diet.
The typical Western diet is filled with nutritionally bankrupt processed foods laden with chemicals that can harm your health.
Taking vitamin supplements to “fix” the nutritional bankruptcy of a highly processed diet most likely can’t overcome the problems associated with poor nutrition.
The Best Way to “Take” Vitamins
The best way to take your vitamins is the way nature intended human beings obtain nutrients: by eating whole, raw, organic plant foods.
There are a few key supplements that I do recommend, like a probiotic, which isn’t a specific nutrient per se but can help your body absorb nutrients better, and also helps make your own body function more efficiently, ie helping to promote better digestion and also manufacture B vitamins.
I’m a huge fan of digestive enzymes, but again, they are not a specific micro-nutrient. A high quality whole-food based multi-vitamin- multi-mineral can be good insurance, especially if you don’t always eat the best diet, and if you are vegan (to ensure you are getting B12).
If you never get sunlight on your skin, vitamin D is also a good idea. Whole, natural foods like the Glowing Green Smoothie, raw greens, and other fruits and vegetables have everything your body needs for good health.
Not only that, but foods from whole sources have all of the important trace elements, anti-oxidants, and enzymes your body needs to ensure optimal absorption and use of vitamins and minerals.
It’s important to eat a variety of foods in order to get the vitamins and nutrients you need.
Choosing plant foods across the spectrum of colors can also ensure they contain the full complement of vitamins and minerals.
So while greens are important in nutrition, so are reds, oranges, yellows, and purples. The Glowing Lean System and The Beauty Detox Solution are both whole foods plans that provide variety and nutrition.
What should you be eating for optimal nutrition?
- A variety of colorful fruits
- A variety of colorful vegetables
- Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and amaranth
- Raw seeds such as chia and sunflower
- Raw nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts
- Legumes like lentils can also be eaten in moderation
If you make the majority of the foods you eat come from the above categories, then you’ll get the range of vitamins and minerals you need – without having to resort to a plethora of laboratory “grown” pills.
In Love and Health,
Hi Kim! Great article! I was just wondering if using something like Sally B’s Skin Yummies Antioxidant Skin Boost would also be harmful to use? Is it the same type of idea for vitamin/antioxidant rich cosmetics like that?
I have your book and I do take the vitamins that you recommend, plus some cod liver oil at times or flax seed oil. Is there a specific brand that you recommend? I want to make sure I consume the right kinds.
I love your information and the way you present it is wonderfully digestible:) I am a vegetarian, largely paleo eater who starts each day with your glowing green smoothie. I used to take a handful of vitamins and supplements but have been cutting them out over the past several months, as I prefer to get nutrients from food. However, I can get a bit low on iron. Do you have suggestions for ways to keep iron levels good on a paleo/vegetarian eating plan? I do eat fish and eggs. Many thanks,
Great information! Is there a good whole food brand that you would recommend for those in Seattle that need extra Vitamin D or are vegan? Also what about folic acid for those trying to conceive or pregnant? Thanks!
I take a supplement made from whole foods that also contains amalyse, protease, and lipase. I don’t take it every single day religiously, only a few times a week. I am currently around 13 weeks pregnant and of course I’ve been told over and over to take a multi vitamin. I try my very best to get all the nutrition and nutrients my body needs from *real* food and I am getting closer and closer every day to achieving that goal (without supplements). I keep wondering though, is too much of a ‘good thing’ bad (getting close or meeting the RDA of all the nutrients from real food, Plus a multivitamin, even if it is whole food based)? I’ve read that too much vitamin A is not good as well as a few other nutrients. What is your take on this Kimberly? Anyone else care to add their 2 cents?
Thank You SO very much for doing what you do Kimberly!
HI, Kimberly! Thanks for the great post.
When I was eating a plant based diet (I’m ovo-lacto now) I found that I was often low in niacin, selenium and zinc. Whenever I research about the sources of these nutrients, they just give me some animal sources. Could you please recommend any good plant sources of these nutrients? And I can’t wait for your new book!
If the “Archives of Internal Medicine” is a traditional medical journal, then I do not trust their research.
And, yes, Americans do use far too many supplements without proper knowledge, research, and ability to recognize quality products, such as food based supplements rather than synthetics.
Personally, my body likes herbs and organic foods.
I agree that the best way to get all the nutrients needed is to eat a whole foods diet………..but unless one can afford to eat organic, then even a whole foods diet will be lacking. What do you suggest then?
What if we have MTHFR (a genetic blood issue caused by GMO foods).
It causes those of us who have it not to be able to absorb B12 or Folic Acid unless
It’s methylated. My Dr. has me on Methylated B12 lozenges & Methylated 5MTHF (Folate).
Are those vitamins ok considering my condition?
Thanks for all you do! By the way, I love your GGS 🙂
Do you have any whole foods multi vitamin brand recommendations? I recently read Rainbow Light tested high in lead. I also worry about the arsenic in brown rice.
Hi Kimberly: I greatly appreciate your tips on body detox. Thank you very much. I’m from Argentina. I can read English better than I write, I live in Miami and soon I will buy your book as soon as next week. Again many thanks!
Aprecio enormemente tus consejos sobre desintoxicacion del cuerpo. Muchas gracias. Soy de Argentina. Puedo leer ingles mejor de lo que lo escribo, vivo en miami y pronto comprare tu libro, tan pronto como la semana que viene. De nuevo muchisimas gracias!!
I have always wondered about this, since there is so much hype around vitamin supplements. You always have all the answers to my health questions 🙂 I can’t wait to pick up your new book, too!
Totally agree with everything mentioned but not all vitamins are created equal. Comparing a “one a day ” or ” centrum silver” to a whole, plant based, veggie coated vitamin is completely different. There is no substitue for nutrient rich food period , but, the more expensive plant based, veggie coated, no “additional” ingredients added are much more absorbable and healthy, though NOT a replacement for good eating.
can you suggest a good digestive enzyme?
I currently take this one and the great thing about it is that it’s in powder form and you take it with the right amount of water and it taste really good. Read about it and get some info.
Hi Shannon, I take Florify. It has worked great for me. I used to be lactose intolerant and it has even helped me with that. Once dose of Florify contains 5 billion colonies of flora, it contains 2 probiotics. I highly recommend it for anyone suffering with gastic disorder. Thanks
Thanks for the post. Buy don’t you recommend magnesium supplements in The Beauty Detox?
I was deficient in B12 so I need to supplement, also vitamin D
How does a vegan get B12
Could you recommend a multivitamin by brand name? My vision isn’t the greatest anymore so I would appreciate knowing what brand to look for in the store. Thanks.
Can you please recommend a particular Whole Foods based multivitamin and mineral supplement.
Are the ALIVE vitamins synthetic??
Thanks for this life changing tip! Since my hormones are off balance, my body is not producing enough progesterone what probiotic should I take?
Can you really overcome really, really low iron levels with plant-based foods and no meat or iron supplements?
Have you ever heard of Perfect Food supplements made by Garden of Life. I take that and it has a bunch of Greens. Would you think it’s ok to take? Thank you!! 🙂
I wish we could share this pearls of wisdom in facebook
What about whole food supplements that are made from whole foods, without fillers and synthetic ingredients? Brands such as Standard Process or Perfect Prenatal by New Chapter Organics? Of course the best way is to get these vitamins and minerals from a great diet, but most of us do not maintain a “perfect” diet and need to supplement, not replace, a healthy diet. Especially with the Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin before and during pregnancy and nursing. That’s what I take and it says it’s a whole food, so I’d really like to know what your feelings are on that? Thank you!
Totally agree. In addition, I had a horrible experience with a pill called synergex. I once had to go to the emergency room because I thought I was going to die. Turns out the pill tightened my throat and it was making it hard for me to breath. I told the doctor that I wasn’t having an anxiety attack because I knew what an anxiety attack was. Luckily I don’t know enough, because that’s all it was. Needless to say after that experience and reading this detox book , I have no need for supplements. Thanks Kim !
Hi there Kimberley
What are your thoughts on taking ‘natural’ supplements such as astaxanthin and spirulina?
I’d be interested in your thoughts.
How often do I have to eat each of those nutrition food?
I mean I know I have to each healthy every day.
However, there are some food that I don’t like much but I do eat because it’s good for my health. So how do I know how much per day/week/month I have to eat of vegetables, sprouts, whole grains, raw seeds, nut and legumes to have a good life?
I agree – synthetic vitamins are horrible for you, are recognized as a chemical poison by your body and actually deplete the stores of vitamins that you do have in the body. I DISAGREE that in this day and age with nutrient depleted soil and the stress and toxins in the environment that burn through our nutrients, that we can just eat our way back to health. That is why in my practice I have my clients take a whole, condensed food supplements that will give them the amount of nutrients that the body really needs to repair itself.
What is it called?
I thought you might be interested in this,
I dont know why i am unable to access this forum on my mobile. I had to use my pc.
The question we need to ask about multivitamins is how much it is actually absorbed? most multivitamins are absorved 10-15% thus giving the posibility of minerals to crystilize. There is only one vitamin that has an 85% absortion due to a patent own only by this company but unfortunatelly is not sold in stores only directly from the company. I hope this is helpful!
Astaxanthin has been discussed by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Joe Mercola and recommended by many health experts, including myself. I take 12 milligrams every morning. I’d like to clarify one myth now: Krill supplements contain trace amounts of astaxanthin, not nearly what you need to achieve the therapeutic benefits discussed today. Here are five reasons to take astaxanthin supplements every day:-^`:
Great article Kimberly!
Very informational! I look forward to seeing what else you have to post!
Simply desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your put up is just spectacular and i can think you’re an expert in this subject. Fine along with your permission let me to seize your feed to keep up to date with imminent post. Thanks one million and please carry on the enjoyable work.
Wow, amazing blog layout! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for? you made blogging glance easy. The overall look of your website is excellent, as smartly as the content material!
Interestingly going thru the op’s article readers will like this since it is what we really believe and its pleasant seeing a webmaster thats blogging it online to consider
I have not checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are really good quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend.
Hi Kimberly. I just purchased some probiotics and I was wondering if you sell the digestive enzymes as well?
Synthetic Vitamins Linked to Higher Death Rates
A 2011 study printed in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that several commonly used vitamin and mineral supplements were associated with a higher mortality risk. Among the vitamins tested and shown to have this positive association are iron supplements, synthetic multivitamins, vitamin B, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, and copper.
The study actually says they could some support for iron ( and the study has limitations too) and an inverse relationship with calcium…not that all will kill you..lol!