Didn't mean to yell at you in the subject line there, just wanted to grab your attention. I am often asked my take on supplements. I've been asked this for a while, and real talk, I've been hesitant to answer because my viewpoint was changing a bit.
The more I learn about food, and ALL the benefits surrounding a health plant based diet, the more I drift away from supplements as a general recommendation for everyone. Please note that I am saying "general recommendation" because there is always an exception to the rule.
Here's the premise of vitamins, said perfectly by Thomas Campbell, MD:
In general, the story of multivitamins is a perfect example of reductionism in nutrition research. The pattern that continues to repeat is that observational studies (in which scientists simply record and analyze factors and outcomes, without intervention) find that those people with higher intake or higher blood levels of single vitamins have lower rates of certain diseases. Rather than stop there and focus on trying to get everyone to adopt healthier dietary patterns with more of those vitamins, researchers progress to studying whether pills with those isolated vitamins or minerals can have the same beneficial effect. Isolated nutrients will never have the same beneficial effect as healthy whole foods, as has been shown time and time again in repeated failed trials of vitamins. This is covered in greater detail in The China Study and in Whole.
Ok, but what is your take on the matter, Mia?
1. If you aren't consuming a whole food, plant based diet on a regular basis, not vegan per sé, but where fruits, greens, veggies, whole grains and legumes make up 80% of your diet, then you are probably missing out on some things and MAYBE a mutli-vitamin would help.
2. Get a blood test! See what you are low in. Try to fix it with food. Allow your body 4-6 weeks to adjust to new eating habits. Get tested again. If it worked, great! If it didn't, maybe a vitamin/mineral supplement would be good in your case. Just remember vitamins and minerals are meant to be consumed together. So please do your research on that. For example, taking Vitamin D3 is pointless without the presence of K2 and Magnesium for example. Together they are more easily absorbed. But you can also just go outside to get that vitamin.
3. If you are training for an athletic event, taking amino acids will aid in your performance, hands down! They are not exactly necessary and we still do not know any health benefits or costs associated. If you're not training competitively where performance is a concern, then my recommendation is to get what you need from food. (I make some awesome recovery shakes!)
4. I love taking magnesium as a post workout supplement. It relaxes my body and serves as a cramp reducer when that time of the month rolls around. I'm not getting rid of it.
Maybe you liked my answers, maybe you didn't. Maybe you said, "There she is talking about how plants can help save my life and not saying which vitamins to take."
Lol! But it's true. There is no quick fix. Food is the best form of preventative medicine and can help reverse some diseases in many individuals.
So I'll leave you with this:
KF is Kathy Freston, a journalist and TCC is Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the new bestseller Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
I hope this was helpful in some way or at least got your wheels turning. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Dedicated To Your Success,
Strong 4 Pole, Founder
P.S. I'll be going live about this topic today at 12pmPST in our Empowered, Fit & Fab Women group. So if you want the chance to ask me questions and get them answered in real time, click here so you don't miss out!