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Friday, March 26, 2010

Are multi-vitamins dangerous?

Before we get into any possible detriments of typical 
multi-vitamins, let's first 
ask a simple question...
Do humans really need vitamins piled into a pill to be 
And the answer is a big fat NO!
Let's just think about it from a logigal perspective... 
humans did just fine for 10's of thousands of years without 
artificially concentrating vitamins into a pill. 
Multi-vitamins have only been around for a few decades, 
but people somehow survived and lived long 
lives prior to that.
But the problem is that the majority of the population 
in today's overly processed food world doesn't eat the 
nutritious diet that our hunter/gatherer ancestors did.   
And what about the argument that many people give which 
claims that all of our soils are worn out and no longer 
provide the nutrients in our produce that we used to get, 
even just 100 years ago?
Well, this is both true and false.  Sure there is a large 
amount of farmland where the soil has been abused by 
chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, erosion, 
and lack of crop rotation.
However, there are also small local farms in every area of 
the world where the soil has been treated right, and you can 
still get TONS of nutrition from the produce that's grown on 
those fields. Plus, if you have your own garden, YOU'RE the 
one in control of the quality of the soil, and therefore, the 
quality and nutrition levels of the produce you grow on it.
So do ALL of us really need a multi-vitamin?
No, not as long as you eat a great variety of vegetables, 
fruits, eggs, nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats, wild fish, and 
other nutrient-rich un-processed foods that were grown or 
raised correctly... PLUS, as long as you avoid junk foods and 
things such as soda beverages that actually deplete nutrients 
from your body.
So THAT is where the problem comes in... 
While some people do eat a tremendously healthy diet and 
avoid junk foods and soda,the vast majority of the population 
eats a fair amount of junk foods, fast food, sodas and other 
sweetened drinks, candies, cookies, etc, etc.
This means that not only are they harming their body with 
the junk foods and nutrient depleting sodas, but since a 
significant portion of their calories are coming from 
micronutrient-deficient foods, they are usually lacking 
in some micro-nutrients.
So, in this case... Yes, a multi-vitamin can come in handy.
But there's another problem with most Multi-vitamins... 
Most multi-vitamins contain artificial forms of certain 
vitamins and many of these have been proven to have 
detrimental effects in the body and/or reduce the 
assimilation in the body compared to the natural forms 
of vitamins.
For example, there are plenty of research studies on 
synthetic vitamin E vs natural vitamin E... many 
studies not only show that synthetic vitamin E has 
lower absorption by the body, but also that 
the body excretes synthetic vitamin E faster than natural. 
There is also evidence that synthetic vitamin E might 
even have detrimental effects in the body. 
The same goes for other synthetic vitamins vs natural 
forms of the same vitamins.
While I don't personally take a multi-vitamin, I do 
recommend one if your diet contains more than 10-20% of 
your calories from processed food, such as breads, 
sweetened drinks, crackers, cookies, donuts, 
sweet desserts, chips, or if you drink a lot of alcohol.
The best multi-vitamin that I've found is  
actually produced from natural forms of vitamins, 
mostly extracted from 25 different vegetables, greens, 
and fruits, such as:
*Wheat grass
*Collard Greens
*Barley grass
*and 16 others -- up to 25 different veggies, fruits, 
and greens
Better yet, even the Vitamin D in this comes from a 
fish liver oil, so that you can be assured it's from a 
natural source, instead of synthetic vitamin D. 
courtesy:  Mike Geary 

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