I am sure cavemen lived quite well as they evolved without vitamins and supplements! Unlike cavemen, we are no longer living in a natural world; foraging and hunting for our fresh, unprocessed foods and living in tune with the rhythms of the day and seasons.
Do we need vitamins?
My first response is it’s desirable that your nutrients come from food you eat; bodies’ have adapted over thousands of years to take our energy from food. In that timeline of evolution, vitamins and supplements are merely a pinprick! Vitamins and supplements do provide us with ways to supplement what our body needs due to:
- Higher demand– this can be due to ancestry, genes, existing health conditions and lifestyle events. An example is those who follow vegan practices require Vitamin B12.
- Lack of absorption– functional problems, aging, pharmaceutical medicines and some health conditions can affect your body’s ability to absorb specific vitamins. Example: as you age your digestive function is less efficient which can lead to poor overall absorption.
- Induced deficiencies– many lifestyle practices (smoking, alcohol consumption), pollution and pharmaceutical medicines can induce vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
- Socioeconomic conditions– financial conditions and location can affect what foods you can access or afford. It may be more difficult to maintain a well balanced diet if you live in a remote area.
Many people would fall into one of more of these categories. It is rare for me to work with someone who is obtaining all the nutrients I believe they may need to make changes to their health condition from diet alone. They require extra support and higher dosages to change and repair their health.
So, yes, I would say that many people need vitamins. The growing numbers of scurvy and rickets that are being seen in developed nations is a testament to how poorly many people eat. These two conditions are caused by vitamin deficiencies- lack of vitamin C (scurvy) and lack of sunshine (rickets).
Which Vitamins or supplement?
That’s a very good question! Without a consultation I would recommend a good quality multivitamin without question. A multivitamin will provide the broad range of vitamins and minerals in doses to help prevent deficiencies. If you feel you have a greater need or complex health conditions that require extra support an appointment to assess your needs would be valuable.
Remember that taking health products and supplements are not a replacement for food. Food is still your main form of nourishment, eating from all food groups and a variety of colours. That’s what your body is made from!