Most of us are aware that taking certain vitamins is a good idea, but the varieties we see on pharmacy and food store shelves might leave us wondering what to buy -- and when to use it. Moreover, all those choices can leave us asking, "Is all this really doing me any good?"
However, by listening to some expert advice on what vitamins you need and following a good diet and exercise regimen, chances are you'll be feeling better in no time.
Illinois chiropractor and nutrition expert Dr. Chris Reid advocates eating well and taking a good multiple vitamin-mineral, or MVM, supplement.
"There are studies showing that most of the chronic diseases that we as Americans suffer from are caused by nutritional deficiencies, which I find very sad considering we are the wealthiest country in the world," he says. "The last time I checked, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention we are ranked 37th of all countries regarding health. Think about that; the wealthiest country in the world ranking No. 37. That's a sad statement for the current state of our health in the United States. I think it is an absolute necessity that everyone take an MVM supplement."
A good multivitamin is the foundation of health and nutrition, agrees Dr. George Obikoya, who writes for http://www.vitamins-nutrition.org.
"Many people report a feeling of general well-being when they are taking their multivitamins regularly. To scientists and health-conscious people, the fact that we can benefit from supplements has never been in doubt," he says. "The individual vitamins and nutrients in a quality multivitamin dose deliver to you their specific benefits, plus you get the combined benefits of all of the ingredients working together."
Selecting a vitamin off the drugstore shelf may not be the best choice, Reid adds. "Most multivitamins are going to state that they contain a lot of the basics that everybody needs," he says. "However, I'm not a big fan of food-grade vitamins. You have to ask yourself, 'If they sell it for this cheap amount and spend millions of dollars to market it, how good can it be?'
"Then there is a class of vitamins that are made by companies that are pharmaceutically licensed," adds Reid, who owns Reid Chiropractic & The Nutrition Center. "Those are the ones that I carry, the vitamins that I take and that I have my family take. Understand that as in anything else, you get what you pay for."
Vitamins are not meant to replace a healthy diet; they enhance the nutritional quality of a person's diet. Vitamins always should be taken with meals, when they are absorbed more effectively.
"I think we all want to be healthy, but we don't quite know how to get there," Reid says. "There are so many questions out there. For example, 'What can I do to possibly prevent getting cancer?' Well, from everything that I've been reading, cancer is largely associated with nutritional deficiencies."
Of course, in America, obesity is a well-documented health problem. "People aren't getting thinner," Reid says. "Obesity has gone through the roof, even in children, which is another sad statement about what we're doing. If we were doing the right thing, would our health be the way it is today? Obviously, something is wrong, but no one is addressing it."
Folks who eat large amounts of processed food gain weight but starve their bodies, Reid says. "So they are getting calories, but they are not getting nutrition. They are not getting the vitamins and nutrients they need to survive, and therefore their bodies are in a constant state of hunger."
Gaining good health involves simply getting the right information and then following through. "I tell my patients, 'This is not rocket science.' My job is to get people the right information, if they are willing to hear it," Reid says.
People who eat right, exercise, stand up straight and take a good quality multivitamin will feel better, Reid concludes. "You know, we Americans are nutritionally deficient. End of story. And it's showing up in the status of our health."