Everyone knows that vitamins and minerals are essential for life. All human beings, whether from Smith Mountain Lake, Australia, or Timbucktoo, require these vital nutrients to sustain all body functions. Those tiny molecules can only be obtained through our diets or supplements. The big question is, where is the best place to get the important vitamins that our bodies require, and what kinds of vitamins work to improve our health?
Most of us know we are not getting adequate nutrition from our food as it is grown today. Except for organic produce, most of it is grown with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and so forth and the refining processes destroy many of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that may have once been in the food. If we do not eat a diet of primarily organic fruits and vegetables, we will likely need to supplement to get the nutrients we need. But there are thousands of vitamin companies out there pushing their brand of pills. How do we choose the best vitamins and how do we know which ones will be absorbed and useful for improving our health?
There is an easy rule of thumb for understanding vitamins. There are 3 types of vitamins: the kind that comes from food, the synthetic ones that are made in a laboratory, and food isolates (a vitamin taken from food as a single nutrient). Common sense should tell us that food, particularly food in its natural state, is much better utilized by the human body than synthetic substances. Not only are the synthetic vitamins poorly absorbed, but some of them can have negative side effects. In some cases, as little as 30% of a synthetic vitamin can be digested and absorbed. Whole food vitamins, while not as high a dosage per pill, provide 100% absorption and are far more effective than isolates or synthetics because their ingredients were designed to work synergistically (together) to provide what our bodies need.
In general whole food or food-based vitamins are more expensive, but when you consider that you may absorb only 25-50% of synthetic vitamins, but you get 100% of food-sourced ones, at least you can know that you are getting your money’s worth. Because the concept of getting our vitamins from food is a logical and sound idea, more and more companies are joining the ranks of those who make whole-food vitamins. There are a number of them that appear to be high quality. You can visit your local health food store and ask about their whole food brands and probably find a wealth of information. You can also research and read about them online; learn more about the way they are made and how the process of creating food-based vitamins works. If you are interested in more details, you can read more about them here.
A few of the whole-food vitamin brands worth checking out are Megafood, Garden of Life, and Ancient Nutrition. Whatever vitamin you choose, remember to look at the source and find out if they are vitamins that are made from food rather than synthetic sources.