“Did you take your vitamin today?” Something I ask 365 days a year, 366 on leap year. I ask my big girls, I ask the baby, I ask my spouse, I even ask myself- although that is usually in the form of an alert on my phone. I took a couple nutrition classes in college and know that most people- even those in first world nations who can afford food do not get all of the recommended daily requirements of may essential vitamins and minerals.
Supplements are one of the fastest growing industries in the US right now, and they also have some of the largest markup in retail history.
Do I really need a vitamin? What do I need? What is the best vitamin? Why do they cost so much? Are the organic ones better? Is it true that a good test is to put one in a glass of water and leave it for a few hours? The questions go on and on and even after months of textbooks and internet searches it seems that there are almost no solid answers.
Yes most people need a vitamin, to pack in everything that you need on a daily basis a person would have to eat nearly 5000 calories- none of which could come from a drive-thru (and I dislike some drive-thrus, even the name is lazy). What a person needs will of course vary by the individual, taking a look at what you eat on a daily basis over the course of a week or better a month then googling the average nutritional information- hooray for people who use a calorie counter some of that will be done for you. There are also tests that you can order and submit via the internet to screen for personal deficiencies and created personalized daily regimes. Read: spendy, but if you have the disposable income or have been to a million doctors and still don’t feel better this may be something that can really benefit you. Here are a few sites that the keywords “personalized vitamin” and “vitamin deficiency test” pulled up.
As to the best vitamin- also person specific. Many people complain of stomach pain when they take a daily multi, I am one of those people. During my first pregnancy I had so much trouble with vitamins that my OB and I went through 13 different prescriptions and I was almost hospitalized after one due to dehydration. Finally we tried something over the counter made out of actual foods that were powdered and put into capsules. Hallelujah, something stayed down. I have used that brand ever since, http://www.gardenoflife.com/ and am very happy. Again the choice is yours. My girls are just learning to swallow pills so we are still in the gummy phase- and gummies are OK ie better than nothing but a grown adult without major palate issues should really skip those. I have a friend who swears by liquid vitamins, she doesn’t do well with pills and researched the absorb-ability pros and cons of gummies, gums, liquids, and powdered vitamins.
Vitamins are a product and one that is in demand, they also require multiple steps in the production and distribution all of which are factors in the cost, there are however many sites that offer coupons and discounts to help the price. I use drugstore.com, luckyvitamin.com, and vitaminshop.com as well as amazon and ebay to get the best deal. I also use ebates to get some cash back for next time.If there is a better system – PLEASE let me know.
As to if organic is better, well that is something that is a debate whether we talk vites or food. I like the ones I take, that just happen to be organic. I also feel like the cumulative property of toxin build up is a real thing. My house is still working on the cost effective balance of organic versus conventional foods.
Dropping vitamins in water is pitched by every direct sales supplement person I have ever met. Does it work? Maybe, the principle sounds plausible but what of the fat soluble vitamins those can’t be broken down by water. Here is a link to livestrong suggesting the use of vinegar and a little heat to better simulate the conditions of your stomach.