Don't forget to take your vitamins!
Don’t forget to take your vitamins!
The vitamin and supplement industry is expected to end the year as a $35.7 billion industry in the United States (IBISWorld), that’s a lot of vitamins! Yet, many people believe that if you have a well-balanced diet, there is no need to take additional vitamins. That may not be the case, so let's talk about whether or not you should be taking your vitamins.
There are two key types of products that the VMS (Vitamin, Mineral, and Supplement) market is made up of, condition-specific supplements and dietary supplements. Condition-specific supplements like Virtue’s Anxiety + Stress Relief formula are formulated to help support a specific condition. This includes treating afflictions like anxiety and stress, to getting ahead of your heart health, digestive health, and brain health with a vitamin boost. However, the majority of the vitamin and supplement market consists of dietary supplements. These support the core micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) you get in your daily diet to ensure you get enough to avoid a deficiency. With that being said, this article will overview the necessity of dietary supplements and what that means for you.
Does the average American need additional vitamins?
So the first question you’re probably asking yourself is whether you need to take additional vitamins or supplements. That glass of orange juice with breakfast should be enough vitamin C, right? Probably not, so it's important to understand what science says about what our bodies need. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (National Institutes of Health) is the governing body that determines the DRI (Daily Reference Intake) for each vitamin and mineral. The average amount of a nutrient that a healthy person should get each day varies by age and gender. For example, the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C is 80 mg a day for a pregnant teenager and 90 mg a day for men. However, this still doesn’t answer the question, do you need additional vitamins and supplements and doesn’t the food we eat have all of this in it? Historically these have been really hard questions to answer, however, the government decided to do something about it.
To back up the DRI guidelines, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), created the NHANES survey (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey). This survey looks at the nutritional intake of approximately 5,000 individuals every year by completing a health examination. This data is then used to assess the average intakes of certain nutrients. A recent evaluation of the 2007-2010 NHANES data by Oregon State University identified that there is inadequate intake of nearly all of these vitamins and minerals from food and fortified food (Oregon State). The most notable was Vitamin D which showed that 86.8% of the population isn’t getting enough. Based on this data, it suggests that much of the population could benefit from supplementing their diet with additional micronutrients.
Can you take too much?
A common question for those looking to supplement their diet with vitamins and minerals is, can I overdo it? The answer is yes, vitamins and minerals have been studied for their safety and for many, a Tolerable Upper Intake Limit has been defined (Food and Nutrition Board). While most upper limits are far above your daily recommended intake, Calcium is a particularly important one to call out as the upper limit is only about 1-1.5x higher than than your recommended input and the result of over supplementation can be kidney stones so don’t overdo it (WebMD)! For many other vitamins that are water soluble, excess amounts are often expelled in your urine but if you have concerns we would strongly recommend consulting a physician (Healthline).
What should I take?
As a general rule of thumb, we suggest taking a multivitamin that is formulated to make up for typical deficiencies. There are many affordable options on the market in different forms. Secondly, we would also recommend speaking with your doctor the next time you have your blood drawn. It is often straightforward for your doctor to include Calcium, Chloride, Vitamin D, Potassium, and other vitamins and minerals in your lab work. This is the most accurate way to understand if you may be vitamin or mineral deficient. Then you can focus your supplementation on the areas you need most.
We also recommend using supplements to support any condition-specific need you may have. Options like Virtue’s Anxiety + Stress Relief formula offer a great natural means of supporting the relief of anxiety and stress.