Should you take a multivitamin supplement?

Should you take a multivitamin supplement?

A recent personal history.

This week I went to the doctor to get all the results of my “comprehensive first consultation”. I went to the doctor with 2 questions.  But before I even saw the doctor on the first consultation, some assistants took me blood, did some sonograms of my arteries, had a look on my thyroid even if it wasn’t included in the “comprehensive” tests. My first impression was that it was prevention, or should I say screening, for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cholesterol… At first, I thought it might be a good idea in a place where 2/3 of the population is overweight, though being lean and “only” 36 years old, I don’t consider myself at risk yet.

Then I went back for the results. My arteries are fine, as is my heart, my blood sugar (though I told them that I forgot to fast on that morning) and all my cholesterol tests.
I discovered the blood tests results. And every number was normal according to the lab. But according to the nurse, I was low on some of them. And she suggested me to get some vitamins like this, some hormones like that. It would help my energy level. But I don’t have any fatigue. When she understood that I wasn’t ready to take any supplement, she tried to give me some nutritional advice: lower my animal fat intake (well, I’m nearly vegetarian, should I become vegan???), take some fish oil (isn’t it a kind of animal fat?) and maybe eat more animal food to improve my B12 vitamin level…

At the end of the consultation, I didn’t get any answer to my 2 questions, I got 3 new health problems, and no clear recommendation taking my lifestyle into consideration.

A supplement of every problem?

When reading some questions of fellow mamas on Facebook group, I feel that the answer to fatigue or overweight is often a supplement of any kind. Multivitamin supplement, herbs supplement, hormone supplement, juice/smoothie/shake supplement… And in some case I’m sure it can really be helpful, especially when you have a deficit in a certain kind of nutrient.

But my philosophy is that we can be balanced with what mother nature gives us. Need more vitamin D? Maybe I could get out in the sun a bit more. Fish oil? Why not eat some real fish, like sardines or mackerels? Multivitamin? Why not add more fruits and veggies to my diet?

Fish oil is very popular. And it can be useful. Why not try to eat more fish with all the other good nutrients of it? 

My impression is that our way of life went out of track with a lot of soda, fast food and processed food. That our life is maybe convenient, but sometimes completely imbalanced. And we get sick of it, without being held responsible. And our doctors’ answer is “take a pill!”. And let me say that sometimes a pill can be a lifesaver. But sometimes, it’s just a bandaid on a missing limp as long as we don’t make the lifestyle change.

Supplements can become expensive.

Multivitamins and supplements can be very expensive on the long run. As well as “comprehensive tests” for problems that I don’t complain of.
I sure will do my research about animal fat considering the new “problem” I was discovered and adapt my diet as well as my physical activity to this problem. I definitely prefer to eat good food during a nice mealtime with my family or my friends than to drink a shake or take any pill. I prefer to give my money to good food producer (local and/or organic producers) than to give my money to industrial vitamin pills makers.

Is nutritious food still available?

Some people think that you can eat as much vegetables as you want, you will never get enough nutrients of it. And it might be true if you eat all “industrial veggies”. The soil where they are grown are often nutrient depleted. It’s like eating malnourished vegetable.

A field of carrots. Industrial monocultures often produce “malnourished” crops.

But you can choose to buy some (nearly) organic vegetables and fruits. They are more nutritious for the same quantity. I use the word nearly, because you can know a local producer who is not UDSA organic certified but still uses respectful techniques to produce “well-nourished” crop.
Growing your own crop is also an option, even if it’s only a small part of what you it.

Local producer often grow respectfully or organically their crop. They propose also more varieties like these purple radishes. Definitely a source of nutritious food.

Find the person who will take time to help you take your time.

The person who gave me the results of my tests took very few time to listen to my way of life, and to my willing to make change or not.
Everything should be efficient in our world. Time and money efficient. But in some case like in lifestyle changes, time is a key component. When you have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, you know you should cut on sugar. But how do you do that? How do you manage your cravings? With what do you replace it? How do you do when your children or your husband is asking for something you don’t want to buy anymore?

Some lifestyle changes need a time investment to happen. Time to answer your questions, time to find and prepare nutritious food, time to change your habits. And it’s so much easier when you’re not alone on this journey.

But a multivitamin pill is so much faster to take?

Take your time. Maybe a multivitamin pill will help you, but it usually not the only sing you can do to feel better. Slow down on added sugar and fast food will never be replace by a pill. Reconsider your lifestyle as well: your food, your exercise, but also your “mind”-life. Take your time to improve everything, one thing at a time, and steadily over the time.

It may seem more expensive at the beginning, especially time-consuming, but on the long run that’s not sure. And more than price/time efficiency, you will have more control on your life. You will get pride of taking care of yourself deeply, not just with a bandaid. And this has no price.

Will you take the time? Will you be proud of yourself?