Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do you take Vitamins?

When I first started running track in college, I was extremely tired.  I would run in the mornings, similar to what I do now and then work all day.  When I would get home, I would eat dinner then collapse on the couch and be exhausted and ready for bed by 7:30pm.

As this went on for more than a week, I went to my doctors to have some blood drawn and tests done.  The results came back that I was in good health except for a vitamin B deficiency, probably due to my increase in mileage volume.  So I started taking a multivitamin every day and my exhaustion went away.

Fast forward 3 years and I am still taking a multivitamin along with a vitamin D supplement and vitamin C supplement and flax seed.  Do I really need to be taking all these vitamins?  If I stopped taking them would I really noticed a difference?

Yesterday my lovely husband, who is aware of my vitamin taking activities, sent me an article about a recent study done on women who take daily vitamins -> Research Finds, Vitamins may increase women's risk of dying.


Honestly I don't believe it.  I mean how can having too much vitamins cause you to die earlier? I am not a doctor, but I thought that if your body didn't need the extra vitamins, it just flushed them out of your body. 

I have been taking the multivitamin, vitamin D and C for a long time but just added the flax seed at the beginning of summer.  Within in a few weeks I noticed that my nails were stronger and my hair was a bit healthier.  Just proves that I personally do need some extra vitamins and I am not getting enough from my "healthy diet".

What do you think?  Do you believe this study?  Do you take vitamins daily?


misszippy said...

I think the efficacy of vitamins has been in question for some time, and now there is research showing some potential for harm. So--I'd probably err on the side of caution and aim for getting your nutrients through food. If blood tests ever reveal low levels of particular things, then yes, supplement to doc's orders. Otherwise, I do think it can be a slippery slope.

Marlene said...

Sounds bogus to me.... conspiracy theory.

I take a multi + Vit C + calcium/magnesium + fish oil + zinc if I am fighting a cold.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

i take pre-natals every day and i think only ifyou overdo the vitamins will it have anadverse affect onyou

Being Robinson said...

i do take a daily vitamin, although i didn't always. i haven't noticed that it's affected my running one way or the other. but IMO, it can't hurt. especially in the winter months.

Jess K said...

I take a daily vitamin plus supplements for Calcium and D deficiency. I think the "problem" with vitamins is people don't know what their body actually NEEDS so they just take what they THINK they need and THAT will do harm in the long run. Before taking ANYTHING, you should check with your doctor to see if you actually need it.

Zaneta @ Runner's Luck said...

i dont but i need to... i'm always exhausted like you said you were and have been throwing around the idea of starting to take a multivitamin... im tired of being tired all the time.

Anonymous said...

I've been throwing around the idea of a multi as well. Finding myself unsure though :\

Kim said...

I have been taking vitamins almost every day for a year now. I don't know if they do anything, but I am not worried about dying early from them :)

Christine said...

I do take vitamins and believe they help, or at least won't hurt :) I take a one-a-day multi-vitamin, a magnesium and fish oil pill. I'm feeling great!

Rebecca said...

Haha! This post is particularly funny to me since I am your running buddy AND a DIETITIAN!

I am all for food first. The problem with vitamins is that they are, for the most part, manufactured. By people, not nature. Some of them are digested differently than they are in food. We don't know what all the different compounds are in the foods we eat (anthocyanins and other pigment-related compounds were discovered relatively recently, as an example) and researchers believe that some of these unknown compounds interact with other compounds (probably some of them vitamins and minerals) in food, possibly making them act different in the body, or turning on/off digestion and absorption based on various factors. This is not replicable in man-made pills.

Its also hard to overdose on vitamins and minerals from food. You can easily overdose on calories, and possibly selenium if you eat tons of brazil nuts, but not much else. And as the article suggests, supplements contain ginormous amounts of man-made stuff that, over time, could be overloading our bodies with the vitamins and minerals that are supposed to help our bodies!

The body is an amazing machine, and although science has helped us understand lots of cool stuff about the body, I honestly think there is a lot left unknown. Taking vitamins could override or mess up some processes. Even if they did make you feel better when you originally started taking them, maybe its a good time to stop and see how you feel.... I'd say give it several weeks for your body to re-adjust to "normal." And then, if you're feeling super tired again, take a B Complex with a small amount of B6. :-)

That's my lecture for the day! (Hope you enjoyed the massage!!)

P.S. - Flax seed is okay because its an actual food. And probably the calcium, too, since studies have shown that to be useful, as the article stated.

Molly said...

I take vitamins when I remember to, a calcium with D, and a multi. I feel like I do a good job with my food, so I don't worry about it.

Erica Gorman said...

I take vitamins and will continue to do so.

Without them, I was like you. Tired. With them, stronger nails and more energy. I take a multi-vitamin daily, add flax seed every now and then for omega-3 since I don't eat fish, and take calcium religiously daily. I have already been diagnosed with osteopenia so I need the calcium boost.

I recently started taking a slow-mag at bedtime too (most nights....forget every now and then) due to a nagging muscle injury. It is making a huge difference and it is the only change I have made.

I think people just have to be careful not to overdo it with so many formulas, vitamins in drinks, etc. etc. etc.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

I occasionally take a women's multivitamin, but often just don't want to take it right along with BC. And I want to make sure I've eaten before so it's just hard to fit into my mornings. That being said, I have noticed that ever since I started using chia seeds and cinnamon more, I've had more energy. That combined with the fact that I really try to eat 4-6 servings of fruits of veggies a day. But no one is perfect and you can't always fit it in so a multivitamin is a nice way to supplement what we're missing out on.