I am in grad school and have recently gone on a health kick (due to hormonal breakouts) and bought a bunch of vitamins (2 weeks ago). However, due to my lack of income, I can only really afford to buy cheap brands, or the GNC kind. I don't know if this makes a difference. I eat somewhat healthy and usually exercise (although I haven't been lately due to a change of schedule, but I live in NYC and walk everywhere).
Now, my dad is a doctor and I was talking to him about which supplements are good and he basically said its all crap and that the million-dollar industry sells vitamins filled with lots of stuff that ISN'T what you're trying to get out of the pill. (However, he does take fish oil...hmmm). He tells me to eat right, exercise, take fiber and that should do it. Which I know is good, too. But I know doctors tend to be skeptics about supplements.
I'm sort of skeptical about his adamant belief, and continue to take my vitamins anyway. However, in reading this forum, I have noticed a lot of people questioning the efficacy of vitamins, and whether they dissolve or really do anything at all. On the flip side, I have also read testimonials of people (with acne, liver problems, etc etc) who swear by vitamins and say that they have improved dramatically since taking them.
What does everyone think? Are my vitamins not going to do anything since they're not the $$$ brands? Does it matter at all? I'm torn between being skeptical and being optimistic about them, and would like to hear other's opinions before I keep shelling out money from my small paychecks each month.
A rather difficult post to answer...... But I will try.
First of all, as for your question about the "quality" of supplements and vitamins.....
The GNC and Vitamin Shoppe Type Products are very good.... They do not lack in substance or quality... You can find no better. Actually, GNC is a bit Expensive !!!
You are lucky to have a Dad who is a Doctor.... Now - a bit of confusion.... >>> Supplements and Vitamins are not really the same thing...... Although every Vitamin "supplements" your diet, not all "Supplements" are Vitamins.....
Eating Healthy and Exercising is, of course, important...
In all due respect, "Supplements are not all Crap"....
I am glad you are skeptical about your Father's "Adamant" belief....
So you ask -"What does everyone think?"
I can only speak for myself....
The Vitamins and Supplements you have been purchasing are not "second rate"....
I swear by my experiences with Vitamins and Supplements (maybe supplements being more important) - I went from a condition with high liver enzymes, high cholesterol, and high tri-glycerides to a rather impressive improvement..... As in Total Cholesterol 150 (they were 225) and triglycerides at 69 (they were 280). And the Liver Enzymes are all WAY lower than max levels.... several of them were elevated prior to taking the supplements.... Now they are low
In addition, at the same time, my skin has gotten healthier, I sleep better, and am less nervous....
In addition I lost 10 pounds or so at the same time.
So, YES, I believe in Herbs and Vitamins...... They may be costly but they are worth every penney... Remember - we only live once....
There is a thread on this site about the best 10 supplements...... you might want to take a look at it... there were many contributions....
Last edited by moderator2; 08-25-2005 at 05:56 PM.
Reason: please delete long quotes from your replies
Yes, I have been reading this website, a few different boards actually, but just recently I took a "natural" approach to health, through more vitamins and all-natural products, because I was starting to spend too much money on commercial, chemical products that did nothing.
I did read the "top ten supplements" and actually started taking a few of them. To be specific, I currently take: fish oil, flaxseed oil, calcium, multi-vitamin, zinc and garlic, and will be adding a few more (alpha lipoic, vitamin C and milk thistle). Hopefully I will see some sort of difference, but if not, I hope to at least feel better mentally. I'm 23, but I want to make this a lifestyle early. I was just curious if I was wasting my time and money. Thanks for your reply!
I have had good experiences with taking a couple suppliments. Esther C keeps me from getting colds. It's the low acidic form of Vitamin C. When I first started taking it I had a cold and it seemed to go away very quickly compared to normal. Someone I worked with would get sick for many weeks with a horrible cold and cough and it would just linger. She started taking Esther C and her cold went away in a few days when normally she would still have been sick for almost another month. So it sure seems to work. I also have used fish oil for eye irritation. It makes my contact lenses comfortable. I take a capsule and it's like my eyes get moisture from the inside and I can wear my contacts without irritation. I have also been taking it for nerve pain and it seems to help sooth the nerves or something not sure with that one but it seems to work as well as taking an aspirin. I also take B-complex but do not have any direct results that I could say it has helped me with but it's supposed to be good. You just want to make sure when you take B-vitamins to take all of them and not just one of them because taking a high dose of one of them destroys the other B-vitamins in your body. So take all of them together. If I take something on a daily basis I only take water soluable vitamins because the fat soluable can build up in your system and cause problems. Anyway I am rambling. It is really better to eat lots of veggies and fruits and get all of your food groups then to take vitamin and mineral suppliments. But if you know you are not eating healthy then it's good to take them. Just make sure to research what you are taking and make sure the dosage is safe.
The all natural vitamins will absorb faster and you will get all the vitamin as opposed to the syntheic vitamins because they have a coating on them which it takes longer for the body to break them down and absorb. They say that Centrum is the worst. I would find an ALL NATURAL to get the full benefits and yes they DO make a difference!!!
Where do you get these all-natural vitamins? In a health food place? Whats the difference between those and the ones that you can buy at Vitamin Shoppe or something like that?
Also, I would think that if you buy gelcaps, it wouldnt make a difference.
There was a study on Centrum vitamins and I don't remember much about it but they put a centrum in water and a natural vitamin in water and showed how much faster the all natural vitamin dissolved. The Centrum took much longer because there is a coating on it that is hard to dissolve in the body and I can't remember much about it like I said because this was about 5-6 years ago. I used to take Centrum for a long time and when I switch to an all natural, I could feel the difference. I didn't catch colds nearly as often etc...Centrum is a synthetic vitamin and if you pay a little bit more to get an all natural vitamin, at least you know that you are getting all of the vitamin. Hope that helped you.
Speaking of Twinlab, I just bought their Food Based Daily. I had been reading how synthetic vitamins are extracts so they don't contain all the essential components of a natural occuring vitamin. Even "natural" vitamins can be lacking the whole vitamin complex, that's why food-derived supplements are supposed to be better, whereas chemical isolate vitamins are simply treated like drugs as far as the body is concerned and washed out.
At least that's the claim of many advocates of whole food supplementation. I don't know, maybe it's true. Alot of people seem to be taking vitamins but still have illness. Anyway, I also look for other food sources for vitamins like fish oil, wheat germ oil, and lately I've read how Bee pollen contains alot of minerals and protein so I might give that a go too.
The only results I've noticed with vitamins are the ones like vitamin E and grapeseed extract which both make my skin smoother. Zinc made me break out in pustules. The rest of the vitamins I take or used to take don't show many results. I'm not even sure they're working. But I know that my Vitamin A and E I could not do without. But just because nothing is showing doesn't mean it's not working.
I think that vitamins are of good quality no matter the brand or price. I just happen to trust certain kinds anf just stick to those. But if you are asking if vitamins really work (as your title states) than my answer would be yes. I tend toget weak and chipping nails when I don't take my daily vitamin.
Vitamins are definitely not all the same. There are natural and synthetic, different sources, etc. And, most importantly, like just about everything else that is manufactured these days, vitamin companies get their vitamins made from contract manufacturers, and they often switch manufacturers or use multiple manufacturers. I have heard of a company that switched manufacturers to get a cheaper price for an ingredient, and the manufacturer substituted a different ingredient without the vitamin company's knowledge or consent.
This is why I prefer premium supplements to cheaper ones, although price by itself is not a guarantee of quality. But I do believe that a company that is squeezing its margins will change manufacturers often to get incrementally better prices, and a company is only as reputable as its manufacturer. Better manufacturers cost the vitamin company more money, and therefore the vitamins can't be sold at rock-bottom prices.