May 18, 2014

Balancing the Debate: To Multivitamin or Not.


A baby born of the eternal Western Medicine vs. Eastern Medicine debate, I am impervious to their endless rally in mainstream media.

The most recent one targeting multivitamins, however, caught my attention.

Research findings sighted in media reports—that multivitamins essentially lack any benefits—came as no surprise to me. You see, a lifetime spent suspended somewhere in the middle of both worlds, I have come to rely a little on each and a lot on my own internal intuition for the endless exploration of optimum health.

Daughter of an Orthopedic Surgeon (as far ‘west’ one can go on the spectrum in medicine) I was destined to be caught in the middle of this epic face-off from birth.

Fate, some call it, karma others say. Daughter of a Western doctor, touched by the angels of fate with a rare autoimmune disease, who then spends some later years living in the Far East.

Taking control over my body and own medical care, and after a lot of healing over years, I found a middle ground between Western and Eastern medicine. A lightness arose in the midst of prior confusion and struggle.

As a Clinical Psychologist, I am no doctor myself. Those of us living, caring for our bodies, in touch enough to know how to maintain, heal and prevent illness, know as much sometimes, if not more, than doctors and “experts” about what works for our own bodies. Yogis are amongst some of the most in-tune, which is why I am able to strongly stand behind my healing experience and how drastically my life changed as a result.

The most important components of my healing path and process, aside from love and support, have been vitamins. I swear by them, and to this day I do not go without. Vitamins and supplements were an instrumental catalyst from the beginning.

They dramatically helped my transformation out of an otherwise imprisoned, unhealthy body, dependent on Western Medicine, into a healthy, active, thriving one.

Initially there was a specific focus on vitamins with anti-inflammation and calming properties. Combined with Eastern healing modalities; yoga, energy work, acupuncture, Pilates, breathing, over the course of two years I went from a very chronically sick young adult, to a shining, bright, vibrant young woman who was more in shape, more active, and more thriving than most her age.

At another moment of possible health “crisis” a few years into traveling, I searched high and low for answers when Western Medicine could not provide me with any. Advice, research, and more loving advice led me to the most basic, simple solutions: Vitamin E, Fish Oil, Vitamin B12 and Iron.

These were to boost my energy, boost the serotonin in my brain and elevate my mood, help my body get what it needs, what it may be lacking from a diet which is primarily vegetarian, at times vegan. Even normal, everyday diets are lacking basic nutrients, which are easily boosted by vitamins and supplements.

In my case, it took about  three to five weeks for the vitamins to reach sufficient level that I noticed drastic changes in my mental and emotional state.

More and more people find their body and health in less than optimum condition, regardless of baseline physical condition or diet.

It is a simple and sad fact of our planet that the majority of food is grown in nutrient depleted soil.  Add the likelihood that most of us are eating produce picked far from home, thus the nutritional quality of food thought to be gained by last night’s greens is far less than envisioned. Also, who isn’t stopping at 7-11 or a fast food restaurant or buying at least one or two packaged items or sodas a week?

How many of us are eating 100% whole foods, void of processing?

Along with medical studies that tell us unequivocally: the majority of people need supplemental vitamins and minerals to accompany their diets, studies also say that it cannot just be any ole’ multivitamin. Taking supplements randomly during the day, at whatever time we happen to remember, and mixing them all together is not effective.

Is there an answer to this vitamin debate, in this winding path to health? If so, what is it?

And if vitamins have been a game changer and lifesaver for myself and so many others, why is there information from the medical community stating that vitamins are ineffective, end of story?

The vitamin story demands as much care and attention as all of the important decisions regarding our body.  We must dig deeper to find answers, for the truth lies below the surface, in the details.

Nothing is ever as simple as a Yes or No, Black or White. It is not a matter of To Vitamin or Not. Of course as intelligent beings we can look deeper into this matter at the multifaceted sides to find out what can and work for us regarding optimum health.

So what is the deal with vitamins?

Well, scientists have found that not all multivitamins will work. Some vitamins and minerals block the absorption of each other. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K) need to be in the presence of fat in order to be absorbed properly. Then there are particular vitamins which will energize, while others will relax the body. So mixing them all into one pill is not a good idea. But how can we possibly know when to take what, how to combine properly, or if we are doing it correctly?

It’s a lot for any of us to take in, no pun intended.

We need to ingest our vitamins in the most efficient, effective, proper manner possible.

There is a new product I discovered recently which can possibly assist with that, and provide synergistic nutrients for each time of the day, called Balanced Trio. I think it’s worth a look and support.

The other recommendation is to boost your daily intake of whole, organic, unprocessed foods. One company providing home-delivery services is Sakara. Currently based out of NY, they cover parts of NE America If we are all smart enough, we will support such companies rather than those which promote disease treatment.

I am not one of those anti-medicine people by any means, but wholeheartedly a follow-your-intuition gal who believes that if we do as much as we can to tune back in to the planet, support our bodies and minds optimally, there will be a lot less need to worry about the pharmaceutical and medical industry.

Go to yoga, meditate, find time and space for yourself. And like mama said when you were younger, “Don’t forget to take your vitamins!”


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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Flickr

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