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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Do We Need Vitamin Supplements?

Do you take vitamins? How about protein powder? Do you add greens to a drink? What about other types of supplements?  I've done some research for you to help you decide which you should do!


The number one thing that people think of when we say the word "supplement" is VITAMIN.  In truth, not all vitamins are created equal.  There is SO much more that goes into it!  First of all, what are the health benefits of the vitamin? How much of that vitamin do you actually get in your diet? How much are you SUPPOSED to get? Can I get the appropriate amount just from the food I eat? How do I know which ones to take?

You can see that this gets overwhelming pretty fast. This is what I found.

Whole Foods Vs. Vitamin Supplements

It is better for a healthy person to obtain vitamins through whole foods instead of vitamin supplements. Technically, we have the foods available for us to do so!  Although, you must consider the following:

  • Where did my food come from? 
  • Was it able to absorb the right amount of nutrients?
  • How MUCH of the vitamin can be found in each food?
  • How much of the food would I have to eat to get the right amount of vitamins?
As you can see, getting ALL of your vitamin intake from JUST food, could be difficult.  That is why most people choose to supplement.  

Following my food pyramid will give you a good shot at obtaining all the vitamins that you need in various amounts. Especially if you have variation in your diet.
Eating a variety ensures you obtain different nutrients that could be in one type of vegetable, for instance, and not in another. Foods also provide more nutrition than just the vitamins, including fat, protein and carbohydrates your body needs for fuel, fiber and antioxidants. If you take a vitamin in place of whole food, you will miss all of these nutrients.


Obviously, there are certain cases where vitamin supplementation is recommended. If you are pregnant, nursing, vegan, or have a chronic illness, your MD might recommend supplementing with vitamins, and in what doses. Do not take vitamin supplements without the advice of a doctor. Many multivitamin supplements do not have doses where it is a problem to take them, but large doses of vitamins are especially dangerous. I found on that,  according to Thomas E. Edes, in his book "Clinical Methods." An excess of vitamins can lead to toxicity, especially in the case of fat-soluble vitamins, although an excess of water-soluble vitamins can cause problems as well. The symptoms of toxicity vary depending on the vitamin.


If you find yourself needing to supplement with vitamins, don't skimp on the cost.  A good quality vitamin will ensure that it dissolves completely instead of sitting in your colon.  Low quality vitamins are often made with questionable ingredients that are often used to make cement, motor oil, and lubricants.  Plus, if it was pressed too hard during manufacturing, it makes it hard for the pill to dissolve. 

Look for ALL NATURAL vitamins that have been COLD PRESSED. If they are made from actual FOOD, the vitamin will pass through the liver to be absorbed into the body instead of the kidneys.  This will help with the digestion of the vitamin. Liquid vitamins are also an option.  

Personally, I don't take a vitamin supplement in pill form. They make me nauseous, no matter when I take them. So... there you go. I DO supplement with liquid Vitamin D though. 


I ALSO add a Greens Powder into my green smoothie every day. This can be a great way to get in vitamins and minerals through raw, foods. 

I am a fan of Juvo Greens. So much so that I might do a whole post on them. But for now, let's just say that this has a bunch of everything in it.  It's an organic powder that also has some protein (from the legumes) and Asian Mushrooms (known to increase your mental awareness and immune system.) I was hard pressed to find a greens drink that had the Mushrooms in it.  I feel energized after adding a scoop/day to my smoothie, and it's taste doesn't suck. They have different powders that focus on different things like Protein, Immune Boost, Weight Loss, etc.  All have the same ingredients for the most part, just different ratios. 
The purpose of adding a powder to a drink on a daily basis can range from just wanting extra energy to wanting extra protein to help building muscle.  Some people use them as meal replacements. I suppose that is what I do with my green smoothie, but I only have that for breakfast and I don't JUST drink the powder formula. 

Word on the street is that you want to get powders that, once again are ALL NATURAL, with NO SOY.  Whey protein is at the top of the list for most people.  I'm sure that there is a reason for this and I'm sure that it has to do with the dangers of soy.  I just don't care enough because I don't put soy or into my diet.  I don't like it....unless it's fermented, like soy sauce. Strange? Maybe. 

I currently don't use any protein powders.  I am trying really hard to get my protein from my food. I am also not trying to "bulk up" which is a common use for protein powders. Finally, according to my sweat, I have a bit too much protein in my diet anyway! 

If you choose to supplement with a powder, whether it's greens or protein, quality again counts, so do some research on brands before you buy!


The Good

Ok, last on the list of supplements is a new category called NUTRACEUTICALS (like pharmaceuticals, but natural.) Not even sure what that means.  BUT, the term was coined because there are multiple products coming out on the scene that are ALL NATURAL, PLANT BASED, with studies to back up some HEAVY medical claims! Currently, the most prominent (at least in my life)  is a product called PROTANDIM.

This little yellow pill started showing it's face in health food stores around 2003 or so where it didn't sell very well.  After some re-evaluation, the company took the product to Multi-Level Marketing. (Which is honestly why you probably haven't tried this yet, but you might have heard of it.)

In 2005, ABC Primetime did a little stint about Protandim. If you have 10 min, watch the info video.

The COOL thing about Protandim is that SINCE the ABC Primetime aired on television, multiple studies have been done on the product.  At the time of this post, there are currently 15 studies that are found on The National Library of Medicine website.  Things from heart disease to skin cancer are covered in the studies. Only 2 of the studies were sponsored by the company.  The one that I want to focus on is what I call the GLUTATHIONE study.  Dr. Oz explains the importance of Glutathione in this video.

Cool Huh.  SOOO... the idea that we have enzymes in our bodies that are like SUPER anti-oxidants is very appealing. It could really mean that we don't have to worry about eating anti-oxidant rich foods.  See, if we have enough of our own enzymes in our bodies, they kill off those little free radicals by 1 MILLION to ONE!!!  (Mwuah ha ha!!) That is WAY better than the 1:1 that food anti-oxidants do. It's like.....putting out a fire with a LAKE other than a bottle of water. 

So, how do we increase these enzymes like Glutathione?  Well, THAT is where Protandim is.  There are products, both natural and synthetic, that are called NRF2 Activators. These products can basically make it so that our THREE main anti-oxidant enzymes (Glutathione, Catalase, and SOD) are super charged.  AND, Protandim happens to be THE ONLY all natural NRF2 activator on the market. And, it might be for awhile since it is protected by patents and such. That makes it a pretty cool little pill!

I FLIPPED OUT over this when I first found out about it. I mean, Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals are linked to over 200 diseases!!!  That's why we are so into anti-oxidants in the first place!  So, you can imagine the impact that this could have on our health.  

The Ugly

Now that I have covered the PRO's of PROTANDIM, let me cover the CONS.
As I mentioned earlier, this can only be purchased from a distributor (don't buy the crap off of Amazon. You might not be getting the real deal.) Which means, that depending on WHO you get it from, there is the possibility of getting that "pressure" to become a distributor yourself. I actually signed up to be a distributor over a year ago when things were a little different. Now, it's just not my cup of tea. So, although I am STILL a distributor, I DON'T do meetings, and I ONLY sign people up as distributors if THEY come to ME asking about it. I DO still tell people about Protandim though because I really think that there is something to it!

There you have it! AWESOME product with ACTUAL, PUBLIC studies to boot!  I know a lot of chiropractors and even MD's that put their support behind it as well.  I DO still take this every day as reducing my Oxidative Stress has helped me in a lot of ways. And it will help you too, if you can get past the MLM issue. But hey, Donny Osmond is their celebrity spokes person!!!  So it MUST be good, right? ;)
So, if your friend, co-worker, or family member has been trying to get you to try it... give it a shot!  IMO, it's worth the $40 price tag.  You are also welcome to go to MY LIFEVANTAGE SITE and order there.  
NOTE: Go ahead and sign up as a "Preferred Customer." It saves you $10 and it just puts you on auto-ship that you can cancel at any time...WITH NO QUESTIONS ASKED. 

THR's view on Supplements?

Do we NEED any of the above?  Well...that depends. Each of these supplements has a purpose. You really need to talk with your doctor and ask yourself  I take GREENS with a bit of protein for energy and vitamins.  I also take Protandim daily as my super boost. I get 15 min of sun each day for my Vitamin D and I'm good to go!  No need for handfuls of pills for me! 

I'm on my way to becoming The Healthy Redhead!


  1. This one is near and dear to my heart, since I am a crazy supplementer. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be sneaky/unusual and I think more people have them than realize it. Vitamin D deficiencies are pretty standard. Unfortunately, I also think that very few traditional doctors are very well versed in nutrition and the benefits of supplements. Prenatal vitamins, for example, are surprisingly crappy. So I strongly support supplementing. If you can't find a pill that you like, there are lots of liquid multis. Some are yummy, some are a little, um, stronger, but it does take a lot of research to find what works for your individual self!

    1. Thanks Katie! It's true! I actually take a liquid vitamin D that I put in my smoothie each morning. I can't believe that I forgot to mention that. I'll have to add it.



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