Vitamins: Yes or No? And Why?

I experienced some pretty harsh winters living in New York, but (most of the time) I embraced it.  I rode my bike outside on days in which the temp never got above 20 degrees (which might explain why I was so sick during the winter.)  And before my weight-loss journey began, I walked around Manhattan without buttoning my coat.  But even on the coldest days, I didn’t have dry skin.  My skin was soft and smooth, and I believe it’s because I took Flaxseed Oil vitamins regularly.

At some point, after leaving New York, I stopped taking them, and earlier this month I noticed that for the first time in memory, my skin was a little dry!  Yikes!  Even as an overweight girl who doesn’t like much about the way I look, I’ve always taken pride in my outward appearance. I dress well and keep myself well-manicured, and my skin is soft!  So the dryness that appeared on my legs was unacceptable!

The quick remember was lotion, of course, but I wanted smooth skin again without it so almost immediately, I started taking flaxseed oil vitamins. And I’m happy to say that my skin is beginning to feel smooth and healthy just as it did before.  Whew!

Taking three flaxseed oil vitamins a day has already had a positive affect on my body which makes me wonder what else I could be missing.

In the past, I’ve taken Centrum or One-A-Day multis, but I’m not taking them now.  I assumed I was getting all of the vitamins I needed naturally, but am I?  Should I be taking a multi-vitamin?  Is the answer obvious to everyone but me?  And if so, what kind should I take?  

I know that the flaxseed oil vitamin helps my body in a major way so I can only imagine that other vitamins might have a positive affect too, but I’m not sure where to begin.

Is it worth it to buy vitamins and remind myself to take them at least once or twice a day?  Or is taking vitamins a big scam? Is it better to consume flaxseed oil in a smoothie or salad or oatmeal?   Am I getting enough vitamins by eating 9 or more servings of vegetable and fruit, a couple servings of lean meats and at least a cup of dairy?

I don’t know the answers to my questions so if you’re reading this, I’d like to hear from you.  Do you take vitamins?  If so, will you share the benefits from your perspective?

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Mely
    January 17, 2012 at 3:03 am

    In my opinion unless your DR had told you that your having a deficiency on any type of vitamins. I would just consumm the food that would provide those vitamins instead. As my DR says, if you don’t have any deficiency, which with a blood test you can find, taking a daily multi-vitamin is just paying for an expensive and smelly orinne . The body doesn’t absorb very well vitamins with pills.

  • Reply
    Jolene
    January 17, 2012 at 3:28 am

    The only vitamins I take regularly are Vitamin B, C and D. If you don’t want to be sick I highly recommend taking C and D. I’ve taken C off and on my whole life. Two years ago I started taking it more regularly and I started taking D as well, not just me but my hubby and kids too. In those 2 years we’ve each had one cold, not even really bad ones. If I start feeling a hint of anything I double up on C and D and it never turns into anything. Never in my life have I been sick as rarely as since we started taking the vitamins. As with anyone, I hate being sick, taking these vitamins has made such a huge difference that I’ll never be without them again.

    Vitamin B (I’m currently taking B12) I take because it’s supposed to help with depression and fatigue and I refuse to go on prescription meds, so the last time I went to a Dr they recommended it be one I include(I usually do B Complex). I’m currently doing B12 because I get pains down my sides like someone is stabbing me with hundreds of needles all at once, apparently it’s likely a nervous system issue from a deficiency in B12…it seems to help as long as I remember to take it at least most days.

    I am bad at remembering to take vitamins which is why I stick with the basic ones. Every once in a while I take others but then eventually start forgetting. I’ve been lactose intolerant my whole life and have had IBS for about 20 years, so I don’t get a lot of vitamins in my diet since most of the foods that would give me the most benefit are my biggest trigger foods that cause me a lot of pain.

    It sounds like you get plenty of vitamins in your diet, so I would just take specifically targeted stuff. It sounds like the flaxseed is beneficial to you(and sounds like I should try it, it’s very dry here and my skin is horribly dry no matter what I do), I would keep taking it as long as you notice the benefits of it.

    • Reply
      Deb
      January 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Like you, I also am taking B-12 for depression along with my Rx medications. I’m not sure how much its helped with the depression directly- but I do notice an increase in energy, which means I stay busier, which in turn boosts my mood. Win-win.

      I also take C when I start to feel the slightly bit under the weather and I’ve managed to avoid being sick at all since I start taking it.

      Kenlie, interesting about the Flax. I have very dry skin that even the best lotions can’t seem to help. I may look into that one.

  • Reply
    Mel
    January 17, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Hi Kenlie,

    It’s great that you have found taking flaxseed oil… (P.S. It’s not a vitamin persay, it’s an essential fatty acid.)

    I would recommend seeing a Nutritionist or Naturopath if you are considering taking any form of supplementation. There are many vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids etc that can help with weight loss, appetite control and ensuring that your body can utilize all the food & nutrients you eat.

    I’m bias due to being a Naturopath myself, but I really do recommend seeing a professional, since they can tailor make a plan for you.

    In regards to your question about getting all the nutrients you need in the food you eat, just eating the food doesn’t necessarily mean that your body is absorbing all of them, and due to times of stress in the body, you can need more of particular nutrients during different times in your life. Considering how much you exercise, it is important to replace the minerals you use & lose when exercising and to help your recovery.

    Diet is the number one most important part of ensuring our nutritional needs are meet, but sometimes we all just need a little help.

    I hope that helps! 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen
    January 17, 2012 at 6:55 am

    I’m one of those folks that believe you should be able to get all the vitamins your body needs from the foods you eat. Having said that, I do confess that I take a daily multi-vitamin (just in case) ’cause I’m pretty sure I don’t eat as well as I should.

    Your experience with the flax seed oil pills has me intrigued. Here in Alberta, our winters are notoriously harsh and dry and my skin cracks and itches like mad each year. You quickly get used to taking off your black pants and discovering the insides are almost white from all the dry skin that’s flaked off over the course of a day. I’m going to give the flax seed a try and see whazzup.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Vitamins: Yes or No? And Why? | CookingPlanet
    January 17, 2012 at 7:08 am

    […] Vitamins: Yes or No? And Why? […]

  • Reply
    Tammy
    January 17, 2012 at 7:13 am

    My mom started us taking multivitamins when we were kids, and I kept it up into adulthood. It was something my doctor also recommended. A few months ago, a study was published that stated that vitamins could be doing harm in older women. Even though, I’m not as old as the women in the study, I decided to stop taking my vitamins. Then I read studies that contradicted the first one, so at the beginning of the year, I started back on a multivitamin for women. Since, I also try to give blood regularly, I take one with iron.

    • Reply
      Tammy
      January 17, 2012 at 9:09 am

      I should have also said that I take a glucosamine/chondrotin supplement. It seems to help with stiffness in my joints.

  • Reply
    Brooke
    January 17, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Well, I started taking a vitamin supplement (I’m not going to say the name b/c I don’t want to “advertise”) and I have seen great things from it. Its basically every vitamin there is (minus Vita D) in high enough doses and in a form that gets absorbed by your body. I read that most pill forms at the store get expelled out of your body before they get absorbed and that most people take too much or too little b/c they don’t know dosing for their bodies.

    I hated vitamins before, could never remember to take the dang things. But now I do it every morning before I eat. I don’t get the afternoon “sleepies” and I have more energy for workouts, I’ve noticed less problems with my lower back and the best part…….I have better control over cravings b/c I have fewer .

    I know he is a tv Dr. but Dr. Oz def. advocates vitamins and I think if you go to his website he tells you what you need to take and how much, how many a day…etc. I mean, but you can always go to your own Dr.

    Good luck.

    • Reply
      Nan
      January 17, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Yes, I was going to suggest the Dr Oz list too- he is a renown Harvard grad cardiologist who still practices. I take 1000 mg of fish oil for heart health daily and a multi and I am very healthy- knock on wood…I get a cold maybe every 2 years and I haven’t vomited since I was pregnant with child number 3 in 1986. I tried glucosamine chondritin for joint pain but found no relief and now I have virtually no knee pain (I attribute that to the fish oil).

  • Reply
    Carbaholic Mama
    January 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I don’t have any advice as far as what kind of vitamin to take, but I do know that while I was pregnant and taking a prenatal vitamin, I was sick only once in 10 months. I would like to believe I’m getting more nutrients and vitamins from my now-better food choices, but I’m probably not.

  • Reply
    KCLAnderson (Karen)
    January 17, 2012 at 8:55 am

    One of the best things I ever did was get tested to see if I was deficient in any particular vitamin or nutrient. Turns out, I was, so I take only what I need.

    Vitamin D (so many people are deficient…and the current guidelines are not enough. I take 10,000 IUs a day)
    Fish oil
    Vitamin B12
    Iodine
    Iron
    Magnesium

  • Reply
    Erin
    January 17, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Vitamins are a requirement for me since I don’t absorb them from the food I eat. I second having some blood tests done to see if you’re deficient in anything. I take 2 multivitamins a day, iron, 1,000mg of calcium, and Vitamin D and B12 a few times a month.

    If I were you, I’d call my doctor and get his suggestion. Best to head off any deficiencies early. 😉

  • Reply
    Claire
    January 17, 2012 at 10:30 am

    In 2001 I had a heart health scare. The only explanation was a viral upper respiratory system infection I had had. Since then I’ve been taking a chewable(absorbs much better) multi-vitamin daily. I haven’t had a cold or upper respiratory infection since. I usually had a cold once a year.

    Since that time I’ve added a few other supplements: Omega-3(heart health and very good for cholestrol), B-12 and Iron, just because I’ve always run on the low side in my bloodwork results.

    For me, a good multi-vitamin just covers what you might be missing, no matter how well you’re eating.

  • Reply
    Jess
    January 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I take a daily multi (gummy kind – my daughter and I take the same ones), vit D (as I have a deficiency), calcium (osteoporosis runs in my family), and fish oil each day (to help with heart and skin health). I take them all at bed time and they certainly seem to help. My doc recommends that I take them and we adjust the dosages as needed.

  • Reply
    Carrie@shrinkingcarrie
    January 17, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I take a One-a-day vitamin because I have been told by Dr’s and healthcare professionals that you can eat as perfect as ever and you will still be missing some vital vitamins and nutrients. You don’t have to buy an expensive multi because most vitamins are exactly the same, just different brand or different packaging. I also take a few supplements that help my thyroid function because I was diagnosed with a hypothyroid. They also aid in a healthy metabolism. They are: Lecithin, L-Carnitine, & CLA. I have seen some great differences when I take these!

  • Reply
    suzanne
    January 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I’m in Canada and we do get some pretty harsh dry skin causing weather here!
    My Dr has always recommended a women’s vitamin for me. I have also been advised to take Omega 3 oil twice a day for my heart health (I’m a lot older than you 🙂 I find it does double duty in that it does make my skin a lot less dry and itchy.
    I take other vitamins because of some medications I take but I always go by the advice of my Dr.

  • Reply
    auntiekim
    January 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Kismet is what this is. I’ve been so swamped at work and haven’t read any blogs for *two entire weeks* now, but I had a moment while I was waiting for someone and popped by to check up on you. And this is so weird because I was thinking about this very same thing while I drove to work this morning. My entire life I was pretty anti-vitamin and thought the whole thing was a big old sham. Since I had RNY a year ago, I’ve been religiously taking about a billion supplements (required after surgery) since then and you know what? I haven’t been sick once this year! I have some health issues and I’m usually sick (eventually leading to pneumonia) 2-3 times a year. Now, I’m NOT saying this is related to the vitamins, but I do think it’s pretty interesting. It could also be related to the fact that I’ve lost 100 pounds this past year and have started exercising. My entire lifestyle is just healthier. It could be a lot of things. But I do wonder if the vitamins have anything to do with it.

  • Reply
    Princess Dieter
    January 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I think a good, comprehensive multivitamin is an aid. Why? We don’t all have perfect diets, especially those of us in the “losing, calorie conscious” mindset, where we have to eat LESS food, hence, less nutrition.

    Yes, we try to maximize nutrition. If we don’t eat treats or junk, there’s room for quality protein and lots of veggies and fruits. BUT…there can still be lack due to food allergies (those foods you have to avoid) or preferences or low caloric intake.

    Track your intake for 2 weeks at SparkPeople.com with a lot of nutritional parameters. What I discovered when I did food tracking comprehensively first in 2010 was that I WAS ALMOST DAILY not reaching the RDA of certain nutrients: zinc, magnesium, potassium, folate, some days calcium, iron, etc. The SparkPeople feedback was really good to show that, although I ate 11 fruits and veggies a day, had great protein (egg, egg whites, chicken, beef, sometimes tofu), eating lower calorie and having certain food restrictions due to allergies or aversion (I won’t eat organ meats, like liver, and I can’t eat seafood of any sort) made me prone to miss out.

    This made me rejigger my diet some, but in the end, I had to add a multivitamin with zinc, selenium, folic acid, and go back to using my magnesium supplements. I was afraid to use iron, but I tried to add more iron-rich foods.

    When I added zinc back in, my energy improved and my hair started thickening up a bit (I was losing loads post menopause and post thyroid issues). Clearly, I was deficient.

    Last year, I gave up most grains, so I can eat MORE veggies and fruit and protein, but I still take my TwinLab One Daily and Flax and some other anti-inflammatory supplements. 🙂

    But it behooves us to see where our nutritional gaps may be. I suspect we ALL have them….no diet is absolutely spot on perfect just eating food, especially low-cal.

  • Reply
    Princess Dieter
    January 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Oh, and I forgot to add. I used to get colds/bronchitis/sinusitis about 6 or 7 times a year. Since I started eating with care and taking supplements comprehensively….let’s see…nope. No bronchitis. No sinusitis. And no cold or flu since december of 2009.

    Um…yeah, that’s pretty rad.

    Knock wood. Hope I didn’t go and jinx my streak.

  • Reply
    aggie
    January 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I read that if you’re a woman of child-bearing age who intends to have children, you should take a multivitamin with folic acid in it. Apparently folic acid is important to stockpile now for development of a baby’s spinal cord! I figure it can’t hurt and I hardly ever get sick, so I must be doing something right. I wish I had the citations for the articles I read, but it might have been in Reader’s Digest or Cosmo.

    • Reply
      desertnails8
      January 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      Very good point. My friend went to her doctor to tell him she planned to get pregnant in the next couple of years (2-3) and he put her on prenatal vitamins immediately because he said it can take 1-2 years to get the folic acid (& other vitamins) to the right levels needed.

  • Reply
    Lootz (Anne)
    January 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Vitamins in general are hard on my tummy so I asked my Doctor who told me to take a Flinstone chewable with extra calcium (YUP that’s right) and vitamin D and folic acid. So I take the chewable and right before I eat I take the D & the FA. No tummy issues and I think I have more energy.

  • Reply
    desertnails8
    January 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I’m taking the Alive multi with iron and I love it. It has 3 tablets per day so I can have one with each meal and not have that sick vitamin feeling from one big pill. My nutrition teacher told us about that and to take cold-pressed flax oil with lignans each day. I buy the oil in a refrigerated bottle. We need EFAs in food for our skin’s health and other things as our body can’t make them. When I’m having trouble with my skin I reduce other oils (such as for cooking but not the EFAs) and steam my food in parchment paper and then add in fresh avocado to whatever I’m eating and my skin gets better. Also I put unrefined coconut oil on my skin. As I improve what I eat I see and feel the changes in my body it makes sense that food is also my medicine. Let us know what you end up deciding to do.

  • Reply
    Nina Patricia
    January 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I don’t take vitamins and never had. I’m like a 2 yr old when it comes to taking pills. I HATE THEM. My Dr. said to at least try a gummy one but I refuse. The Dr.’s in my family said the same thing: it is not necessary unless you have a deficiency.
    BTW, I have NEVER taken prenatal’s either, even the though of them makes me sick. I just adjusted my intake of healthy foods accordingly.

  • Reply
    Kevin
    January 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Flaxseed oil is one of my favorite healthy oils. I like to mix it with my protein shakes for an extra dose of omega 3 fatty acids. I usually prefer fish oils as I think they provide more EPA and DHA per dose, however, flaxseed oil is a great source of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids. The best flaxseed oil should come from cold-pressed flaxseeds as heat exposure may create fatty acid oxidation.

  • Reply
    Mama Zee
    January 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I’m still nursing a baby, so I’m taking prenatals now. But when I’m not, I take a one-a-day, along with an omega-3, and a vitamin D. The vitamin D has got to be the most important, and necessary vitamin that I take. My vitamin D levels were the lowest my doc had ever seen. The moment I began taking them, my hunger levels dropped, my moodiness greatly reduced, and I actually felt up to exercising. I think vitamin D is huge. If you don’t take anything else, I would take that.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    January 17, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I do a multi-vitamin and have for years. It took many trials and errors to find one that didn’t nauseate me and give a burning sensation in my stomach every morning about the time I was driving to work. I tried the gummy variety, and I don’t have any nausea or burning, so that’s what I take. I’ve never been good at picking and choosing the individual ones I “should” take, so I go multi and assume the bases are covered.

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