Daily vitamins

For our inaugural post we’re going to talk supplements.  Vitamins to be specific. I do take a daily vitamin supplement everyday.  My diet is erratic at best.  Some days I get my full 5 of fruits and veggies and I don’t take it.  Other days I’m eating nothing more than a carbohydrate fueled rush from dawn til dusk with a coffee jolt in between.  Life is crazy. I work 50+ hours a week in the horticulture industry, specifically in turfgrass.  I do have a PhD and am asked to consult on issues affecting stakeholders and producers on a regular basis plus my conference and research commitment. When grass grows and I need to address an issue someone is having I don’t have the option to say, hold on I need to eat my prepared lunch I brought today and then I’ll be on the road.  Reality says It’s 10am right now and it takes me around 2 hrs to commute there and back and I’ll be there for two hours at a minimum…… take-out it is.  That’s when I take a daily vitamin supplement.

The best way to receive your nutrients is in food format.  If you eat the rainbow in food (orange, red, purple, yellow, etc.) everyday you will get your daily required nutrients. Raise of hands.  Who does this? Probably very few.  If you have a garden in your backyard growing all these colorful plants AND you’re able to do this everyday, you’re #winning at food consumption of your vitamins. You’re BMI is probably fairly low and you probably poop 5 times a day.  For most people this is physically impossible.  There are areas of the US known as a food desert. I’m from Oklahoma.  32 of our 77 counties have food deserts as classified by the USDA.  We’re an agricultural state!  Problem is that our major agriculture products are beef and wheat. Neither are fruits and veggies.

So what are you looking for in a general vitamin if you’re focused on your skin care needs? Zinc, Calcium, with Vitamins A, E, and especially Vitamin C and a Vitamin B-complex

  • Calcium is essential for strong bones, but it also helps with cell regeneration and growth.
  • Zinc aides in cell structure and strength.  This is going to keep your skin firmer and less prone to the development of fine lines.
  • Vitamin A increases cell reproduction and is a required component of collagen. Don’t worry, we’re going to hit collagen in a later post.
  • Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is a very strong antioxidant. Helps our body rid free radical which can cause cancer and cellular damage.
  • Vitamin C prevents cellular damage and is an essential vitamin required for elastin and collagen.
  • B-complex vitamin which includes the powerhouses biotin, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin.  These vitamins are vital for your cardiovascular health, a healthy metabolism, but also used in cell generation so its great for your skin, hair, and nails. If you are thinking about switching to a vegan diet you need to be sure you know where to get the entirety of your B-complex.  B12 is at it’s highest concentration in eggs, milk, and cheese and thus is the hardest to get from a non-animal source.  The easiest way to get this is from a fortified plant/nut ‘milk’? Juice?  What are we calling almond ‘milk’ now?

Collagen is a protein that forms a matrix that keeps our body’s tissues firm, elastic, and most importantly intact.  Scurvy has been a devastating disease in human history that was a result of a deficiency in Vitamin C.  Symptoms are bleeding gums, wounds that failed to heal, poor cellular turnover where skin can become translucent.  Scurvy is the most well-known of the effects of poor diet on skin care and serves as a reminder that we are what we eat.

I take Vitamin Code(R) RAW ONE(TM) for Women almost everyday plus a time-release Vitamin C with Rosehip. Those pills are in the picture at the beginning of this post. This isn’t sponsored content.  I’m not getting paid for this. The reason I recommend this particular multi-vitamin is because it is raw and completely plant-based.  Remember vitamins are best acquired from plants.  Most multi-vitamins are highly processed and the result of chemical reactions.  Not to say these are quality ingredients and our body won’t absorb them at all, it’s just not how I prefer to consume my nutrients.  I want them to be as close to the plant as possible.  Raw One(TM) is a gel cap of concentrated powdered plant material.  Antioxidants can become inactivated when heated, RAW ONE is not heated above 115F meaning all those good components in the plants haven’t been destroyed.

The other thing I look for are binders and fillers.  A binder is necessary as it keeps the pill as a pill if that’s what you’re taking.  The most common binder is gelatin and cellulose, hands down. Gelatin is used commonly as a coating and is most commonly derived from pigs and cows.  Cellulose on the other hand is a v*gan option.  Fillers are there to make the pills or powder bulkier, as in you need to take more powder to get your recommended dose.  If a little is good then a lot is better, right? Common fillers are gelatin, cellulose (again?, I’m confused), silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide, glycerin, calcium carbonate.

  • Cellulose and Gelatin:  if you take a gummy bear supplement you’re basically paying for the gelatin and/or cellulose making a gummy bear.  Yes, they’re cute and kids will actually take them over a pill, but if you don’t mind taking the pill form that’s infinantly better.
  • Silicon dioxide:  You’ll see this one quite a bit.  It’s a natural substance that is most commonly found in sand.  This helps keep supplements from clumping together by preventing excess moisture from building up. It doens’t do anything in your body.  Most plants grow incredibly well in mostly sand environments even.
  • Titanium Dioxide: not really a filler as much as a color enhancement.  It literally does nothing for your supplement quality.  Best to avoid this if possible.  Who cares what it looks like, you’re just going to swallow it and never see it again.
  • Glycerin: used a LOT in skin care and is good in skin care.  But in the supplement world it doesn’t really count for or against the vitamin.  It’s used as a dietary fiber since we don’t really absorb it.  Too much, however, can cause some rather not so entertaining GI distress.
  • Calcium carbonate: commonly used as the calcium supplement but if it sits too high on the ingredients list it’s just taking up some real estate. Your skin and bones obviously utilize it as a key component, but you can only absorb so much.  Any extra and you’re just paying for expensive pee.

Sugar: it makes the pill taste good. It is a filler, but in general it just helps with the taste, otherwise compressed powder pills are incredibly bitter and you could be less likely to take them. I personally run sideways and around the corner when I see xylitol.  That’s the sugar in all those sugar-free candies that gave people GI issues.  {Raises hand} Yes I use to take those and, yes, I had severe GI issues if I took too many, read as I had 3 pieces of candy.

These are the most important nutrients and cautions to look for in my opinion.  The vitamin/supplement industry is a multibillion dollar industry.  This is obvious if you’ve paid attention to how many supplements are available at your local drug store and how many commercials there are.  Most extra supplements are only producing expensive pee. Each supplement promises amazing results, in reality you won’t see amazing results overnight by taking a vitamin/supplement. You aren’t going to look 10 years younger after your first bottle. There’s a HUGE array of every supplement you could ever want.

The move as of late has been towards natural vitamin supplements.  We’ve even seen this at Sephora with the launch of their ‘Clean at Sephora(R)’ logo.  Other natural based vitamins geared towards skin care are Caudalie’s Vinesxpert Dietary Supplement, Halo Beauty by Youtuber Tati Westbrook, Hum Nutrition, Kora Organics, and Standard Process (who makes an amazing iron supplement, Ferrofood) among many others. The con is that a lot of these supplements can get very expensive very quickly.  For you’re main vitamin supplement I tend to suggest people pay a bit more to get a higher quality product.  I take mine about every day to every other day and it costs around $30 for 60 pills depending on the sales at Sprout’s. You can get a good bottle for $10-15. The key is to know what you’re looking at and looking for. There are expensive brands that use a lot of fillers. The first five ingredients shouldn’t include a filler if it’s a high quality compressed powder pill or should be way down the list if it’s a gel cap.

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