1. Good thought provoking post! I do take supplements – iron, turmeric, fish oil, vitamin C, and Centrum Silver. I like some dairy foods and some fish. I’m trying to eat more fresh as well as organic fruits and veggies. Trying to get away from processed foods.

  2. Great post, Christie. I appreciate all of your research in this area — it is something that I had planned to do myself. I am lactose intolerant so it is an even bigger challenge for me to get my calcium from my food. Still, I persevere and have not turned to calcium supplements yet — although I have been considering this. I may now postpone a little longer.

    • Lactose intolerance adds a whole new layer to the challenge. The articles I read did say that in some cases where there are dietary restrictions, a supplement may be useful. I started tracking my calcium intake, without necessarily altering what I normally eat, and am finding big swings from day to day. Ultimately, I guess it goes back to eating a balanced diet of mostly fresh foods.

  3. Cindy

    Hi sis! I don’t take vitamins, although when I think I’m getting a cold I take Emergen-C and Zinc, (which I know are vitamins and minerals) and I swear it helps. Maybe it’s all in my head? I asked a PA once if he thought vitamins were a good idea and he said “If you want to waste your money.”? I love fish and dairy so I eat a lot of both. I like almost all things food. Love you!

    • Well, Cindy, your PA’s comment seems to be in line with what the experts are saying. I think I’ll be saving my money. Maybe I can spend my savings on a yogurt of latte! Love you too!

  4. Really great post with lots of good information. This is a topic that I’ve thought of googling many times, but never got around to it. So it seems you’ve done the work for me, I take a vitamin supplement and vitamin C every day, but do often wonder whether if they are doing me any good. I never get coughs and colds so perhaps the Vit C is worthwhile. I agree with you that a healthy nutrient rich diet is best. After reading your info I’m going to join you in trying to add more foods that are higher in calcium into my diet #MLSTL Shared on SM

    • I’m glad I could help Jennifer. Vitamin C would have been a good one for me to look into specifically, since I know a lot of us grew up taking that one. I still may do that. If you make any fantastic finds when it comes to calcium-rich foods let me know. Thanks for sharing my post. I do appreciate it.

  5. Great post on a topic I’m interested in!
    But I won’t answer all or the response would be so lengthy. I do take a multi-vitamin (Alive! Women 50+), flaxseed oil and calcium. WHEN I remember – which means about 3X a week. Vitamin C, turmeric, and cinnamon but probably only 1-2X a week.
    I agree most should come from a healthy, well-balanced diet. I love fish, but my better half doesn’t. They are also Texas born and raised – so everything should be beef or pork, BBQ, topped with queso (basically melted cheese) or be fried or breaded and fried. (Sigh!) We’re getting there – with the art of compromise.

    • Eating as a couple is definitely a compromise. I mean almost everything is better breaded and friend or covered in cheese, right? Seriously, though, my husband works from home and is willing to cook dinner. He alternates between fresh foods and things that come from a box, and I am completely fine with that. His willingness to cook allows me to go to the gym after work and still have time to eat and relax before bed.

  6. Such an interesting and appropriate post Christie especially for our age group! Thanks for all your research and your conclusions. I take a Vitamin D supplement and a women’s vitamin. I’ve been actively trying to get as much fresh food and less processed food into me a few months and have noticed the improvement in my over all well being, weight loss and blood tests confirmed the improvements. Great article and I’m sharing for #mlstl

  7. Hi Christie, an excellent presentation and argument for the ‘No need to take supplements’ camp. I think they have their place if we have been ill but I’ve also read the research that eating a healthy diet should provide us with all the vitamins and minerals we need. I’ve also heard that sometimes we can ‘overdose’ on certain vitamins which can be more harmful than good. Thank you for sharing at #MLSTL and I’ll be sharing on social media. Have a great week! xx

    • Thank you, Sue. I’m also not quite ready to advocate throwing out all the vitamins, as they may still have a place in certain circumstances. You made a good point–one I wish I had hit on in the post–if you are going to supplement, it’s important not to exceed the 100-percent daily recommended dose for that specific vitamin. Our bodies can’t use more than that, and in some cases, can’t properly dispose of the excess.

  8. I’m not much of a vitamin supplement taker. I occasionally take a multi-vitamin and I’ve been taking iron to try to get my levels back up after a disasterous 6mths of constant bleeding – so glad that’s been fixed. I’m up from 6 to 22 but need to be over 30 – hence the supplement.
    I’m a bigger fan of healthy eating and lots of homemade meals from fresh ingredients – something that Aussies are really good at.
    Thanks for linking with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Taking iron supplements when you have been diagnosed as low is one of the specific examples I read in several studies as to when a supplement is highly recommended, Leanne. I’m glad to hear that your iron level is on the rise. Six seems scary low. Did you feel exhausted? I am a big fan of homemade meals made from fresh ingredients. Yet another reason to love Australia! Thanks for the #MLSTL party and for sharing my post. I do appreciate it.

  9. I take a multivitamin plus a calcium because my doctor told me to, but I am considering stopping because I’m hearing so much negative news about vitamins. Thanks for sharing! Visiting from MSTL.

    • Hello Amy. It’s so hard to decide when you get conflicting information. That’s why I’m doing my best to get the vitamins and minerals I need from the food I eat, but sometimes that’s a challenge too.

  10. Hi Christie,
    Great post and one that resonates with me as we navigate through our WFPB lifestyle. As a rule I believe that you can get what you need through healthy eating of a variety of plant foods (eat the rainbow). The only vitamin missing is b12 so we take a supplement for that.
    Visiting from MLSTL, shared on my FB

  11. Great article, Christie! I read it all carefully and it accords with my research as well. I’m pretty much of the eat a really good balanced diet with lots of fresh vegies and fruit and dairy products (real food!) and avoid processed products and you’re mostly there. However, recently I’ve developed a second auto-immune condition (loooooong story that one) which means I get inflammation in joints and throughout my body. There’s medications to battle which manage it quite well that but it’s interesting that last time I saw my specialist Rheumatologist she added 4g of fish oil to my regime to top up the effect of the medication as we’re not quite on top of it. If that doesn’t work, she’ll add more drugs instead. I have a diet that includes oily fish and other relevant greens but still the fish oil supplement was seen as useful. That’s quite consistent with what you’ve found – eat the whole natural food source product unless there’s a specific reason or element you’re trying to adjust.

    I’ve been researching the calcium supplements as well and have found similar findings to you. It does seem the ones who endorse supplement products are the manufacturers themselves. There seems there is little scientific evidence though some anecdotal. The importance of weight bearing exercise is also really important, most notably in one’s teens.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience and research, Christine. I’m sorry to hear about your health challenges, but happy to hear your doctor is willing to try the most natural approaches first. I also appreciate you mentioning weight-bearing exercise. My understanding is that is a huge factor in bone strength. While it may be tempting to look for a magic pill, good health always seems to come back to nutritious eating and physical activity.

      • Yep, the basics are super important. Re the supplement – well, not quite. The drugs are there as the first and necessary step, but the doctor is adding the fish oil supplement to them to see if that has an additional positive benefit. If not, it’s back to adding an additional layer of drugs instead. I was just interested that she’s trying this before going straight to more drugs. Given she’s a specialist with 30 odd years experience I thought this was a good example of supplements adding a complementary effect in some cases – hopefully. And of course, good idea and exercise are also up there playing a part.

  12. I use to take more vitamins and supplements then I could count. I finally got a garbage bag and threw hundreds of dollars away. I do take calcium now because I have osteoporosis and my doctor advised it.

    • It’s easy to get caught up in the supplement frenzy, Victoria. There is so much conflicting information out there. It’s good that you are working with a doctor on your specific health needs. My mother also has osteoporosis and takes calcium supplements for that. I am finding it challenging to get the recommended 1200 mg a day. I may have to get more creative with my typical menu!

  13. I’m just testing my Subscribe to Comments plug-in. If you chose to be notified of followup comments via email, I’d love to know whether you are receiving those email notices when a new comment is posted, particularly when I replied to your comment. Thanks!

  14. ‘First I want to say I am not health care professional. I have been researching and listening to health talks since 2012. This is an ongoing process for my husband and I. We have learned a lot and even started our own podcast Natural Bliss Podcast to aid others in their journey to live a better quality of life naturally.

    I do take supplements and will continue to do so. We eat 95% organic, but the soil is being stripped of the nutrients and we are falling short. At the same time not all supplements are created equal, we use organic. There is also a local “HEALTH” store, not GNC, Walmart, Walgreens or any other chain, and the family that owns it is very knowledgeable. However, we do not buy all our supplements there because it is not cost effective.

    We do not take fish oil due to possible mercury contamination. Hemp oil and chia seeds are good options, canola oil is highly genetically modified, so that is not an option. Our fish consumption is minimal due to mercury contamination, genetic modification and some sea food is just not good for us.

    Calcium is needed in order for our bodies to absorb magnesium, which a great number of our society is deficient in. If one is concerned about strong bones working out with weights is excellent for building up bone density. We try to keep our dairy consumption to grass fed, but in some people dairy can cause unwanted inflammation. I have to be mindful due to the fact I love, love cheese, but have noticed if I eat too much it has an adverse effect on my body.

    While doctors have their place they are not taught everything. My husband was having heart palpitations and finally went to the emergency room, which he didn’t want to do. They put him on the monitor for a week, said they couldn’t see anything wrong and sent him home with blood thinners.

    He went to a holistic doctor who said he was low on magnesium. He upped his intake and was fine for a while, so he started doing some research. During that time he found out that the majority of heart patients he under went surgery and died were zinc deficient. He started taking zinc and has not had any issues since.

    I want to encourage you to look at what the holistic doctors are saying about supplements and using food for all our vitamins and minerals.

    • Welcome Joyce. Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to write such a detailed comment. I am admittedly in the early stages of researching supplements, so it’s good to hear about your research and experience. Healthy eating is such a complex issue, it can be overwhelming. I’ve recently made the transition from eating a lot of processed foods to a focus on more fresh food. For now I am following the simple advice from Michael Pollan, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” I guess I would add eat a variety of food with a focus on vegetables and lean protein. Have a wonderful day!

  15. I agree that supplements are not a substitute for healthy eating. However I do take quite a few supplements to help me get through my day with my multiple health/autoimmune issues. My functional medicine doctor has recommended taking them. It is a better alternative than some of the prescription medicines available!
    Thanks for sharing with us at The Blogger’s Pit Stop!

    • Hello Roseann. It sounds like you fall in the category of those with diagnosed conditions that can be improved with supplements, and if it helps you stay off some prescription medicines, all the better. Wishing you health and happiness!

  16. Christie, in addition to a good diet I take lots of supplements, including fish oil (Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega, to be precise), but I do not take calcium. I am convinced the risks outweigh the benefits. For bone health, I take Vitamin K-2 MK-7 (100 mcg) along with D-3 and magnesium. That form of K-2 takes calcium out of all those places it doesn’t belong (like your kidneys and arteries) and directs it to where it is needed (bones and teeth). #BloggingGmothers

  17. Great post. You had me checking my supplement bottles for side effects. I take Omega 3, a magnesium/calcium/zinc supplement, vitamin C, B12 and One A Day for Women over 50. I have revved up my vegetable and fruit game and decreased red meat. You have given me food for thought and I will be asking these questions about supplements when I see my doctor. Thanks for co-hosting and sharing with #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

    • It’s all so complicated, isn’t it Clearissa? I believe eating produce and lean protein is probably one of the best things we can do for our health, and talking to your doctor about supplements is a good start. Thanks for sharing and co-hosting #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. It’s always a pleasure!

  18. Hi Christie

    I take Cal/Mag/D/Zinc horse pill daily. The Calcium and magnesium are more for leg cramps than to supplement my diet.

    I recently had a blood sample sent to Boston Heart health for check my all “numbers.” The only thing I was low in was Omega 3. My “functional medicine” Dr. suggested eating more fish but didn’t suggest supplementation in pill form.

    However, he did suggest turmeric supplementation for gut health along with pre and probiotics and a digestive enzyme. So I also take those

    Very informative post

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