New to this whole vitamin thing? You probably have a lot of questions about why you even need to take vitamins in the first place. Here’s a look at some of the most common supplement FAQs.
What are vitamins and why do we need them?
Vitamins are specific molecular compounds that perform very precise functions in our bodies. For example, vitamin B12 and folate are both required for DNA and RNA synthesis. No other substance can do what each vitamin does, which is what makes them essential.
If vitamins are so important, why don't our bodies make them on their own?
This is the million dollar question that has perplexed biologists forever. We have evolved such that some of the molecules that go into vitamins are very difficult or impossible for our cells to make from scratch, so we have to eat other microbes and plants that make them for us.
If you already eat a healthy diet, why do you need vitamins?
Even if you’re all about kale smoothies and salmon filets, hardly anyone eats a perfect diet all the time. Less than 5% of Americans get the recommended daily value of essential nutrients. Those who do get enough are usually people who take a supplement, according to a recent study in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. An okay diet may be enough to prevent a nutrient deficiency disease—say, scurvy—but it’s not enough for your best health.
Do deficiencies matter? Most people seem to be getting by, even with poor diets.
You’re right. But only because our bodies have evolved to compensate. Here’s where it gets complicated. Say you don’t have enough calcium--a nutrient crucial for hundreds of processes including the contraction of your heart. Your body will steal it from your bones; that’s where bone loss comes from, and the damage is done without you even noticing. Supplements work to fill the gaps in your diet so your body doesn’t have to resort to drastic measures.
How can we tell if we’re getting what we need without a bunch of tests?
A major symptom of vitamin deficiency is fatigue. This happens because your body is busy scavenging for all those missing nutrients. You might notice it first in your mood because happy chemicals in your brain—your neurotransmitters—need folate, B12, magnesium, and more. Hunger can be another sign of vitamin deficiency. If several essentials are missing, your body starts to makes you eat more in an effort to get them. This can kick off a bad cycle, since it’s easy to respond to cravings with low-nutrient junk food, which leads to more hunger.
How do I pick the right vitamin?
The vitamin industry is full of half-truths and ingredients that aren’t actually backed by science. That’s why we, the folks here at Ritual, decided to create something better. If you ask us, something you ingest every day should be supported by real research. Our daily multivitamin, Essential for Women, contains only the nine nutrients that research shows most American women don’t get enough of from diet alone. Plus, we’re completely transparent about our ingredients and supply chain, so you never have to wonder where your vitamins come from. The best part? We deliver EFW right to your door so you don’t have to remember to cobble together a multi-pill regimen every time you hit the health food store.
Interested? Start your Ritual now.