The Real Benefits of Vitamins: Fact vs. Fiction, Explained by Experts

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    Vitamins are essential to the optimal functioning of our bodies. Read on to learn about whether vitamin supplements are right for you.

    What are vitamins?

    Vitamins are organic molecules and essential nutrients that your body needs to be able to function properly. There are 13 essential vitamins. Of these, four are fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E, and K), which means that your body stores them in fatty tissue and the liver. Fat-soluble vitamins can stay in your body for days and even months. The rest of the essential vitamins are water-soluble; these vitamins (vitamin C and the B vitamins) don’t stay in the body for very long, as the body is incapable of storing them. That’s why people need more frequent intake of water-soluble vitamins.

    Different vitamins play different roles in the body, but all are necessary if you want your body to function at an optimal level. While vitamins can be consumed naturally through our diets, most people don’t get the adequate intake through food alone. When nutrient gaps exist, you can fill them by taking vitamin supplements. Care/of’s vitamin supplements, for example, are great quality and proven effective.

    Do vitamins make you healthier?

    By enhancing your nutrient intake, taking vitamins can absolutely make you healthier. Vitamins are especially effective when used to address nutrient deficiencies. They’re not meant to be a replacement for a diverse, nutrient-rich diet. To get the best results from your vitamin routine, you should also pursue a healthy lifestyle. That means getting enough sleep, exercising, staying hydrated, managing stress, and eating fruits, veggies, protein, healthy fats, and whole grain carbs.

    What about gummy vitamins?

    Designed to be tasty and fun, gummy vitamins do boast some of the health benefits of regular vitamins. And, since they taste like gummy candies, they might help people be a little more inclined to take them.

    That said, gummy vitamins come with some downsides. They have a shorter shelf life than regular vitamins and they have fewer nutrients. Over time, their potency drops significantly. Moreover, their sugar content – often between 2 to 8 grams – comes with its own set of problems, including gastrointestinal issues and negative effects on dental health. If getting an adequate amount of nutrients is an urgent matter for you, gummy vitamins are probably not your best option.

    Food is a better source than supplements

    If you’re trying to boost your nutrient intake, the best place to start is with your diet. While vitamin supplements can be a big help, they’re not meant to replace a healthy diet.

    A great way to ensure that you’re consuming foods high in nutrient content is to eat local, in-season produce. For example, studies have shown that vitamin C content in broccoli is two times higher in the spring than in other seasons. The distance your food has traveled can also have an effect on nutrient content, so buy local when you can!

    Whether or not your food is cooked can also impact the food’s vitamin and mineral content. Cooking certain foods can reduce the concentration of water-soluble vitamins; nonetheless, cooking can help with the digestion of certain foods. The key is to find the right balance. Throw some variety into your diet and make sure you’re getting the essential food groups. A professional dietitian can help steer you in the right direction.

    Should you take vitamins?

    If you’re looking to achieve your health goals and help your body function at an optimal level, vitamins can be an excellent part of your routine. The key is to be supplementing consistently.

    To determine whether or not you should take vitamins, you should have a conversation with your doctor. Some nutrients, like iron and vitamin D, are best taken only after regular blood testing. Your doctor can also help you figure out if you’re experiencing any nutrient gaps that a vitamin routine could address.

    Once you’ve made the decision to take vitamins, it’s important to find vitamins that are great quality, third-party tested, and designed for maximum absorption – like those offered by Care/of.

    Individuals who might benefit from taking vitamins

    Since many of us don’t get the nutrients we need in our diets, many of us could benefit greatly from a vitamin routine. If you’re looking to boost digestion, eye health, heart health, fitness, sleep quality, bone health, mental balance, joint health, hair health, skin health, or nail health – among other realms of health – vitamins might be for you.

    A good place to start might be with a multivitamin, such as Care/of’s multivitamin, which can help you bridge any nutrient gaps. People taking certain nutrient-depleting medications may also benefit from vitamins.

    If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, a prenatal vitamin can help support your health and the health of your developing child.

    As always, you should talk to a healthcare professional before embarking on any vitamin routine.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Our Editorial Staff
    Freelance Contributor
    The Care/of Editorial Team is made up of writers, experts, and health enthusiasts, all dedicated to giving you the information you need today. Our team is here to answer your biggest wellness questions, read the studies for you, and introduce you to your new favorite product, staying up to date on the latest research, trends, and science. Each article is written by one of our experts, reviewed both for editorial standards by an editor and medical standards by one of our naturopathic doctors, and updated regularly as new information becomes available.