Everything can seemingly be solved by popping a pill these days. There are drugs for acne, bloating, headaches…you name it, there is a medication for it. Our love for a quick miracle cure has long been present in the vitamin and supplement market, where consumers crave that easy and apparently cost-effective way of getting their daily nutrients.
It wasn’t always this way. Before vitamin pills and supplements there was another way the human body received nutrients – food. The people of our grandparent’s and parent’s generations didn’t need to down a Centrum – they didn’t even know what that was! If vitamin C was needed, they would down an orange. Iron? How about some red meat of some spinach. At some point however, all of this became too hard and savvy marketers entered the picture with ready to pop pills and potions that promised our daily nutrients in one small capsule.
This phenomenon has now swept the globe. How many people do you know who take fish oil or a daily multi vitamin? Have you ever asked them why? Have these pills been medically prescribed? Or do people just feel as though the more vitamins, the better?
Vitamins are a marketer’s dream. First, they are easy to take, relatively inexpensive and some even taste good. With the recent invention of ‘gummy’ vitamins, taking your daily supplements now feels like eating candy. The message, of course, for unsuspecting consumers, is that you can eat little lollies that taste good, but are supplying your body with goodness all at the same time. What a combination!
Food is nature’s medicine. Each wholesome, natural food serves its purpose perfectly. Food nourishes and nurtures. Real food heals and it medicates. We don’t need pills for that. When eating a diet high in green leafy vegetables, lean, organic proteins, fruit, nuts and seeds, the body derives all it needs to function at optimal level. I repeat – we don’t need pills to allow the body to work its magic.
Studies dating as far back as the 1990s have demonstrated that taking too many supplements can actually be detrimental to health. In this recent New York Times article (found here), the journalist explores studies that have proven increased intake of supplements and vitamins has been shown to increase mortality. While there have been attempts by the US Government to regulate and restrict the amount of vitamins people can ingest, all draft legislation was rapidly gunned down by the drug manufacturers, who obviously recognised that any such legislation would dramatically reduce their multi-million dollar profits derived from this industry. As a result, consumers remain unaware of the potential dangers of taking too many vitamins.
Before you scoff down a mixture of pills with your morning cup of tea, maybe have a think about why it is you are taking them. Toss them away and try adding extra vegetables to your diet instead. Getting your nutrients straight from the source is not only cheaper, but healthier for you. It is the way your body was meant to be.