Ever walk down vitamin aisle in your local pharmacy and feel completely overwhelmed. It turns out, you are not alone. As a physician, my patients often tell me how confused they are about what vitamins to take. And this makes perfect sense. Determining which vitamins to take and in which exact amounts is both complicated and difficult. Namely, because the answer is different for different people.
We are not all the same. We do not eat the same diet, live the same lifestyle or have the same health concerns and symptoms. Therefore it makes sense that we do not all need to take the same vitamins. I, as a pescatarian, frequently exercising, younger woman most certainly does not need to take the same exact nutrients as my older, meat eating, less fit father. We have different needs, determined by many things including these habits, demographic factors and the things our body tells each day via signs and symptoms.
Science tells us that there is a safe and useful role for vitamins. However, it is not as clear cut as “everyone should take Zinc!:” In fact, those vitamins which most people need to take, such as vitamin D3, can vary in needed amounts a great deal. Many factors help determine how much vitamin D someone needs including ethnicity (darker skin tones often require more D), weight, where you live (sun exposure) and certain medical conditions. Taking too much of many vitamins can also be harmful— infant too much vitamin D3 can lead to kidney stones, GI problems, and in extreme cases, coma. This is one of the many reasons why taking the right amount of each vitamin, in a medically sound manner is essential.
You may feel more confused than when we began about what vitamins to take. How can you determine your unique nutritional needs? It turns out that a doctor created personalized vitamin plan is the best way to do this. Taking an online vitamin quiz about your individual dietary factors, lifestyle and habits as well as health concerns can be very similar to meeting with a doctor like me in the office and sharing these details. After taking the survey you can then get an all in one personalized vitamin that is exactly the right vitamins for your needs.
As a physician, I am aware that vitamins can play an important role in health, but only if individual factors are taken into consideration and vitamins are used in a medically sound way. We must look at the medical literature to determine which vitamins to take, in which doses and for which individual. Taking a personalized vitamin is the best way to ensure you get the right nutrients and neither too much or too little of each. Taking a doctor created all in one vitamin is the best way to feel confident that you are getting exactly the nutrients you need.
So skip the vitamin aisle next time and have the confidence of a science backed personalized vitamin.
Arielle Levitan M.D.
Co-founder Vous Vitamin LLC
Author of The Vitamin Solution:Two Doctors Clear the Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health