Are multi-vitamins a waste of money?

Someone said to me last week that they thought they were sending their money down the toilet when they took a multi-vitamin and asked if they were even important at all or if they just create expensive urine.

There are several things to discuss here, the first being what causes urine to be yellow? First off it is probably because of the B vitamins, and Vitamin C. It is how they oxidize when you pass them through. You pass them out sometimes because your body will rid itself of vitamins that you don’t need. You could argue that you don’t need vitamin B in your multi-vitamin and maybe that is true.

We get vitamin B easily from shellfish, fish, beef, cheese and eggs. This means that vegans have to make other arrangements such as using a red yeast to get their B vitamins. The trouble there is that it is not effective (it takes 5-10 mcg of yeast B12, to get the RDA of 2.4 mcg), but at least it’s something, and B12 is essential for cell division and red blood cell formation, so it is important. Back to our point – when we have more B12 than we need, the body moves the excess out in the urine as it is a water soluble vitamin.

The second reason for the yellow is common — and that is insufficient water intake. If you are well hydrated your urine will be pale yellow. If you are dehydrated your pee will be darker yellow.

The third point, and this is important, is the question about expensive urine.

The vitamin or mineral that you need most is the one that you are low in. The trouble is you have no way of knowing what that is. Cramping could be a magnesium shortage. Dry skin and poor night vision could be Vitamin A and oily skin and pimples could be low B vitamins, etc. Taking a good multi-vitamin will give you some base levels to ensure you have some of the daily requirements. Multi-vitamins do not replace food, let’s be clear – you still need to eat well. Which brings about another question — “Can’t I just eat well and get all the vitamins I need?” Not likely.

There are many reasons for this. Fertilizer practices have changed. Farmers used to tend small parcels of land and use manure and animal or vegetable matter to fertilize.

They also used to leave a parcel of land alone every few years to increase moisture and nutrients by tilling in the weeds and plant matter. Farmers don’t do that anymore due to increasing pressure from production and income requirements. They now use fertilizers such as commercial NPK (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous) and that is an issue as well. There are 22 minerals in soil that our body wants and needs but if we strip out the crops every year for 100 years, taking away 22 minerals, then we just put back three, it doesn’t take long before the only thing in the soil is the three, meaning we are missing 19 minerals in our food – a fact which has been shown in many studies of current nutritional quality of food compared to 60 or 70 years ago.

Further, we get most of our fruits and vegetables from farms or orchards far away six months of the year.

All winter our produce is picked before it is ripe so it can last longer in the truck and in the grocery store before rotting. That means the vitamins are not fully developed because the sun has been removed from the equation.

Bananas, for example, are picked fully green and then sprayed in the truck with ethylene gas on the way to the store, which causes the ripening process. In the wild, the sun does that and creates more vitamins in the process.

So yes, in my opinion, a good quality multi-vitamin is a requirement for good health, a fact that has been supported by the Journal of American Medical Association (July 19, 2002), as well as other medical journals around the world. I think that disease and illness are expensive and vitamins are valuable.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.

Just Posted

First official speed skating competition held at Setters Place this weekend

More than 100 junior speed skaters from across Alberta competed in the Jeremy Wotherspoon Open

Get your healthy on

Healthy Living Expo promotes sustainable, innovative and healthy lifestyles

WATCH: Team Alberta visits Red Deer this weekend to prepare for Canada Winter Games

About 250 Team Alberta athletes toured venues and tested out facilities Saturday

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

PHOTO: Eyes turn to heavens to witness super blood wolf moon

These two photos show the lunar eclipse about 30 minutes apart from each other.

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Most Read