Do you take vitamin pills? How do you know you are getting all your vitamins? What about the time-honored advice to get the vitamins you need from your diet? Many doctors offer this advice. How well does it work?
How Can You Get All Your Vitamins from Your Diet?
Q. My husband asked his new doctor to review his medication. The physician okayed his blood pressure pills, statin, Prilosec and thyroid medicine. But he said to stop all vitamins except vitamin D.
This doctor said my husband should get his vitamins from his diet. He had been taking calcium, a multivitamin, folic acid, magnesium and fish oil for years.
My husband works full time and gets home late at night. As a result, he eats a quick snack rather than a real meal in the evening. My basic question is: could he be lacking any nutrients if he stops taking his supplements?
Will a Quick Snack Provide All Your Vitamins?
A. When we think of a quick snack, we think of something like cheese and crackers, a bowl of cold cereal with milk, possibly a sandwich or a burger. We don’t imagine a plate full of vegetables or a big bowl of salad.
Yet the vegetables (and some fruit, of course) are where the lion’s share of vitamins reside. So unless your husband has an unusual snacking style, he might not be getting all the vitamins he might need from what he is eating.
Medicines That Interfere with Getting All Your Vitamins:
It is also possible that his other medicines might be hampering his body’s ability to get adequate nutrients. Acid-suppressing drugs like omeprazole (Prilosec) or esomeprazole (Nexium) can deplete the body of vitamin B12 and magnesium.
Statins can reduce levels of coenzyme Q10, and ACE inhibitor blood pressure medicines can lower levels of zinc, coenzyme Q10, and magnesium. ACE inhibitors may also boost potassium levels.
We don’t know if your husband’s blood pressure pills include an ACE inhibitor like lisinopril. Other antihypertensive drugs such as calcium-channel blockers or diuretics can affect different nutrients. Any of these could make it more difficult to get all your vitamins from your diet. To learn more about these interactions, we recommend a book by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More.