Multivitamins, vegan diet, all your vitamins

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.

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  1. Ms.

    I wish there was list given that shows what vitamins are beneficial without all of the extra additives. I take so many it’s insane.

  2. NorthwoodsCynic

    Medical schools are funded by pharmaceutical companies? That sounds like yet another conspiracy theory. Is there any evidence to support such a statement? If there is, please present it.

  3. R.

    I take only non-GMO organic whole food and herb vitamins and supplements are from reliable companies with as few ingredients as possible. That way I know that whatever I am taking will be assimilated with or without food. I also drink filtered water and only use glass for food storage and water bottles to avoid hormone disrupters. Researching ingredients in supplements and herbs provides better understanding as to what is needed. It is important to pay attention to one’s body and what it is telling you.

    • Ms.

      What store or online store would you suggest for low Ferritin and Vitamin D?

  4. Jerry Bryan

    Vitamins are not generated by the body. Vitamins come from food. Most people do not eat healthy foods. Where then, will they get vitamins and minerals? Answer: vitamin and mineral supplements. Don’t be misguided by people who have their own agenda. I am an engineer and worked in the oil industry my working career. I have no agenda other than promoting common sense.

  5. Parrish
    Los Angeles

    People’s Pharmacy has published a number of articles about studies showing fish oil increased the likelihood of prostate cancer. I think that should have been mentioned in your response.

  6. Eleanor
    albeta canada

    it would be nice if the vitamin you should take were put on here. I hardly eat any thing, and take a lot of vit. but are they the right ones?

  7. Marie

    Doctors receive their education in medical schools that are funded by pharmaceutical companies. They are trained to believe that supplements of all kinds are unnecessary while pharmaceutical medication is essential. It was back in the 1970s that I first heard that old line about a person getting all the vitamins one needs from one’s diet – and the average American diet has gotten a lot worse since then. No one eats that well!

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