Vitamins and Supplements: Everything You Need to Know

Update: Garden of Life was bought out by Nestle. Nestle is an abomination, so many will choose not to support Garden of Life anymore. Alternatives will be listed.


There are so many options available today that it can be overwhelming. What types of vitamins are out there?  What kind of supplement is best? Do people even need to take vitamins?

The truth is that not all vitamins are created equal, and knowing the difference is essential.

My experience with vitamins began when I worked at an organic foods co-op in St. Paul, MN. I had seen drugstore variety synthetic vitamins before, but working at the co-op introduced me to food-based vitamins. The difference between food-based vitamins and synthetic vitamins is vast and important. Synthetic vitamins are man-made, harder to absorb, and come with significant risksincluding increasing the risk of cancer and heart disease. Mega-vitamin companies latch onto nutrition trends, and create products that are low-quality, mass produced, and not tested for effectiveness.  As with many areas of life, it’s best to stick with small, ethical companies that produce quality products, which means shopping at your local health food store, or ordering trusted products online.

The most important point I want to stress is that healthy, whole food is the best source of vitamins.

From my experience working at the co-op and in the health and wellness field, I’ve noticed that people are often looking for a simple vitamin pill or powder to take to help them achieve health.  There is no such thing.  Although there are some great options for supplements, no green wonder powder will ever replace adding fresh, organic spinach and kale to your diet; no vitamin tablet will replace nutrition therapy.  The foundation of health is built upon the food we choose to eat, the thoughts we think, and the love we show our bodies.

Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine,” and this simple advice is some of the best.

Eating a wide variety of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to get easily absorbable, bioavailable vitamins and minerals.  A good goal is to strive to eat a rainbow of different colors in fruits and vegetables every day.  There are many options, to be served raw, steamed, and prepared in lots of other fun, delicious ways (check out this recipe blog and this recipe blog for inspiration).


Orange/yellow: Oranges, mango, sweet potato, pumpkin, yellow squash, carrots, orange/yellow peppers, bananas, apricots, nectarines, lemons, yellow apples, pumpkin, peaches

Red/purple: Tomatoes, red peppers, raspberries, strawberries, plums, grapes, grapefruit, eggplant, apples, red onions, watermelon, cranberries, pomegranate, blueberries, beets, purple cabbage, prunes

Green: Broccoli, spinach, romain, field greens, cabbage, celery, kiwi, avocado, green grapes, green beans, snap peas, sprouts, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, green apples

The notion that “whole grains” are an essential part of a healthy diet isn’t for everyone.

Some people can digest grains without complication; others can’t. There are enough issues with grains that people (especially those dealing with any sort of chronic health issue, whether that’s fatigue or irritability or something more serious) may want to reconsider the place of grains in their diet.

I choose to forgo wheat for numerous reasons, and instead a small portion of my family’s diet consists of quinoa, organic brown or wild rice, and gluten-free whole oatmeal.  They are good sources of protein, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and other vitamins and minerals.  They are also easy to digest and much less inflammatory than other grain options.

Animal products can be an important part of a healthy diet.

However, they can also be disastrous if the wrong foods are eaten.  Most conventional meat, dairy, and eggs — those sold in most grocery stores across the US — come from animals who are kept in cages on unsanitary factory farms.  Due to the unsanitary conditions, antibiotics use is rampant in the meat and dairy industry.  Antibiotics in our food can wreak havoc on the body, changing the natural and extremely important flora of our digestive system, and creating superbugs.

Related: Nourishing Hot Chocolate (With Coconut Oil!)

Conventional factory farm meat and dairy also lack nutrients because of the living conditions of the animals.  Cows and chickens are meant to be grazing freely in sunlit pastures, eating fresh grass and insects.  This lifestyle supplies the vitamin D, vitamin A, and other essential vitamins and minerals that eggs, meat, and dairy are known for.  However, the majority of animals raised in the US for food are fed genetically modified corn and grains, and as previously mentioned, they spend the majority of their lives confined to cages.  This is not only disastrous to the environment, but also to the animals and the humans who eventually consume them.

Raw, free-range, pastured meat, dairy, and eggs are different.

The animals are treated well; they’re free to roam and graze; they’re absorbing plenty of vitamin D from the sun, and antibiotics are generally unneeded.  These are powerful high-vitamin foods that contain easily absorbed important nutrients.  We have been told for years that fat is bad, but good fats (from these animal sources, and also from plant sources like unrefined organic coconut oil, avocado, and nuts) are essential to proper brain function, and they can help stave off hunger, supporting healthy eating habits and weight-loss goals.  Access to free-range, pastured and raw animal products is not always easy, but you can check this resource to see if there’s a small, ethical farm near you.  More people in more cities across the US need to be demanding clean, ethical foods in their local grocery stores, so now is the time to start a grassroots movement if there are limited options in your area.

Related: Gluten-Free: It’s an Evolution

It’s clear that food is the ultimate, best source of vitamins and minerals that are essential to a healthy life.

However, there are instances where vitamins and supplements might be necessary for healing, or to compliment an already healthy diet.  In that case, food-based vitamins are the best option.  Over the years researching various supplements, I have found a few high-quality sources that I turn to when I need a boost in my diet, and I also recommend them as a wellness coach to people on a healing journey.  The following are some suggestions of supplements for vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in your diet.

General multivitamin

A multivitamin should be considered by people with limited access to fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables or free-range animal products, people with specific therapeutic needs, women before, during, and after pregnancy, or anyone looking to improve their general health. In a multivitamin you will find essentials like zinc, calcium, selenium, vitamins C and D, iron, among many others.

Another option instead of a multivitamin is determining your individual vitamin needs. For example, someone with autoimmune issues might benefit from taking a high dose of vitamin D3. Someone who gets sick often should increase their vitamin C. People with mood imbalances and fatigue can benefit from focusing on B vitamins. Someone with anxiety may notice a difference after taking a magnesium supplement. A multivitamin is an easy one-pill option, but it doesn’t focus on an individual person’s needs. I personally have never noticed a difference in energy or mood while taking a multivitamin. I have noticed a tremendous difference when taking specific supplements, based on my personal needs. Below you will find a list of various supplements and their benefits.

Fish Oil

Cod liver oil and fish oil are nutrient-dense sources of crucial Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins K, D and A, and healthy fats.  These powerful supplements can be beneficial for so many issues, including healing teethhealing the gut, easing anxiety, depression, and ADHD.


Magnesium is an important mineral that is often lacking, which can produce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and fatigue among other issues. Parents who are finding themselves stressed and overwhelmed by parenthood might want to consider a supplement. I take a shot of magnesium drink when I am feeling stressed, and I find it very effective.  Magnesium can also be beneficial for children with sleep or anxiety issues; I use magnesium oil for massages at bedtime. Magnesium-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, dried herbs, real cocoa powder, flax and sesame seeds, nuts, and molasses.


Folate is an incredibly important vitamin for pregnant women, with a long history of preventing birth defects.  Folate is the food version of Folic Acid, and the names are often used interchangeably.   Most of us have heard about the benefits of Folic Acid, but Folic Acid, as the synthetic form, comes with risks.  Folate does the job, without the risks.  Choose a food-based prenatal vitamin (not synthetic), and look for “folate” instead of “folic acid.” If you have questions, contact the vitamin manufacturer to ask if they use folate or folic acid. The importance of this cannot be overstated, as more and more research points to the necessity of folate instead of folic acid. This is especially true for those with potential MTHFR genetic mutations. Signs of MTHFR include lip or tongue tie, hypospadias, sacral dimple, family history of miscarriage, family history of mental health issues, and more. If a person has the MTHFR genetic mutation, they cannot absorb B vitamins correctly. Taking a methylfolate supplement is crucial. Learn more about this topic here. Folate-rich foods include dark leafy greens, beans and lentils, cauliflower, citrus fruit, squash, celery, seeds and nuts.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can help treat cold and flu, and has been shown to be successful in the treatment of cancer as well.  Camu Camu is a food-based source of vitamin C, derived from the fruit of the same name.  It is a much more effective medicine than the plethora of synthetic vitamin C supplements out there.  Vitamin C-rich foods include peppers, thyme and parsley, guava, kiwi, leafy greens, oranges, and strawberries. A high dosage of vitamin C can help prevent influenza. Taking vitamin C “to bowel tolerance” is a good way to see how much vitamin C your body needs.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are essential for energy and good mental health; lack of B vitamins can cause fatigue, migraines, depression, anxiety, stress, memory loss, and worsened PMS.  A Complete B Complex is a good choice.  Vitamin B-rich foods include liver, clams, oysters, mussels, fish, raw cheese, free-range eggs, nuts, seeds, and veggies. Another option for B vitamins is desiccated liver. Liver is rich in vitamins, but not palatable to everyone. Desiccated liver tablets are a great option which can help boost mood and energy.

Vitamin D3

D3 is a food-based version of D vitamins. Again, avoiding synthetic vitamins is important. Vitamin D3 can make a tremendous difference in autoimmune disorders, and the immune system in general. Previous vitamin D dosage recommendations have been vastly underestimated. Vitamin D can help prevent cold and flu, and is essential for anyone with an autoimmune disorder, as vitamin D levels are typically low in people with these issues. Vitamin D is important for bone health and can also help protect against cancer.


Herbs are also a powerful addition to a healthy diet, and can be found in supplement form.  Herb Pharm is my favorite brand for herbal tinctures, which include nutrient-dense options like anise, alfalfa, green tea, turmeric, echinacea, and St. John’s Wort. Herbal teas like nettle, oatstraw, and red raspberry leaf are great options.

While it is easy to get caught up in the wide variety of supplements available, learning to regard fresh, whole food as your medicine is the ultimate gift to yourself and your family.

I’ve only taken a product or pill regularly when I’ve been in the midst of a healing journey.  I turn to Camu Camu, Green Pasture’s fish oil, probiotics, and herbs when my kids or I feel a cold or infection coming on.  I keep calm with the magnesium drink, and improve energy with B vitamins and kombucha. The best steps I’ve ever taken to improve my general health are fermenting foods and planting a garden. Supplements should be considered for filling gaps in the diet, rather than a one-pill answer to health and wellness.

Image Credit: Honolulu Media

Featured Image Credit: Andy Simmons

129 thoughts on “Vitamins and Supplements: Everything You Need to Know

  1. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article
    writer for your site. You have some really good posts and
    I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off,
    I’d absolutely love to write some content for your blog in exchange
    for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested.
    Many thanks!

  2. At ALNA Management, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide a superior property management experience to each and every client that walks through our door. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for – whether you need a single family home or a luxury apartment or something in between, we won’t rest until we bring it to you. We treat all of our tenants like the true members of the ALNA Management family that they are, going above and beyond the call of duty to provide access to all of the features and amenities they need when they need it the most. Huntahome founded in 2008, provides full service property management solutions for real estate investors & property owners. Our passion for real estate and the success of our clients drives our growth. You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience. Good News! This rental is accepting applications through Act now and your $ purchase will include 9 additional FREE application submissions to participating properties. 71 Pineapple St is an apartment located in Kings County, the 11201 ZIP Code, and the attendance zone. Good News! This rental is accepting applications through Act now and your $ purchase will include 9 additional FREE application submissions to participating properties. 86 apartments in Brooklyn Subway stations are scattered throughout Midwood and provide a 45-minute ride to Manhattan. Residents can drive south on Ocean Parkway to enjoy a day at the beach, and students appreciate easy access to Brooklyn College, set just outside of Midwood. This diverse melting pot provides a little bit of everything when searching for a restaurant, shop, or grocer.

  3. Every weekend i used to pay a visit this web page, for the reason that i want enjoyment, for the
    reason that this this web site conations really pleasant funny data too.

  4. Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too.
    This type of clever work and exposure! Keep up the excellent
    works guys I’ve included you guys to my personal

  5. Greetings! I’ve been reading your web site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go
    ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Texas!
    Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic job!

  6. Hi there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are
    you using for this site? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues
    with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for
    another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of
    a good platform.

  7. My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from
    PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on several websites for about a year and am anxious about switching to another platform.
    I have heard very good things about
    Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it?
    Any kind of help would be really appreciated!

  8. Your sidewalks, driveways, and patios deal with a lot. Concrete is resilient — But it needs some help to stay that way. Enter WNC Wash Pro’s! Hot Water Pressure Washing & Soft Wash has been keeping Tallahassee clean since 2012. We are a professional, fully insured, and locally owned company, offering many types of exterior cleaning services for residential and commercial customers. Contact us for a free estimate! — Mark W. Our state of the art pressure washing equipment is portable and require’s no water or power connections allowing us to wash hard to reach places like alleyways, tall structures and parking lots. Have you ever thought you were done cleaning before realizing that you missed a spot? Now imagine missing a spot when you’re cleaning an entire building. Dirt and grime can get into crevices, and it’s easy to miss them when you don’t provide pressure washing all the time. The Extreme Clean professionals know how to spot hidden dirt. Professionals can see and remove what others miss. James Hardie exterior trim and siding products do not crumble and break down as easily as other fiber cement products. In the video above, is a demonstration of a different type of fiber cement siding versus James Hardie siding. Our reliable siding contractors want you to enjoy the look of your home and boost its value as well. With our siding services, including siding repair, you can rest assured your home always looks great and is properly protected from the elements. We work closely with our customers to ensure they’re fully satisfied with the result of our work, providing durable workmanship using the best materials for a job well done. Siding is more than just panels. Properly installed siding will increase the value of your home or commercial property, as well as make it more energy-efficient. Siding doesn’t only protect some of the most important parts of your home, it also plays a large part in how well-insulated your home is when using heating or cooling.

  9. This design is wicked! You most certainly know how to
    keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your
    videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well,
    almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really loved what you had
    to say, and more than that, how you presented it.

    Too cool!

  10. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after browsing through a
    few of the posts I realized it’s new to me.
    Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it
    and checking back often!

  11. Just wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity to your submit is simply spectacular and that
    i can assume you are knowledgeable in this subject. Fine together with your permission allow me
    to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with imminent post.

    Thanks one million and please keep up the rewarding work.

  12. Best bitcoin betting websites generally offer better, bigger, and more frequent bonuses than traditional online betting sites. Why? Log in to the site and create an account by submitting your email address and generating a unique password. From there, you’ll select the currency you’d like to exchange for Bitcoin and send the funds through to the exchange (as a transfer). Once the fiat has cleared you’ll place your order to convert it to Bitcoin. The exchange will then convert your fiat to Bitcoin. From there, you’ll submit the unique wallet address you’d like the Bitcoin to be sent to and once it’s cleared into your crypto wallet, you’ll send it through to the Bitcoin slots casino of your choosing. But before you do that, you’re going to need to register an online casino account. Unfortunately, since paysafecard is a prepaid method you can’t make withdrawals with the payment option. There are a number of alternatives however which you can find here on our website to learn all about – including web wallets which you can sign up for quickly and easily. paysafecard is accepted at over 3,500 websites, including a huge number of online casinos. As an alternative to eWallets and other commonly used payment methods, paysafecard is popular amongst players who value anonymity and security in their online gambling transactions. Accepted by numerous reputable online casinos, Paysafecard is a convenient and fast prepaid deposit option. It allows you to fund your casino account without sharing your personal or financial details with the casino of your choice. As a prepaid card, Paysafecard can be bought online or at over 500,000 sales outlets in 40 countries, which means that you can use it even if you don’t own a bank account or credit card.

  13. I like what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve added you guys to
    my own blogroll.

  14. Admiring the time and energy you put into your website and in depth
    information you offer. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated
    rehashed material. Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my
    Google account.

  15. I blog frequently and I seriously appreciate your content.

    This article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once a week.
    I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

  16. The Galaksino Casino’s money transfer is handled by Trustly, a native of Sweden, which acts as an intermediary between the casino and the player’s online bank. The service is secure and popular, and it’s no wonder it’s widespread. Bank IDs are also used to handle player identification. Therefore, you do not need to send a copy of your passport or other identity cards to Galaksino Casino, even for the first withdrawal. Speed can be found in both deposits and withdrawals, so Trustly washes most of the other payment methods by the way. Saatat törmätä kasinoarvostelujen ja bonuskuvausten yhteydessä myös termeihin no deposit bonus tai free money no deposit. Ne tarkoittavat käytännössä samaan asiaa kuin talletusvapaa casinobonus – ainoa ero on vain nimi. Nämä englanninkieliset termit ovat jääneet käyttöön monilta kansainvälisiltä pelisivustoilta, jotka alkoivat tarjota tätä uudentyyppistä bonusta ennen suomalaisia kasinoita. Rizk Casino on pelipaikka, jossa läpinäkyvyys on ensiarvoisen tärkeää. Tätä korostetaankin monessa eri kohdassa. Pääperiaatteekseen Rizk kasino mainitsee “No Bullshit”in, mikä siis suomeksi tarkoittaa, ettei mitään kakan jauhantaa sallita. Asiakas saa siis juuri sen, mitä hänelle kasino lupaakin, ilman pienellä präntättyjä, piilotettuja ehtoja. Esimerkiksi minipeli Wheel of Rizkista saatavat palkinnot ovat täysin kierrätysvapaita, joten hommat on todellakin pidetty reiluina ja asiakkaan kannalta todella järkevinä. Rizk tunnetaan erinomaisesta vaihtuvien kampanjoiden valikoimastaan. Sivuston Rizk Insider -osioon on kerätty infoa niistä ja muita mielenkiintoisia ja viihdyttäviä kasinouutisia. Rizkin kilpailuista ja arvonnoista voit voittaa vaikkapa upean matkapaketin tai tuotepalkintoja, puhumattakaan messevistä käteispoteista.

Comments are closed.