The simple and short answer is, yes you do.
Broad spectrum supplements like multivitamins, which contain a variety of vitamins and minerals are good in some circumstances, but they do not replace real food. Even good quality multivitamins like Mercola’s Wholefood Multivitamin or Primal Blueprint’s Master Formula don’t replace them fully. The reason for this is that there is much more to being healthy than vitamins and minerals.
Vegetables and fruit contain lots of other nutrients. They are all very high in a group of nutrients called polypenols, which are what makes green tea and blueberries so exceptionally healthy. They contain fibre, which helps to slow down the digestion of nutrients, which is important for absorption. They contain co-factors and metabolites of vitamins, which help with absorption and the activity of nutrients. For example, there are over 100 forms of vitamin D that we know of, yet supplements only every contain 1 – vitmain D3. Now vitamin D3 is a very important vitamin, but in isolation it cannot be as effective as when taken in combination with other forms. This is also why natural minimally processed cod liver oils are better than the highly processed and filtered ones.
The multivitamins mentioned above do try and include some of these polyphenols, include higher quality forms of vitamins, and even powdered vegetables in their formula to try and get the full scope of nutrients. This all makes them very good multivitamin supplements, but they don’t replace vegetables.
Supplements such as multivitamins should be seen as supplements. This means that they supplement your diet, not replace parts of it. This of course isn’t to say that supplements are useless or pointless. Today we are bombarded with environmental toxins, high levels of stress and nutrient depleted foods. Our need for nutrients like vitamins and minerals is higher now than ever before. However, for some people, it simply isn’t possible to regularly eat lots of fresh fruit/ vegetables every day. This is when multivitamins come in. Although they are inferior to real vegetables, they do contain lots of important nutrients that your body still needs, and help to support the body when your diet is lacking.
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