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Vitamin Supplements: The Verdict Is In… Toss Them Out

Vitamin Supplements: The Verdict Is In… Toss Them Out

It was back in August I first made the case that staking your health on traditional supplements isn’t really a part of the journey to vitality. (See: Vitamin Supplements – Are They Ruining Your Health?)

And according to a recent study, it’s true.

Just two weeks ago, a bold editorial published in the medical journal, Annals of Internal Medicine announced traditional vitamin and mineral supplements really are a waste of money… and may be ruining your health to boot!

“Enough is Enough”

The editorial was written by  five leading researchers, including two from Johns Hopkins University, who conducted two rigorous studies that led them to declare “case closed” on the efficacy of supplements. In part it reads:

The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.

This message is especially true for the general population with no clear evidence of micronutrient deficiencies, who represent most supplement users in the United States and in other countries. 

And this just further validates the results seen from a plethora of additional studies that have taken place over the last decade.

Sorry, vitamin industry. Nutrition just can’t come from a pill.

But where can it come from?

Herbs: Our Answer to Nutrient Deficiency

If there is one disconcerting truth the vitamin industry has on their side it’s the state of our soil.

Our food is testing significantly lower in nutrients than it did 40+ years ago, which is the result of steadily declining soil quality. Furthermore, our methods of processing, preserving and preparing our food remove more and more of these nutrients vital for life.

Dr. Oz would happily refer us to his vitamin wheel for all our nutrient needs, but what to do when our typical fare  isn’t nourishing our bodies the way it used to?

Instead, consider herbs.

Herbs can play such a huge role in our health and well-being.  They are more than just a culinary delight, they are a valuable tool for our betterment. And they do a swell job at pleasing the palate, healing illness and nourishing the body… all at the same time! 

Even despite our poor soil, herbs contain abundant sources of vitamins and minerals.

The most nutrient-dense herbs – called nutritive herbs – are immensely valuable! These herbs provide proteins, carbohydrates and fats, along with significant amounts of vitamins and minerals necessary for good nutrition.

Consider adding some new herbs to your stash like:

  • alfalfa (high in vitamins A and C)
  • nettle (high in calcium, zinc, magnesium)
  • oat straw (high in minerals: chromium, magnesium, silicon, sodium)
  • barley grass (high in phosphorus, riboflavin, thiamine)
  • rose hips (high in vitamins A and C, sodium, niacin)

Care for Some Tea?

Integrating herbs into your diet may seem a bit challenging, especially if you’re broadening your culinary horizons to include herbs other than basil or parsley.

However, living the herbal lifestyle can be as easy as making a cup of tea. 

Consider making your own multi-vitamin in the form of a daily multi-vitamin tea guaranteed to leave your body feeling more nourished than from anything out of a bottle. Use this handy chart for guidance:

CompleteTeaChartAdditionally incorporate fresh or dried herbs into your every day recipes. The three leading nutrient-dense herbs mentioned above make wonderful additions to nearly any dish since they are mildly flavored.

For inspiration, consider browsing our recipes!

Nutrient Deficiency IS Real

Amid the flurry of media hype, take care not to throw your health in the trash along with your bottle of vitamins.  Nutrient deficiency can be a real problem for many who are not careful to pursue a well-rounded whole-foods diet filled with high-nutrient herbs and valuable (albiet unpopular) foods like cod liver oil, sardines and Brussels sprouts.

And by the way, Brussels sprouts really aren’t so bad! Roast them with bacon, olive oil, salt and pepper and you’ll never have need to wince at the thought of these little brains again!

For instance, in the U.S. there are substantial deficiencies in vitamin D (due to a lack of exposure to sunlight and vitamin-D rich foods like cod liver oil) and iron (largely on account of diet). Consider making a point to add foods to your diet that are rich in these nutrients!

Lastly, for pregnant and/or nursing mothers, it is imperative you monitor your diet closely! A growing fetus and infant have nutrient demands of their own and your body will do it’s absolute best to meet those needs, even at the risk of depleting your own stores. Embellish your whole-foods diet with a few additional nutrient-dense meals (which can include herbs!) for optimal health. Read Rachel’s article for some great info and ideas!

All that to say, there is benefit to investing in a quality whole-food multivitamin (like those listed here) if you are concerned about your personal nutrition levels. Whole-food multivitamins were not specifically addressed in the recent report and why would they be?! They are the equivalent to consuming real food (fruits, vegetables and herbs) in normal amounts and the body assimilates those nutrients very well. I consider them to be a valuable option for addressing nutrient deficiencies.

Are you ready to end your relationship with traditional vitamin and mineral supplements? 

By the way, our post Vitamin Supplements: How to Make Your Own for Less has been nominated for the 2014 People’s Choice Award, given by the blogs The Woodwife’s Journal, The Entwife’s Journal, Bella Vista Farm, Blessed in Homemaking, Herban Momma, and Mind Body and Sole.

We are excited to hear that post has been helpful to so many! If you’ve found value in what you’ve read here at Nourishing Herbalist please consider clicking over and voting for us! You can cast a vote at each of the sites mentioned above! Thanks SO much!

Wildcrafting Wednesday People’s Choice Nominee

Additional Information

Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral SupplementsAnnals of Internal Medicine, December 17th, 2013.

Medical Journal: ‘Case Closed’ Against Vitamin PillsUSA Today, December 17, 2013.

Multivitamins Found to Have Little Benefit, Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2013.

Vitamins Lack Clear Health Benefits, May Cause Risks,, December 17, 2013.

EU to Outlaw Popular Vitamins, Daily Mail UK, December 28, 2013.