Multi Vitamins and Minerals...

Perhaps the most commonly asked questions I receive are in reference to vitamins and minerals. So here: are vitamins important? Completely. Take circumcision for example. I realize circumcision isn't a vitamin, but there's a vitamin K, and it's responsible for blood clotting. Furthermore, vitamin K is produced from bacteria in the colon. So when a baby is first born, it takes about 7 days to build up enough colon bacteria to provide sufficient levels of vitamin K for effective blood clotting. This is why God cast His law Abraham's way: on the 7th day, you shall abolish baby Jew foreskin. Something like that. Maybe not exact words. But God certainly didn't want His chosen children to bleed to death from premature foreskin absenteeism.

So yes, vitamins play a critical role in your life. As do minerals, but the word vitamin actually stems from the word "vital." That's not fascinating or important though. And before we stray too far from vitamin K, you know how dogs sometimes eat their own poop? This is usually because they unknowingly want some vitamin K. Granted sometimes they just like chewing wet bang feces. But usually it's a vitamin K thing.

All in all, vitamins and minerals both are super important. And by keeping yourself out of deficiency, you avoid all sorts of scurvy like diseases. The implication that's taken from this is generally "I should supplement my diet with a multi vitamin/mineral pill." Despite how logical this seems, it isn't necessarily the right conclusion to come to.

First off, taking huge doses of most vitamins and minerals has more risks than benefits by a considerable margin. Second, it's generally pretty challenging to become deficient. If you restrict your intake of vitamins or minerals, your body becomes very efficient at maintaining adequate levels. This happens through your body increasing potency in the absorption and conservation of them. As such, it's unlikely that restriction will cause deficiency in any reasonable amount of time- and deficiency is really the only concern.

Here: here's an experiment for you to conduct. Get a rat and try to make it deficient in something. Try copper. You can buy 100% copper-free rat feed (expensive) and give them highly filtered, copper-free water (not as expensive) for months and months without changing their copper levels at all. Then you can even go as far as giving them ingestible chemicals to force the copper into their urine. A couple months later they'll be getting pretty low, but not quite deficient. And you think they would be considering there isn't even a vestigial trace of copper in their food or water and they're ingesting chemicals to force its excretion. The problem is once in a while they lick the cage. And because they're extremely efficient at absorbing and maintaining copper at this point, that's all they need.

Think about how this relates to you. You put spoons in your mouth and probably eat cereal from time to time. In this case, deficiencies become challenging to obtain. Your body doesn't treat vitamins and minerals that much different than the little rat bodies. If you ingest a ton of something, your system will be wasteful with it in order to combat excess. If you ingest very little of something, your system will become overly conservative to combat deficiency. And conservative is not the same thing as deficiency. There are no side effects to conservation.

So you do have my permission to take a multi vitamin/mineral, but you don't have my permission to worry about deficiency while not taking them. Unless you consciously try to instill deficiency into yourself for months on end, it's not a real practical concern you should have. Except maybe with iron. You can watch iron intake without looking like a fool. There actually can be some risk of deficiency there. Most everything else, just eat food from time to time.

Overall summary: taking vitamins isn't not healthy. Nor is it worth very much money. Make sense?