Vitamin Guide: Everything You Need To Know

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The nutritionist to the stars breaks down everything you need to know about vitamins!

Have you ever walked down the vitamin aisle of your local Trader Joe's (heart you TJ!) only to be left utterly confused and defeated? Lets be real - trying to navigate the vast world of vitamins is intimidating enough to make me skip taking them altogether. But after chatting with Dr. Oz Garcia, I've come to realize just how bad of an idea that is. And after you read what he has to say, I'm sure you'll be singing a similar tune.

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With all the vitamins currently on the market, is there such a thing as taking too many vitamins?

There's such a thing as too much of anything. You can have too much water, too much food, too much fun, so the same goes for any supplements. It's important to read all supplement and food labels and not go over the recommended daily intake.

Are there any vitamins we can skip taking because our daily diets should provide enough?

Our diets should be enough if we actually ate the way we're supposed to. Most of America is so unhealthy. We have obesity, 40 million Americans on antidepressants and a huge increase in leukemia. The prediction is that by 2020 close to half the population will be facing cancer in their lifetime, and by 2030 more than half will be obese.

Supplementation is a vast landscape, made up of a vast field of products. The problem is people are just uneducated about their diets and the use of vitamins.

Which vitamins do you think people get too little of (especially young women)?

Vitamin D - It's like super vitamin! It's crucial to regulating your immune system. People don't seem to get an adequate amount in their diet, especially in the winter when there isn't enough sunlight.

Can taking multivitamins replace the nutrients you aren't getting from consuming a balanced meal?

No, not at all - no supplement will ever replace food! Vitamins themselves have so many chemical properties that there's no way you can get the same effects you would from food. That's why they're called supplements; they should be used in addition to balanced meals! You need to know how food works and how it will affect your energy and metabolism.

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Is there any difference in how the body absorbs vitamins, depending on what form you take?

Supplements come in hundreds of different forms - powders, gels, liquids, shakes, capsules, so it depends on what product you're taking for what. Not all supplements are the same. It's just like buying a car. They're all different, but it just depends on what purpose you need it for.

Omega-3 has been a major buzzword in the health arena - what exactly does it do and how much should we be taking?

Omega 3s are a family of oils typically found in seafood and plant foods so the DHA/EPA are really good and important for brain function, heart function, inflammation control, healthy skin and healthy hair.

Does taking huge doses of Vitamin C before or during a cold really work to cure it faster?

It depends on a lot of things - which Vitamin C, how much, when, the person's immune system. So it actually can help, but it depends on the type of virus.

What's the best way to go about deciphering all the complicated words on Vitamin labels?

They key is to get a good vitamin book. The Vitamin Prescription by Dr. Richard Firshein's is a great one. It will tell you everything you need to know about vitamins.

How long after the expiration date can you keep taking vitamins?

It's really just that they may start to lose potency, but besides that, you really don't have to worry too much about the label's expiration date.

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