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I really dislike multivitamins. Don’t get me wrong though-in theory it sounds like a great idea. Get all of your essential nutrients in one pill everyday?! Who wouldn’t want that? How much easier could it get to be healthy? Well, that is the problem- there is no easy answer to replenishing nutrients. You would never, ever find a food or drink in nature that has every single vitamin and mineral you need in one place (although nettle infusions come pretty close- we’ll get into that later!).
Bio-Availability of Multivitamins
Nutrients have co-factors and antagonists. (check out my post on nutrient interactions to see this- it’s pretty cool!) In food, these nutrients have a proper balance between them, as well as added benefits like enzymes, phytochemicals, and obviously macro-nutrients like fat, carbohydrates, and protein. With a multivitamin you are usually getting at least 100% of the RDA of 20+ nutrients all in 1 or 2 pills (and most multis out there are purely synthetic garbage that the body truly doesn’t even recognize properly) and that is all you are getting- just the nutrient. No co-factors, no guarantee of absorption, and Since a concoction like this doesn’t even exist in nature, the body just has no idea what to do with most of these nutrients.
So what is the solution?
- Focus on Gut Health– we need sufficient stomach acid and bile to digest a lot of our nutrients and to take care of nasty things like bacteria and parasites. Using either a probiotic or eating fermented foods is essential as well to help repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Healing the any gut inflammation with collagen/gelatin or bone broth, or even aloe vera can be helpful as well.
- Heal your Liver– The liver in involved in nutrient assimilation. Many times when nutritional deficiencies aren’t improving it is because there is some liver dysfunction going on. The liver helps especially with processing the fat soluble nutrients, and it is needed for regulating copper and iron.
- Nutrient Dense Foods- Fruits, vegetables; full fat foods like butter, ghee, and coconut oil; organic/grass-fed whole milk dairy products (if tolerated); fermented foods; eggs; grass-fed meat; beef liver every so often if you can handle it! Figuring out your person deficiencies makes it even easier to adjust your diet to benefit you more.
- Herbal Infusions– Nettles and Red Raspberry leaf are the 2 of the most popular choices. Nettle infusions are full of vitamin K, iron, copper, magnesium and calcium, and they help the kidneys, liver, and adrenals. They are truly the ultimate multivitamin that nature has given us.
- And the same thing goes for Prenatals– nothing beats REAL food during pregnancy. The Nourishing our Children blog has a great outline for a diet for pregnant and nursing mothers. The only major change I would make is to add herbal infusions as well, especially nettles and red raspberry leaf.