Why it is Better to get your Vitamins from Food

A registered dietitian explains why it tends to be more beneficial to get your vitamins from food instead of supplements.

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CLEVELAND – With so many vitamins and supplements available these days, you may be wondering which ones you actually need.

But according to Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic, sometimes it may be better to get those nutrients from food.

“We have plenty of studies showing that when we look at food as the bioavailable source of certain nutrients of vitamins and minerals, they tend to be one of the best options,” said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick said for example, you can control more of what you get from eating wild fatty fish than taking fish oil. And that’s because the supplement industry is not regulated the way the food industry is.

She said if you are looking to get more vitamins and minerals in your diet, focus on having more colorful foods. She recommends including six different colors in your meals every day.

It might seem like a lot, but it’s pretty easy. You could add blueberries to your oatmeal for one meal and then have a cup of coffee which is full of antioxidants. That’s three colors right there.

Of course, there are situations where taking a supplement may be necessary.

“Vitamin D is typically poorly absorbed through food and so a D3 supplement is more mimicking the UV rays of the sun, that’s where we get the best vitamin D. And so, a supplement for vitamin D is going to be recommended there,” Kirkpatrick explained.

Kirkpatrick said if you are unsure whether you are deficient in certain vitamins, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider first.

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