The reason why eating junk food plus taking vitamins doesn’t equal healthy heating is because of the calories.
Vitamins and minerals are only used to optimize and support the enzymes that support our cells and body. Calories, on the other hand, are what those enzymes work on, and result in our metabolism. so, even if our metabolic enzymes are at peak efficiency, you are still eating a large amount of calories that are not good for your health.
You Need Vegetables
If you aren’t eating vegetables, you are not getting any fiber, which your body needs in order to keep itself regular and you not ending up with a blockage. Scientists have also found that getting vitamins and the like from food is more efficacious than taking pills, though I’m not sure if they know why. Also the junk food diet normally has a lot of sugar and salt in it. And junk food is almost always in excess of FDA guidelines of bad macros.
Vitamins Are Normally Just Needed For Vitamins Deficiencies
A general rule of thumb is that taking supplements will take care of any deficiencies you may have, but you should do so as a last resort. Getting vitamins from plants has numerous advantages, one being that supplementing too much of specific vitamins can increase cancer risk.
For example, you might have heard that too much vitamin E can causes cancer. This is true…kind of. Vitamin E supplements contain usually one form of the vitamin, α-tocopherol. There is also γ-tocopherol and 6 other forms if I remember correctly. Getting these from food ensures the balance of these compounds is correct.
This is a quite common problem with taking individual supplements, for example taking too much calcium can inhibit uptake of zinc or iron.
So what are Typical Deficiencies in the American Population?
So what are typical deficiencies in the American population? Women are at greater risk for iron and vitamin A deficiency, especially if they are pregnant. Vegans & vegetarians may become b12 deficient. Black skinned people are at greater risk for vitamin D deficiency because the “melanin in the skin diminishes the ability to synthesize Vitamin D from the sun”. The elderly usually experience a decline in the gut absorption of micronutrients: “The age-related decline in the capacity to absorb calcium  appears due to a gut-resistance to the action of 1,25- dihydroxyvitamin D3 resulting from a loss of vitamin D receptors in the duodenal mucosa ”. The elderly may be at risk for vitamin b6, b12, d and calcium deficiency.
Some Vitamins Can Be Taken As Needed
Vitamin D helps my skin. Calcium and Magnesium stave off sore muscles after work out. Zinc has decreased the number and duration of any cold I get. I personally have found that I sleep better without a multivitamin or any other supplements. I think the vitamin D messes with my sleep, which is a shame because it makes me feel more energized during the day initially.
But vitamins can’t replace real food. That advice comes directly from my Doctor. Also vitamins that have 10x or more of your daily needs are a waste of money. Our bodies aren’t meant to absorb that much of any vitamin at one time so you are just paying for fancy pee.
Now a good all around multi vitamin that doesn’t have everything to the extreme but will fill in the gaps in your daily diet can’t hurt you. But if you are taking ANY other meds (OTC or script) talk to your doctor or the pharmacist first because sometimes there can be interactions.
Our Bodies Can Only Absorb So Much
There’s only so much vitamins your body can absorb/use, so if you get all of your vitamins from a healthy diet there’s not much they’ll add. However we don’t always eat a healthy diet, so in my mind it’s good to be sure you’re getting your basic vitamin needs. I use the Nature’s Way “Alive!” vitamin supplements and there’s also all kinds of things (like berry and mushroom extracts) that can’t be bad, and the extra vitamin B etc. do give me a boost of energy.
Food Sources Vitamins Are Better
Just as whole foods are better than processed foods. There are multi vitamins that are sourced from foods (which are more expensive) than the cheap CVS versions of multivitamins that use synthetically derived vitamins and mineral that are isolated from the enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, trace elements, activators and many other unknown or undiscovered factors all working together synergistically. It’s actually called the “entourage effect”.
Summary of Vitamin Use
- Common micronutrient deficiencies are: Vitamin D, iron, B6. Deficiency prevalence is population based (age, sex, skin color, lifestyle)
- Multivitamins are usually filled with the cheapest and worst forms of vitamins and minerals
- Reaching RDAs may prevent deficiency, but may not necessarily give you optimal levels
- Athletes need more micros than sedentary individuals
- Antinutrients and micronutrient antagonism severely hinder the absorption rates and bioavailability of MVs
- The minerals and vitamins found in vitamins won’t physically fit into a neat little pill
- Companies may lie on the contents label (goes for all supplements)
To be clear, just because something is a vitamin doesn’t mean it’s healthy. If they need to add supplements to foods, they almost certainly aren’t healthy foods. Depending on the existing nutritional content of your diet, you may not want a bunch of random supplements in something you’re buying.
For example, say you get 100% RDA of iron in your diet already, but you like to add some rice to you meals to get extra empty calories and you enjoy rice, but for some reason that rice has an additional 50% RDA of iron because some company arbitrarily decided to put it there.
Not to mention the issues with using poor (cheap) forms of supplements. Everything from being unusable by the body to being actually harmful. Just look at the bioavailability of many of the common forms in foods, multivitamins.
So, buying a version of a product without arbitrary supplements thrown in is far from ‘stupid’. That being said, if you’re buying a product that is almost certainly unhealthy, hopefully it’s for a calculated reason.
Research does not support the hypothesis that over-the-counter vitamins give health benefits. That is why you need to eat healthy food, not just junk food plus vitamins. This does not mean that targeted or isolated vitamin supplementation is useless! For example, vitamin D3 supplementation has been shown to increase hormonal levels of vitamin D. You should probably figure out what you’re deficient in and do targeted supplementation instead of buying a multi-vitamin that probably won’t do much for your health.