Danielle   Lithe Instructor and trained chef, Danielle Ingerman is debunking common food and nutrition myths by giving you facts about sugar, fat—even comfort food—and more, so you can feel good about diggin' the foods that you love.  Danielle is studying to be a Registered Dietitian at Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions.  Her favorite class is Micronutrient Metabolism, and she's currently interning at CHOP and at a private practice in Trenton, NJ.  I'm thrilled that she's shedding some fresh and passionate "Eating Lithe" insight here on Fit.Hip.Healthy!  Today we're talking suppliments:  

Is it really working or is it simply magic? No I’m not talking about exercise (Lithe is really working), I’m talking about supplements. I sat and watched my mother pour out about 100 different pills in nondescript bottles and finally I asked her what they were for. Surprise, they were for everything. Biotin, ginseng, calcium - the vitamin industry is booming and there have never been more pills to take, ever. After all the outrage surrounding Dr. Oz and his claims around his "magic beans," a lot of focus has shifted to the validity behind what these all natural vitamins really do. Longer life? Hair growth? Weight loss? How much of it is reality and how much is fantasy? It's a very loaded topic.

Although, I'm far from a medical doctor, I do know this about the nutrients in the body: unless you are blood deficient, your body will naturally replenish itself. A wise doctor I work for gently calls it "pissing in the ocean." Your body will only use a predetermined amount and the rest you will usually excrete through urine. Actually, about 90 percent of the nutrients we may lack can be found not on the shelves but … dun dun dun: IN YOUR DIET.

But … don’t some people feel better when taking vitamins? Even if they aren't lacking them as per outline on their labs? Some doctors and dietitians say that it’s a matter of the mind. When we set aside time to actually take these supplements it means we're already making health a priority which may come with many other things. Simply taking supplements may reduce stress and anxiety levels surrounding the issue which may result in let's say a reduction in a hair loss issue. Taking your vitamin C may mean that you're also cleaning up your diet and exercising a bit more, so that you feel better. Most likely it's not the vitamin C, it’s the lifestyle change that's causing the shift. Every body is different and responds differently - I can have an espresso at 9PM and fall asleep by 10PM, yet my mother could travel cross-country in a Flintstones car and still have energy to hit the gym (yes, we spend too much time together). I’m curious … how do my Lithers feel about this? Anyone else warming up the ocean?

Image of Lithe Instructor Danielle Ingerman wearing Lithe via Dom





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I work for a company that makes vitamins! (among many other brands you see out on the grocery store shelves!) This is my personal opinion and does not reflect what my company might think, I believe there are certain times when a supplement might be helpful. For example, as a vegetarian and an active woman of child-bearing age, my iron is frequently too low. I could scarf up all the iron rich leafy greens that I want and still not up my iron levels enough. Do I need extra vitamin C? Probably not - I eat enough fruit and veggies to get plenty as it is. I think a multi is generally fine to "fill in" what I maybe don't get from my diet, I don't think most people need 10 bottles of supplements lining their shelves. I think you need to understand the vitamins and mineral that come for YOUR diet and adjust with a supplement if you're deficient on something but in CONJUNCTION with your health care provider's advice.

Notably, there have been some recent studies about multi-vitamins and whether you need them. One of the main ones said you don't need them - but if you read it, it really says - you don't need them if you're diet is full of a variety of fruit and vegetables. While we Lithers are more focused on eating variety of natural foods, many in the American population are not - and probably don't get the required amounts of vitamins from their diets.

Judy, I agree, there are definitely supplements that are useful in certain cases. While blanket supplements may not be necessary, there are genetic, age, and other conditions in which supplements are helpful, even if you are eating your varied greens and veggies.

I spent 6 years as a vegetarian and as a woman naturally was having a lot of trouble getting iron into my blood stream. There is a lot of science behind it that I won't bore you with - but after making changes in my diet and doing everything right by the book (I hate taking pills), I was still so sick I had dark circles under my eyes and trouble getting out of bed. It took adding iron supplements and vitamin c supplements to my diet to get me back to health. I also take biotin because my nails are incredible thin (again, genetics) and I do see a marked difference when taking the supplement vs. when I don't. I have really upped my healthy eating because of Lithe and have certainly noticed changes there too, but in some cases, there is use for supplements and doctors have reasoning for prescribing them to their patients. Blanket supplements, just for supplement sake are silly, yes. However, as Judy said, not all of America (and the rest of the world) has the income, time, or maybe will to make kale a priority - and supplements can be very helpful in those cases. And those who do, may still have medical needs that are addressed with supplements. The key world is SUPPLEMENT, not REPLACEMENT. Nothing in the world of science and nutrition is "magic."

Proper diet and exercise are always the best ways to remain healthy however we also live in a time when water and air pollution are serious threats to our health. Our ancestors weren't exposed to the level of toxins that we are exposed to in industrialized nations therefore supplementing antioxidants can assist in reducing free radicals.

It comes down to what your doctor or nutritionist says, many times they recommend a multivitamin or other supplements.

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