Most people are overfed and under nourished.
Here is a video that explains the difference between whole food nutritional supplements and synthetic "vitamins" found at retail stores.
Whole Food Nutrition vs. Synthetic Vitamins
Whole food means the vitamins are the way they are found in food, complete with co-factors, enzymes, phytonutients, and organic mineral activators. The molecular structure and biochemical actions are the same as if you ate that specific food.
Synthetic means the "vitamin" is a chemical that is reconstructed to have the same molecular structure of one part of the vitamin complex. The sources of the chemicals that are turned into "vitamins" are not legally required to be given. Vitamin B1 is sometimes made from coal tar derivative and d-alpha tocopherol (synthetic Vitamin E) has been made from byproducts used by Eastman Kodak to make film.
Look at the picture of Vitamin C above. As you can see, there are many parts to the Vitamin C complex (molecule). This is whole food vitamin C, like you would get from an orange. The "Vitamin C" most people get is actually just ascorbic acid, which is just the protective shell of the vitamin C complex. The ascorbic acid is made in a laboratory usually out of corn syrup.
Synthetic (crystalline) vitamins are processed with chemicals, solvents, heat, and distillations. They do this to make the "purest" form of the vitamin, but that is not the way it started out in nature. Therefore, your body does not know what to do with this foreign substance and usually excretes it. Worse than that, the body may recognize the partial substance and try to steal nutrients from other areas of the body to make a complete substance. For instance, your body may recognize ascorbic acid as being part of whole food vitamin C complex, and steal tyrosinase from your skin to complete the molecule to a usable form. This is at the detriment of the organ that is having nutrients stolen from it.
Tyrosinase helps your skin cells create pigment (or tan). If you are taking synthetic "vitamin C", your skin will not have enough tyrosinase which could leave you at a higher risk for skin cancer. This is just one example for how synthetic vitamins can do more harm than good.
What can you do that will help you toward your goal of optimal health?
1. Nourish your body with whole foods, that are minimally processed by people.
Foods that come from the earth are easy for our bodies to process. They "burn cleaner" and do not leave chemical residues in our systems that tax our livers and other internal organs.
2. Eat healthy fats that help your body function properly.
The idea that our diets should be devoid of fat is absurd. Healthy fats like Omega 3's are necessary for our cells to maintain structure and function properly.
3. Don't count calories, count nutrients.
Myth: The quality of the food you eat doesn't matter as long as you are eating the proper amount of calories. This is probably one of the most devastating ideas that has ever come by the human diet. Remember when your mother told you "You are what you eat", that is a true statement. Your body uses food for fuel and repair. If you eat food that is not whole or nourishing it is like using replacement parts on a car that already have 100,000 miles on them. Your body can not burn "fuel" with impurities in, much the same as your car can not go with water in its gas tank.
4. Drink lots of water.
I know this is common advise, but there is a good reason for it. Look at all the functions of water in the body.
- Regulates body temperature
- Moistens skin around the mouth, nose, and eyes
- Protects and cushions organs
- Helps prevent constipation
- Carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells
- Helps the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products
- Dissolves minerals to make them accessible to the cells