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Which vitamins are actually beneficial, taking into consideration my needs?

I am taking a range of supplements, in an attempt to help mend my health-related woes. I’m taking… MSM for skin and hair, Iron for a possible Iron deficiency (the symptoms fit), St. John’s Wort for mood stimulation, Vitamin C to help aid the iron absorption, Pantothenic Acid for adrenal fatigue, Ginseng and Gotu Kola for adrenal fatigue, and a multivitamin. A man who worked in a nutrition shop I go to suggested that I take the Pantothenic Acid and Ginseng & Gotu Kola for my adrenal fatigue, so that’s what I’ve been doing. However, it’s been a few weeks (perhaps I’m impatient) and I’m am not noticing a difference. I just bought a supplement designed specifically for Adrenal Health. So, I was wondering, should I take this supplement while continuing with the Pantothenic Acid and Ginseng & Gotu Kola? Also, how important are B Complex vitamins? I have heard they are a great help when energy is low, should I take B complex V’s also? The Iron I am taking has a certain amount of B, but should I take a B complex as an additional dietary supplement?


  • ZoeZoe

    Personally I wouldn’t bother with any of them. Raw food contains everything you need. Everything!

    How long have you been raw for? Maybe you feel tired because of detox and you need to give it some more time to get over this ‘hump’. Do you eat cacao? this stresses the adrenals…

    I am raw because it supplies my body with everything it needs, it is the simple and effective answer to any health problem for me.

    It is hard to make money out of raw food, this is why so many people are involved in peddling supplements etc, I have experiemnted with supplement and have found that although they may feel nice for a couple or three days, the effect wears off after a while, and just plain old raw is the thing that really does it for me. That MSM really messed my body up, so did maca, and cacao. The algaes are nice, but their effect doesn’t last more than a couple of weeks for me. What really makes me feel the best is just being 100% raw.

    As you detox, the mucoid plaque in your body will break down and you will be able to absorb more nutirents from you food. This will make you feel so great. Raw will heal you and nourish you, trust it, it works ;)

  • really? maca? hmm, for cacao I know, it is no good for me, at all,but I never considered maca too as a potential problem, as I still sometimes take some maca, suma, mesquite etc… but I m sure you re very right, the trick is the nuts, the oils, the cyder vinegar etc… I guess it s impossible to know if they re truly raw and they re probably not, should I replace then with avocados and vinegar with lemon, things like that? and not bother with the hybrids problems ( bananas, carrots beets…) and even with the organic stuff? it s getting too much to wonder about… :)

  • kevyn—it only gets complicated when we try to follow people’s recipes that aren’t paying attention.

    anything you get in the produce section is raw. anything you pick or grow yourself is raw. there is a lot to choose from, especially with summer farmers markets. =)

    rawbeg—i agree with zoe. supplements don’t make any sense to me. i am doubtful that our bodies can absorb anything that is so far removed from its WHOLE form. also, our understanding of nutrition is so poor that we actually don’t even know with certainty which mineral and/or vitamin contained in particular foods is responsible for what… better just eat your foods WHOLE, RAW, FRESH, and ORGANIC… or as close to that as you can get.

  • Honestly I believe that most people truly do not get enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D is absolutely necessary for the body to properly utilize/absorb Calcium and there are only a few foods that naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D – and vegans/raw foodists do not generally consume them.

    I was told by an orthopedic surgeon that I was severely deficient in Vitamin D. But I did happen to be in the hospital with a broken back at the time. Still, my severe deficiency diagnosis was surprising news to me because (before my injury) I had believed I got plenty of sunlight and I thought that my body could synthesize all I needed. Not Necessarily So apparently.

  • I have been eating to meet my body’s needs with food for about 3 years now, and there are still a few supplements I take from time to time: vitamin A – because people with diabetes can’t turn beta-carotene into vitamin A, vitamin D3 - because I don’t get enough sunlight & am very low on vitamin D, especially in the winter, B-complex – sometimes, because it’s super hard to get enough B vitamins from food when stressed (the body whips through B vitamins like crazy when under stress). For adrenal fatigue, I used to take “Adrenal Strength” (MegaFood Nutritional Therapeutix is the brand, and it’s a food based product) and my adrenals are happy now (compared to hardly being able to walk three blocks before I used it). There are a few others I have taken here & there – I have to say that everyone is in a different state of health or illness, and I wouldn’t have been able to recover like I did from a lot of things if I hadn’t had access to a few good quality supplements. Definitely eating raw can provide everything a person needs, but it isn’t always enough right away. I don’t believe in taking supplements like some people do to replace good nutrition & healthy living, but I believe that if they are good quality, supplements have their place. I also think that herbs are food and don’t really belong in the same category as synthetic vitamins. Interesting thing about cacao – I have used the Sunfood brand of raw cacao and it has been the thing that has healed some of my health problems, and now I don’t need it as much as I used to.

  • Vitamin D deficiency & adrenal fatigue are what made my mood so poor (in the winter, especially), but I didn’t know that when I was diagnosed with major depression & given antidepressants – yikes! All I really needed were a couple of supplements – along with a healthy diet, of course! :)

  • Zoe- Well, I’ve been struggling with maintaining raw (as I’ve chronicled in my desperate posts). Currently, I have decided to be raw as often as I possibly can, while still eating some cooked (steamed vegetables, some cooked grains, and some Vegan products like Aioli Zesty Garlic and soy yogurt). I tried for about a month to be primarily/high raw, but I kept failing repeatedly, I wasn’t able to adapt to the lifestyle, and I was feeling deprived, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Some people seem to be able to jump right into raw foods with relative ease, not me however, even though I was zealous about adopting this lifestyle. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not in the right place in my life. I hope to eat more and more raw as I go along, but for right now I need to listen to all the aspects of my person: mental, emotional, and physical.

    Pianissima and Zoe- I agree about the supplements to a certain degree. I think a complete and balanced diet is optimal and a superior way to receive vitamins and those things of nutritional value. However, every person’s body functions differently and every person’s lifestyle provides unique hindrances. I need the Iron supplement because I have a deficiency, and even all the spinach in my refrigerator wasn’t doing me any good. I’ve started taking the Vitamin C to help with absorption. I’m taking MSM because my hair is falling out (the Iron should help with this as well). The St. John’s Wort for depression (because despite the fact that I exercise daily, practice yoga, try to meditate, think optimistically, and attempt to find joy in what I can… I’m going through a tough spot in my life and am still walking across a thin rope… and I refuse to be sedated by prescription medications). The multivitamin to fill in the gaps, because even though I try to eat as healthy as I can, I’m afraid I may have holes in my nutrition. And finally… the Pantothenic Acid, Ginseng & Gotu Kola, and Adrenal Health supplement for Adrenal Fatigue… proper diet will help with this, but adding these supplements should help much more. So, the supplements are a source of correction. Proper diet has a way of providing the body with what it needs, but the supplements help to fix those things beyond basic necessity.

    ghostgirl13 and angie- I know I absolutely do not get enough Vitamin D. I live in Seattle, and the sky is a perpetual shade of gray, miserable gray. We’re lucky if we get two days in a row of Sun. It’s been raining almost nonstop for the last week or so. It’s sunny somewhere in the world, but never in Washington State. It was 95 degrees yesterday in New York City, it was 45 degrees here. I’d really love to move some place that contains visible proof of the sun’s existence. The climate is driving me insane, literally, it’s having a direct affect on my mood and perceptions. I still find it so amazing how the weather can do that. I’m often not aware of how awful and sullen I feel until the sun actually comes out… and then I think “Hmm, maybe that bright thing is actually essential.” You know the movie “The Matrix,” that scene where Morpheus is showing Neo the ‘real world’ with it’s desolate, somber appearance… that’s how I view my surroundings, it’s an exaggeration of what it’s truly like, but when you live in constant gray, day after day, week after week, it certainly starts to feel very similar. Any way, sorry for getting off topic… I just bought a supplement called Adrenal Health by Gaia Herbs, which I am hoping will help with the Adrenal Exhaustion.

    Maybe I should see a nutritionist? Would a nutritionist be able to tell me which supplements are necessary and which ones to toss?

    Thanks for all your advice, everyone!

  • Rawbegginer, Wow – living in constant grayness does sound tough. Many people do suffer from seasonal-affective disorder (S-A-D). I know someone who found great benefit from sitting in front of a full-spectrum light each day for 15 minutes. The light is designed for treating this disorder. And it did help my friend.
    If you choose to see a Nutritionist I’d suggest making sure that they graduated from (or at least practice) Holistic Nutrition.
    Clayton College, for example, is a good school of Natural Health: http://www.ccnh.edu/about/programs/program_home…
    BTW… I liked the Matrix analogy :)
    Cheers, gg13

  • I know I would go crazy living in Seattle! I love to visit, though. I know a couple of people who could probably help you a lot; if you’re interested in what they do & their contact info, you can email me at angiesgemstonejewelry@yahoo.com & I will give you their info.

  • rawbeginner—i’m in seattle too. it has been awful here lately. we are considering a move. everyone in seattle needs vitamin D. the best thing to do is see what vitamins you are low in through a blood test. then you can supplement until your levels are back up again.

    i am pro-supplement for those who have fairly serious health concerns and are still transitioning/new to raw diet. detox can be difficult and there is no reason why you shouldn’t support yourself through that process. why be tired when some b-vitamins can pep you up? also, if you are using supplements as a way to avoid pharmaceuticals, like it seems you are, it is certainly a good way to go.

    for those of you on this forum, i respect your decisions on supplements, but i question why you are discouraging people with serious health issues from taking them. do you understand some of us could be in serious trouble without these supplements? if you body has been sick for years it take more than a month of a raw food diet to cure you. why not give your body all the tools it needs to get better? then maintain your health with a raw food diet.

    rawbeginner, consider going to the bastyr center. they are really understanding about my diet and have helped me a lot the last few months. they also give treatments that are not about internal herbs, such as hydrotherapy. they take some insurance and also have a sliding scale and are reasonably priced.

  • Would a nutritionist be able to tell me which supplements are necessary and which ones to toss?

    Yes, indeed! Searching for a nutritionist who is familiar with a largely raw, vegan lifestyle would be time well spent also.

  • Hair falling out could be a deficiency of vitamin B5 - a good B-complex supplement can help, and cauliflower is a good source of B5 for maintenance.

    bitt – thank you for your post – that’s what I feel, too.

    I realized that I contradicted myself earlier, too. I said that I agreed that raw food has everything our bodies need, but obviously not mine, or at least not yet, because I can’t make vitamin A out of the beta-carotene I eat, so I have to eat or take vitamin A, which only comes from animal sources (or maybe synthetic vitamins?). I CAN’T get everything my body needs from a raw vegan diet. The vitamin A supplement I take now is derived from fish oil. I have heard a lot of people on this site say that there is nothing good about eating meat/animal products, but for me, there is a definite need for it. So I guess it would be more accurate to say that I believe that raw plant foods can provide everything needed for a body that is still/already healthy.

  • bitt—i was not discouraging ANYONE. i was giving my personal opinion of them, since zoe brought it up.

    i would love to see some proof that supplements work. some believe they help. but i’ve also read things that actually prove they are somewhat harmful. but the main point is: THEY DON”T HEAL YOU!

    for me, supplements are the same concept as medication. sure, they do their job, but did the body heal, or is it just masking your symptoms? (i.e. would you be healthy if you stopped taking them? is there every a point when you can stop taking them?) i took vitamins for all sort of deficiencies for YEARS AND YEARS. i assumed i needed them. i was anemic before going raw. in my experience, going COMPLETELY (and healthfully) raw puts the body is a safe place to heal itself.

    rawbeginner—i DEFINITELY think you should seek council with someone who knows more about your condition and this diet than i do! =) the no sun thing is tricky because as i understand it it is the ONLY way to get natural vitamin D.

  • I recently pooped out half a pill from two years ago (when I last took them). I think this says it all about how well the body absorbs and processes such things!

    While I am on the no-supplement bandwagon, I would recommend getting liquid-based vitamins/minerals if you so choose—i.e. something you take by the spoonful rather than in a capsule. I’m not a medical doctor, but this is an opinion that I stand by through personal experience and the experience of others that I’ve witnessed.

  • i consider it essential to take a supplement or pharmaceutical when there is a life-threatening illness at stake. maybe there won’t be a point where you can stop taking them. but if it is meds or being severely ill, then i choose the former. this comes from someone who has been hospitalized for severe illness as had my partner (not for the same things).

    i do think there are certain medications out there that are essential too. for example, someone who has to take epinephrine for anaphylactic shock. no known alternative for that one.

    believe me in theory i am not pro-medication. i do think that they mask the symptoms and don’t actually cure. but i have seen people on death’s door come back from medications and certain natural remedies, and it was worth it. i used to think i would rather die than get saved by pharmaceuticals (especially since i am against animal testing), but i guess selfishly when it came down it to it i wanted to live. in theory if we all were on a raw diet since birth none of this might have happened to us, but not all of us were so lucky to be raised that way! but honestly these questions and uncomfortableness with medications is one of the things that prompted me to go on this raw journey. you have to say enough is enough at some point.

  • ZoeZoe

    Ever thought of trying some kind of counselling? Person to person loving, caring support is amazing. It has helped me through tough times.

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