Saturday, November 21, 2009


“Too many vitamin pills are bad for health” was the headline of a recent news blurb. Advice changes hourly on vitamin dosages and I can't keep up.

It was much easier when my mother fed me Flintstones vitamins. All I needed the chewable gems for back then was building the bone and muscle that would become my constitution for life – big deal. Now I’m supposedly trying to build resistance towards you name it – cancer, depression, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, addiction, paying retail. Go into any vitamin store, and you’ll see 400 brands of 800 vitamins in 1,200 dosages. But I’m most stumped over why there are no distinctions made for weight. Both 100-pound me and my 200-pound neighbor are supposed to scarf down the same amount of B12? Give me 50 milligrams of a break.

And please note, you need differential calculus to figure out when to take these pills for optimum benefit. Most labels instruct you to take them with food. But E shouldn’t be taken with C, calcium should be taken with D, magnesium should be taken at night, and none should be taken without a stiff shot of Jack. The whiskey helps you forget that with the money you spent on vitamins, you could have purchased Latvia. Latvians don’t need vitamins, by the way, because they eat something very nutritious called "pea balls" on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, we pea-shunning Americans are stuck trying to figure out what vitamins we truly need. One method I can recommend is to stop taking all your current vitamins and see what happens. If you’re like me, you’ll find that suddenly the sun shines brighter; the air smells fresher. Walking upright is easier. Even pea balls taste better. But it won’t matter. Because sooner or later you’ll succumb to the recommendation of some article that says you must start taking troughs full of the most recently celebrated vitamin. Otherwise not only will you be considered nutritionally incorrect, but a person close to you will develop trench mouth.

The confusion is enough to cause the kind of critical stress overload that can only be cured by taking vitamins. Thus my conundrum. Sometimes I feel that taking supplements is going about nutrition the wrong way. It’s like, you know…what is that expression? I think it's "shoving the cart down the horse’s throat."