Care/of founder Craig Elbert gives us the lowdown on how you should choose your vitamins and tells why you may not need to be taking a multivitamin.
Admit it: half the time you’re taking your vitamins blindly, not truly knowing if they are the right ones for you, and scratching your head wondering what’s actually in your multivitamin. On top of that, almost everyone has something different to say about when you should be taking your vitamins, so do you know if you even have that right? This is where Care/of comes in—a vitamin company that prides itself on its honesty and research to ensure that you’re taking vitamins that are right for you. We chatted with the brand’s founder, Craig Elbert, to get the inside scoop on all things vitamins.
On where to start:
“[We try to] understand what your goals are and what your diet is and what your lifestyle is. It’s really about, what are you trying to accomplish by taking vitamins, and what is it that you could be missing in your diet.
“We do think that people should always talk with their doctor about what they’re taking and why. The way that we think about it is, we’ve created Care/of so someone can come to our site and take an easy quiz (it takes less than five minutes). On the back end, we’ve pulled through research from academics and peer-reviewed research—we’ve also looked at a lot of historical and traditional use of supplements over the years, and used that to make recommendations to make it easier to folks so that they understand what they can be taking.”
The vitamin almost all of us need:
“If you live above 39 degrees latitude—which, if you can imagine drawing a line from San Francisco to Virginia—then your body isn’t producing any vitamin D between November and March. Vitamin D is critical for bone health, so that is definitely one that a lot of people should be taking.”
And the one you should be wary of:
“I think the main one that people should be weary of is iron. You should only take it if your doctor has told you that you’re deficient in iron, because taking too much of it can be toxic.”
And what about multivitamins?
“Generally there’s about 50-plus ingredients in multivitamins, most of which people don’t need. If it’s a woman who’s concerned about bone health over time, then she may need calcium, but there’s very little calcium in a multivitamin, because it physically takes up a lot of space. What we tend to do is recommend a couple of nutrients based on what that person can use. Often it is vitamin D, but there’s also things like fish oil and omega-3s, which are not commonly in multivitamins—we tend to give a recommendation that ranges between three and five pills for folks, rather than the standard multivitamin.”
What can herbals do for you?
“There are different herbals that can have a big impact. If someone’s having joint pain, they might want to consider turmeric, whereas if someone is stressed out and burnt out from fatigue, they might want to consider Rhodiola Rosea, which is an adaptogenic herb. If someone’s having digestion issues, then that’s when you would want to look into probiotics.”
And why you need to be careful with vitamins:
“There’s a difference between water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. Your body can ingest water-soluble vitamins, and if you take more than your body needs, you’re just going to flush them out when you go to the bathroom. Fat-soluble vitamins actually stay in and can build up if you have an excess of them—iron being the most common, which is a mineral. But then you also have vitamin D—it actually has a high level of toxicity, and if you’re taking too much vitamin D, that can also build up because it is a fat-soluble vitamin. People sometimes mindlessly eat gummy vitamins that have a good amount of vitamin D in them, and people have actually had to go to the hospital because they did not realize that vitamin D can become toxic in your body.”
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