Hashem put the most effective nutrients in the foods He created. Big Pharma can't compete with Hashem; if you eat right - naturally, and stay away from processed foods and sugar in any shape or form - then you can save all the money you spend on vitamins. Use it to buy yourself a new pair of walking or running shoes...
I don't believe in the concept of "nutrition in a pill." I do believe that we maintain health by doing Hashem's will, which includes eating as natural as possible as the Rambam teaches us and avoiding dangerous substances, like the many that are found in processed foods.
Here's why healthy food beats vitamin pills and supplements any day of the week:
- Greater nutrition - whole foods are complex containing a variety of the nutrients your body needs, in a way your body can best absorb them. Synthetic vitamins lack the micronutrients and phytochemicals that facilitate bio-absorption. For example, a citrus fruit, in addition to Vitamin C, contains beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients that work together in a synergistic effect to keep the body healthy in a way that no Vitamin C pill can do.
- No harmful substances - foods that Hashem created are wonderful for the body. Big Pharma vitamins are likely to contain - for profit reasons - harmful additives that do your body more harm than good.
- Protective chemicals - the antioxidants and phytochemicals of whole, natural foods protect your body against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. The antioxidants that fruit, veggies, seeds, nuts and dry red wine are full of are substances that slow down oxidation, a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.
- Essential fiber - dietary fiber, as part of a healthy diet, can help prevent certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it can also improve digestion. You won't find that in those vitamin pills. Also, the synthetic fibers that food processors add top processed foods are just designed to bulk up their profits, and not to keep you healthy.
What about pregnant women and nursing mothers? Don't they need supplements of iron, calcium and folic acid?
Yes, they need a boatload of iron, calcium and folic acid. That's why I tell them to eat liver, beets, leafy greens like kale and spinach (be sure to check for bugs as Halacha requires), almonds and sardines. And like everyone else, they should stay away from soft drinks and manufactured foods that bleed the body of nutrients.
Eat healthy and put the pill money to better use by buying fruits, veggies, seeds and nuts, natural fish and meats and a fine bottle of red wine for Shabbat. I strongly recommend the Land of Israel variety.
G-d willing, we'll have lots more on healthy eating in the near future. Meanwhile, exercise, eat right and stay healthy!