We have always been told since young that vitamins were good for us, but this knowledge wasn’t always commonly held. It all began in 1912, when the world’s first vitamin was identified and introduced as Thiamine (vitamin B1). Since then, scientists have thoroughly investigated vitamins and nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, meats, whole grains, and dairy.
In the 100 years since then, our understanding of the correlation between vitamins and healthy living has increased dramatically. However, many people do not eat all of the foods that provide them with the vitamins needed for a healthy lifestyle.
In 2010, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption between 2000 and 2009 (CDC 2010). The report showed less than one third of Americans are consuming the recommended two servings of fruit per day, and three servings of vegetables per day. A study published in the August 2012 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition reported vitamins that were poorly consumed in three European countries included vitamins A, D, E, and folic acid (Troesch 2012).
We simply aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables, one of our primary sources of vitamins and minerals. That is not surprising given that World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables. Given our hectic schedules, it becomes even more challenging for most of us to fulfill the minimum requirement. Even if we do, it might not be enough as we still need to eat a variety of foods in different colors as they each have different nutrients and antioxidants.
When hectic lifestyles make it difficult to consume adequate fruits and vegetables on a consistent basis, a well-formulated dietary supplement can provide “nutritional insurance” to fill the gap in our diets. Supplements should not replace a healthy diet. However, a properly formulated nutritional supplement delivers an important and measurable benefit to human nutrition and health.