Dr. Robert Xanthos

Are Vitamin Supplements Really Necessary?

By Dr. Robert Xanthos, D.C., C.C.N., C.S.C.S.

Are Vitamin Supplements Really Necessary?

I was recently reminded by my mom, that I was about 10-years old when she decided that I needed to start taking vitamins. In fact I can still envision that bottle of Flintstone’s Chewable Vitamins at the kitchen table. The only thing I had to worry about was whether to chew up Fred, Barney or Dino after breakfast.

Today research indicates that nearly half of all adults believe it’s important to supplement – either because they weren’t eating a healthy diet – or in the hopes of preventing Cancer and disease.

Science has proven that vitamins are complex chemical substances, which are vital to nutrition, and indispensable to our growth and development. Since the 1950’s, supplements have played a key role in compensating for the depleted vitamin and nutrient levels due to soil erosion that industrial agriculture had created.

Between soil erosion, shipping and food preparation, valuable nutrients in our produce are lost – and our balanced diet – may not be so balanced. Many experts suggest that not only are vitamins missing from the fruits and vegetables we consume, but antioxidants, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids and fiber are also lacking. It’s no wonder that over 70% of age-related diseases are attributed to dietary deficiencies.

Americans seem to struggle with eating a balanced diet. In fact, in a USA Today article released this month entitled “Still too low on fruits, veggies”, reported that most people consume less than 2 cups of fruits and veggies a day, far below the 4-6 cups recommended by US Dietary Guidelines. We should absolutely strive to include whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables as our primary source of nutrition, but the reality is that many of us do not eat as well as we should.

What Vitamins Do I Need & How Much Should We Be Taking?     To answer this accurately and scientifically it begins with understanding the demands of your lifestyle and a simple test to measure your Micronutrients, including Vitamin D and antioxidant levels. Insuring balanced support to a healthier lifestyle will require a bit of inventory and also an understanding of the long term damage linked to vitamin or mineral deficiencies. A Comprehensive Micronutrient Test is available with Spectra Cell through our office via in-office consultation or by phone. (Spectracell Lab For more information about nutrient testing.)

Clinical Nutritionists provide specialty testing that can uncover nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalance and gastrointestinal health and food sensitivites. Objective testing can eliminate the guesswork of what to eat or take, and provide an individualized nutritional program to support your active lifestyle. Self-prescribing vitamins and minerals from the local store or television ads can be in many ways as problematic and inefficient as self-medicating.

Reports show that Americans are woefully deficient in a number of key nutrients—for example, more than half of Americans don’t get enough calcium, vitamin E, fiber and potassium, according to a report released in August 2004 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines Scientific Advisory Committee.
Recent studies indicate the need for most Americans to increase their daily supplementation of vitamin D, as approximately 77% of the US population is suboptimal in their blood levels of Vitamin D. (

Not All Vitamin Brands Are Created Equal
Many of us assume that all vitamins brands are safe and so we shop for the best deal. Yet many vitamin supplements may contain low quality ingredients poorly absorbed by the body.

Fortunately there are several independent laboratories that provide independent testing for quality control awarding a seal of approval to any product meeting its criteria and testing standards. The most well respected endorsement for safety are: the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International, United States Pharmacopia (USP) Verified and (CL).

We are providing brief Complimentary Nutritional Consultations for all patients and family members to discuss the benefits of clinical nutrition testing and individualized nutritional programs along with any current unresolved symptoms.  Schedule your consultation by going to calling 602.264.4040 or visit us online:

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For questions regarding the safety of your current vitamin supplements – please email me directly –  even if you are still taking your Flintstone’s Vitamins.