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Good times, hard times, vitamins can make up for what is lacking in your daily diet as well as provide additional immune system end even emotional support. First, let’s talk about the basics you need to know about vitamins before purchasing any major supply.
- There is a reason why some cost more than others.
A lot of us are used to buying generic medications. Why not after all? After the patent runs out on a medication all of a sudden there is more competition than before. It is basic supply and demand economics.
Vitamins are not like this. You get what you pay for up to a point. This brings us to the point that cheap vitamins often contain inferior ingredients that are not as easy for your body to uptake and absorb.
Thus although the vitamin may provide some benefit, there is reason to suspect that you might not be getting the full benefit that is claimed on the bottle.
- Vitamins come in a lot of special formulas.
There are vitamins designed for various age groups or that have extra herbs in them that help enhance athletic ability or help ease the symptoms of pregnancy. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a special blend to get a lot of benefit though.
A complete one a day is easiest for a lot of people but some of the vitamins that have a lot of different ingredients require up to 4 capsules to be taken a day.
- A lot of natural brands are food based.
Food based vitamins cost more in general and make up a lot of the organic vitamin market. If you are very concerned about where your vitamins, minerals, and homeopathic herbs are coming from then you should try to buy organic or natural vitamins whenever you can.
- Vitamins are excellent to have on hand for barter and trade during any emergency.
Hard times puts additional stress on the body and immune system. Major medical attention might be very difficult to get so anything you can do to stay healthy is very important.
Even those that are not so good about taking a daily supplement now might very well realize what a vitamin can offer them if they are trying to make it through any major crisis.
This means extra vitamin could help you get some of the things or services that you don’t have on hand during an extended survival situation.
- Folic acid and sufficient iron is critical for those that are of child bearing age.
While I have not seen any vitamins that don’t have enough folic acid in them, it is worth mentioning the importance of choosing vitamins for hard times that are clear they provide this.
People don’t stop having children just because times are tough. Prenatal vitamins would be a nice luxury during hard times but any One A Day that has adequate iron and Folic Acid is going to help make healthy childbearing possible.
The Argument for Age Based Vitamins
Nutritional needs and concerns change throughout our lives. Children under 12 need different vitamins than adults because they are still growing and developing their bodies major organs and systems.
Seniors should usually have more calcium but be better off without large amounts of some other minerals and vitamins. Any multi vitamin is going to be good in a survival situation but you do have to be careful about children getting too much iron from taking an adult vitamin.
This can be avoided by having all in one vitamins with no added iron and then having separate iron pills if you are trying to only have a single vitamin type for emergencies. Personally I think it would be easier to use get adult vitamins and then have some other one a days put back for the kids in the family.
Recommended Multi Vitamins
1. Rainbow Light One A Day Vitamins
I can get a 150 day supply of these vitamins for a very affordable monthly cost and sometimes less when there is a good sale going on.
So 3 bottles is more than a year of a natural origin vitamin that also contains herbs for additional overall health support. These vitamins are very gentle and easy to swallow.
In fact with good vitamins like this you may not feel the need to take as many different supplements in addition to your daily vitamins so you might actually save some money and time.
2. New Chapter One A Day
This is a major supplier of natural and organic vitamins. I have included links to their standard one a day vitamins. Some of their formulas are going to require that you take 3-4 capsules a day, especially if you choose the prenatal vitamins they make.
It is hard to fit everything into one capsule with organic vitamins that are 100% food based and have a lot of minerals and herbal supplements added into each unique formulation. You will find that plenty of other organic vitamins are like this too.
Their formulas are very gentle on the stomach with many people taking them without any food at all. Probiotics in the vitamins help you maintain good levels of healthy gut bacteria that can help your body in a lot of ways such as improved digestion.
- Gummy Vitamins & Liquid Vitamins Don’t Keep As Well
While gummy or liquid vitamins are helpful for those that dislike swallowing large pills, chewy vitamins are not made to stand the test of time as well. If you like them then keep them around for good times but don’t just stock up on them and no tablet vitamins for long term survival.
Best Mainstream Adult Daily Vitamins
I am not trying to say that these vitamins are lacking because they are mainstream but rather pointing out that these are brands and formula’s that can be bought in large containers or found at a lot of drug stores, grocery stores, or Wal-Mart if you are going there for ammo which is about the only time I can bring myself to venture in.
One of the main reasons Centrum made it to the top of this list is that they have been around long enough to have one of the strongest reputations in the world of mainstream vitamins.
They offer a lot of different options that are affordable for those at any life stage. If you are a prepper that just wants a basic adult multi vitamin from a trusted company than you can get yourself about 14 months worth of vitamins for this price.
When buying vitamins in quantities this large it is wise to ask the seller what the expiration date is if it is not listed. You want to buy fresher vitamins for long term storage. Vitamins can be a little out of date when you take them but they do lose potency over time.
Ok this brand definitely uses more preservatives than some that claim to be natural or organic but they are still a decent brand in terms of price and quality and being food based.
There is also an argument to be made for some preservatives when you are putting back for a survival situation. You can find Nature’s Way a lot of places. I also love that they have a specific daily multi vitamin for diabetics.
There are so many people with diabetes. My father has it and he has to be careful what supplements and vitamins he takes.
Nature’s Way Alive Once Daily
Nature’s Way Completia Diabetic Multi Vitamin
This vitamin closes any gaps in the diabetic diet for a very reasonable cost. A bottle contains 45 days worth of vitamins at 2 tablets per day.
Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and natural herbs and spices combine to make a vitamin that helps maintain cell and tissue health as well as extra Taurine, L-Carnitine & Vanadium, which are often low in those that are diabetic.
My Choice For A Complete Children’s Daily Vitamin
Rainbow Light Kid’s One Food Based Multi Vitamin
For just a few cents per day, this one a day chewable provides everything growing kids need. I also chose this vitamin because it contains probiotics which can be a major boost to the immune system and decrease the risk of stomach and digestive problems.
For kids with allergies, this is a solid choice because it is made without the use of shellfish, gluten, dairy, peanuts, soy, or eggs. Plus no artificial colors or sweeteners.
Quality vitamins or growing children are well worth it regardless of the situation. At the same time in a survival situation, medical care might be hard to find if a child becomes ill so you want to make sure that you are giving them whatever you can to stay healthy.
At under a few bucks a month these vitamins are a real bargain no matter how you look at it.
Vitamin K is very important to have on hand because it helps blood to clot. If you can find it in a stable liquid form it would be best but any quick dissolving capsule could help save some bloodshed.
My husband and I learned this when our oldest dog was a puppy and found some rat poison that had been hoarded back by said rat. There had been no poison put out for a long time but all it took was just a little being stashed back and she got into it.
This causes bleeding that will not clot. The vet gave her a shot of Vitamin K and put her on Vitamin K pills for a few weeks and that took care of the whole issue. It is amazing stuff and not at all expensive.
Making sure that you are taking a daily vitamin that has sufficient Vitamin K in it will help you out if you ever get a laceration. Just remember to take a lot of it if anything major happens, regardless of if you have blood stop powder or bandages. It will help you out if you take enough and for long enough of a time period.
Vitamin C can be found via a lot of sources during good times but during hard ones it could be harder to get. This important vitamin offers immune system support and is essential to healthy gums and teeth.
Scurvy used to be common among sailors because they would go far too long without eating anything with Vitamin C in it. Once it was discovered what the problems was, ships went to greater lengths to make sure diets were more complete.
There is a lot of debate out there about colloidal silver. While I don’t think it is the miracle that some believe it to be, it is proven to have some strong anti microbial effect. I have seen it work on bacteria that were resistant to some antibiotics.
Silver ointment is sold at drug stores quite readily and all the major natural foods markets such as Whole Foods, carries Colloidal Silver Tincture. If found a bargain on Amazon for a whole gallon of 120 ppm colloidal silver while writing this.
- Strength is a major consideration with any silver supplement.
When you buy a product that contains colloidal silver it will list how many ppm silver it is. This can vary drastically. The standard Curad Silver Solution Gel my husband and I regularly use on cuts and scrapes is 55 ppm and dries to form a microbial barrier.
It is lightweight but is definitely something you will notice is there if you wash you face because it will go back to being a bit gel like.
- Liquid tinctures offer the most antimicrobial power for your dollar.
Just like any product that is delivered in liquid form, buying a bottle of concentrate and diluting it down is going to offer the best value.
For major irritations and infections or pre infection symptoms, we have been known to use as strong as 250 ppm or 500 pm dropped onto the area or put on a bandage to soak the wound. You just need a very small amount.
On the other hand you could mix liquid silver with some aloe vera gel to make a silver solution with less other ingredients in it and at a reduced cost. So for some cheap silver solution, keep some big bottles of aloe vera put back and some 4 oz bottles of concentrated silver.
While you don’t want to mix up a lot at a time, you could definitely mix some up in a jar to keep on hand and then just mix up more as you need it.
- Evaluate your own unique needs.
If you have specific medical conditions that you take medication for then you should try to have an extra supply put back. Learning homeopathic remedies and methods for controlling problems is also worth doing.
While you may be able to put back as much as a 90 day supply of your medications, what are you going to do if hard times last longer than that? While there are no guarantees that any of these things I am about to say will work well for you, here are some of the more common supplements for ailments a lot of people suffer from.
Those suffering from high blood pressure and heart health. While some folks may worry about smelling too much like garlic, there are pills that are formulated to leave you smelling just fine.
Mild hypertension can sometimes be controlled or prevented with a garlic regime and decent diet.
If you have problems with anxiety and/or depression, insomnia, and other mood disorders, passion flower can help. Not everyone can take it if they are on specific medications but for those that can or those that run out of other medications, passionflower can help stabilize and mellow your mood.
Keeping calm and put together in a survival situation or long emergency is a big benefit that could even save your life under extreme circumstances.
Hyland Arnica Pills
Arnica pills offer a natural alternative to pain pills for mild to moderate aches, pains, and bruises that come from muscle soreness, strain, and impacts.
It is completely non habit forming and can be used in conjunction with Arnica gel for additional relief.
If insomnia is sometimes or often a problem for you then melatonin can help. It comes in various dosage sizes but you can always break pills in half or quarters if you have a higher does pill and want to take a lower dose.
It is best to use the lowest dose that will work for you. It is recommended that you occasionally take a break from taking it for up to a week every once in awhile if you find yourself taking it daily for chronic sleep and stress issues.
Boiron Oscillococcinum for Flu-like Symptoms Pellets
I have to tell a story about this supplement.
When I was in college, I got sick with the worst case of flu I had ever had in my life. In fact this was probably the only time I had ever had the real flu and not just something that was a little like it.
My future husband’s parents lived closer to the school than my family who really didn’t have room for me so I went and stayed out in the space above their business building while Matt and his mother nursed me back to health.
This supplement was introduced to me then and it definitely decreased the severity of my symptoms within a day of taking it and I continued to improve.
Now if I feel a cold or other illness coming on, I take a 3 day course of this.
It is not the cheapest supplement when bought at the drug store but ordering 30 pks on Amazon is pretty affordable and is a 10 day supply for one person suffering a severe cold or flu so it is still a lot cheaper than most prescriptions and it doesn’t interfere with any other medications you may be taking.
You just dissolve it in your mouth so it is good for younger kids and those that simply don’t like taking any more pills than they have to.
Rotating Vitamins Out To Avoid Potency Loss
All vitamins have an expiration date but you can take them after the date with no issues other than the potential loss of potency. At the same time I would much rather have a vitamin that is 6 months expired than none at all.
To avoid expired vitamins, you can just set up a system where you use the oldest first. Making sure to check product expiration dates before purchase is wise, especially if the price seems a little too good to be true.
Do you have any supplements to add to this list? Have you had any positive or negative experiences with any of the supplements and vitamin brands on this list?
Samantha Biggers lives on the side of a mountain in North Carolina with her husband and pack of loyal hounds in a house her husband and she built themselves. When not writing she is working in their vineyard, raising Shetland sheep, or helping her husband with whatever the farm and vineyard can throw at them.
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9 Responses to “The Best Vitamins And Supplements For Hard Times”
Excellent article for the general population. Thanks for bringing this important information to the surface. I am a 3rd generation vitamin manufacturer (nearly 90 years now) and I just wanted to make 2 small additions. B vitamins will become very important in an emergency situation because those help with mood and decision making ability. If you can’t think clearly because your stressed out, then you may make a poor decision. B Vitamins are water soluble and get used by the body very quickly, sometimes within minutes. So it will be a priority vitamin, please stock up on a full B Complex or at a minimum B3, B6, B12. The second point is Probiotics. They are live bacteria and will die unless they are kept dormant in a cool environment. I know some companies try to tell you theirs is different and doesn’t need that, but they can’t change basic life science, it’s just a marketing game for them, so don’t buy into it. Keep them in the fridge or they will be useless.
Also know if you have any shortages normally in your body. For example, I am seriously short on Zinc and Vitamin D. I am also short on Iron. I get them by prescription but also am buying same dosage for backup as they go on sale.
I stopped looking at anything that Rainbow Light offers when I found one of their calcium formulations that under-represented magnesium and totally ignored MK-7. Their entire line seems to be based on a pretty or glamorous appearance instead of intelligent nutrient blends. There is no one-a-day on the market that can successful address the malnutrition of those so afflicted.
I take a heaping handful of supplements twice a day, and have yet to find any affliction that can’t be diminished by intelligent selection of nutrient and dosage, done together with attention to inevitable interactions between them.
You might want to take a look at dl-Tocopherol (Vitamin E), this is the lab-produced (cheap) form of Vitamin E which is the mirror image of the actual vitamin. According to the articles I have read, this synthetic Vitamin E makes cell walls less permeable to the passage of nutrients into the cell and waste products out of the cell which, in my opinion, is not what is desirable in a food-short environment. Centrum products use this cheap form of Vitamin E
You might want to take a look at dl-Tocopherol (Vitamin E), this is the lab-produced (cheap) form of Vitamin E which is the mirror image of the vitamin. According to the articles I have read, this synthetic Vitamin E makes cell walls less permeable to the passage of nutrients into the cell and waste products out of the cell. Centrum products use the cheap form of Vitamin A.
Thanks to everyone for reading and contributing to this thread. Please understand that this article was meant to be just a general article to get everyone thinking about vitamins and what they can offer during trying times. It is impossible for me to write about every consideration that must be made to meet unique health care needs, genetic differences, etc. This is why in the article I do mention that you need to evaluate your own unique needs. Perhaps I did not stress this enough. Different people definitely react in different ways to some supplements. Of course, you need to check any medications you are taking and see if there are warnings against taking any supplement. When in doubt you should ask your doctor. There is a lot of differing opinions out there when it comes to any supplement and it is up to the individual and/or family what they choose to use.
As Karen said there are vitamins that say things like Energy and they often have other herbal ingredients besides just vitamins. The important take away I wanted folks to get out of this was that they should find vitamins and supplements that work well for them and their families and have a supply to help get them through tough times. Karen is absolutely right to say that it makes sense to find out how you handle a vitamin or supplement before putting back a large supply. My suggestions were just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the plethora of vitamins and supplements out there to meet a wide range of needs.
Hi Samantha, really great article. I enjoy all your articles. There are only a few things I want to add. B-Complex seems to turn rancid faster than any other vitamin. They should be stored in the fridge as long as electricity is available. They are part of any multi, so the multi should be stored in the fridge.
As Samantha already mentioned rotating, I just want to say that rotating vitamins and supplements is even more important than rotating food.
My personal choice with B vitamins is to store some individual Bs. I store B-12 and B-3, in lower dosages, because they are seriously linked to deficiency diseases and not likely to go bad.
The other issue I want to bring up is problems with certain vitamin formulations being over-stimulating in certain individuals. If the bottle says ENERGY, check the ingredients list to see if the energy is coming from any source besides B vitamins. There might be stimulating herbs. Try the brand out now. Find out if it is a problem for you before storing it. You might love it or you might be wired all night long. If Samantha, Rebecca or anyone knows what causes this on an individual basis, I would love to know.
Great topic since it may be quite hard to eat normally during or after an event, and vitamin supplementation can be the key to keeping healthy.
That said, anyone on prescription medications needs to be very careful about interactions and contraindications. A number of blood pressure, kidney protection and diabetic medications are what is known as potassium sparing. This means your body can build up potassium levels if you don’t watch your intake which can be a BIG problem. Two of my medications are potassium sparing, so I went with a multi-vitamin that has no potassium in it for me, although my wife has no such issues, so her multi-vitamins include potassium. If you’re not sure about any prescription medications you’re taking, ask your doctor or pharmacist to be on the safe side.
There is so much wrong with this article. I think in order to write an article like this you have to understand nutrition and the specific nutrients and needs of the majority of the population. You’d have to understand certain genetic mutations like not being able to convert beta carotene into vitamin A, or folic acid being toxic to those with MTHFR mutations. And understand the different options out there.
Also to even talk about silver products, one would have to know the basics of the different types of silver, including silver proteins (which is what you are promoting in this article, it is NOT colloidal silver). It is a very dangerous type of silver.
You can read more about it here: //www.silver-colloids.com/Reports/reports.html (this is an unbiased scientific site, that reports actual facts about silver products, describes the types, and actually has done impartial lab testing on the different silver products out there — they do not sell anything!).
Silver proteins are the one silver product I refuse to take. And I have researched and studied silver for years and it is a HUGE part of my emergency prep. I have found the best one out there and it is perfect for emergency preparedness. I use it to purify water, kill bacterial and viral infections, funguses, yeasts, etc.