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Shopping for Hope in the Vitamin Store

Supplements may help, but God’s love is a sure thing.

Edward Grinnan on shopping for supplements
Credit: Katye Martens Brier

“Ed, can you come up here and help me with something?” Julee called down to me.

“Just a sec. I have to take my vitamins,” I called back.

“Never mind, then. That’ll take too long.”

It was a good-natured jab, but not without a point. I do take daily vitamins…and a lot more, mostly stuff that purports to improve memory and concentration. This is what the internet is for, right? 

My collection of supplements and potions occupies an entire kitchen cabinet right next to the spice cabinet (there’s a bit of crossover, by the way). Everything from amino acids to exotic herbs and plant extracts to some swamp-green powder that taints a perfectly good glass of juice. I won’t identify the substances here. I wouldn’t want to endorse anything. But I finally shared a list with my doctor, who just shrugged and said, “There isn’t anything harmful here. Nothing useful either.” Well, he’s a very conservative health provider. He jokes that I must produce quite expensive…well, that’s too much information.  

I shop for supplements the way some people shop for shoes. I lapse into a kind of fugue state in a vitamin store. But what, really, am I shopping for? A better memory? A healthier brain? Protection against Alzheimer’s? Like so many of you, it’s my greatest fear. Every little slip of the mind, and I’m wondering if I remembered to add this supplement or that herb to my morning regimen. I suspect what I am really seeking is hope. 

A friend once observed my morning ritual and said, “You must really have faith in all that stuff.” That word stuck in my mind like a psychic splinter for the rest of the morning. Faith. Shouldn’t my faith be directed to the one great source of hope? To a God who watches over and protects me? My arsenal of supplements may be a harmless waste of money, but it should never obscure the source of strength I must always turn to, whose love supplements my spiritual well-being. 

Do you take vitamins and supplements in the hope that they will improve your mind and memory? Tell me about it here.

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