Do we need to take vitamins or supplements for good health?

Today, millions of people around the world regularly take vitamins and supplements. In fact, many people have jars full of all sorts of supplements and vitamins underneath their bed and some even have more stock supplies in the garage and basement. The belief today is the vitamins and supplements are the panacea for good health.

 

Over the years many studies have been done on the benefits of vitamins and supplements on health. There definitely is a role of these agents in people who are ill, not able to eat, or those who have a chronic medical disorder (eg diabetes, cancer, arthritis and so on). However, the role of vitamins and supplements in healthy people is questionable. Recent studies indicate that in healthy people the role of vitamins in preventing disease is minuscule.

 

The other problem with vitamins and supplements is that most people believe that taking more is better. Since the health supplement industry is unregulated, most people rarely read labels and take whatever they feel like. There are no universal dosages for most supplements and these doses even vary from store to store. What the public should know is that while vitamins can be beneficial it is important to take the right amount to prevent toxicity or adverse reactions. The public also has this erroneous belief that unlike pharmaceutical drugs , vitamins and supplements are completely safe. This is a false assumption. There are countless cases of allergies and interactions reported from the use of supplements and vitamins. Worse, there are regular reports of fake and counterfeit products in the health supplement industry. One can never be sure whether one is consuming a pill made from cardboard or chalk! Many researchers have found that vitamins and supplements sold in health-food stores that are not manufactured with strict care may not have the active ingredients that are advertised and may even contain ingredients not listed on labels.

When taken in the right doses, there is no harm from vitamins and supplements but these products should not be taken as a form of “insurance” for poor dietary habits.

For anyone who is considering taking vitamins and supplements, it is best to read about the product and speak to your healthcare provider first. The most important thing to know is that there is no substitute for a good healthy diet. If one eats a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, cereals, whole grains, seafood, dairy products and nuts, there is probably no need for a healthy person to take supplements. To precisely answer the question of whether “healthy people” should take vitamin supplements begs two questions. First, what do we define as “healthy” and whether such people are already maintaining a healthy diet. Second, an individual with an illness or chronic medical disorder may benefit from supplements if there is a need.

In certain scenarios vitamins may be worthwhile as mentioned below:

 

  • Adults past the age of 50 may consider a vitamin B-12 supplement or adding foods fortified with vitamin B-12 to their diet if they have been diagnosed with anemia.
  • Seniors and individuals with light skin, and those individuals who do not get more than 15 minutes of exposure to the sun everyday, should consider a vitamin D supplement or eat foods that are fortified with vitamin D.
  • Women who are planning to get pregnant or are pregnant, should be taking folic acid supplements to prevent birth defects.

Nutrisearch

Because there are no uniform guidelines on supplements and vitamins always speak to your healthcare provider first or check out NutriSearch. NutriSearch has been comparing multiple vitamin and mineral supplements in North America and Canada for over 15 years. Its Blended Standard uses the mean nutritional recommendations from no less than 12 nutritional authorities as a benchmark for optimal nutrient levels. NutriSearch then applies these benchmarks to its 18 health support criteria that are used to evaluate and compare nutritional products.

Remember to prevent disease one not only has to eat Smart but also stop smoking and refrain from consuming excess alcohol. Taking vitamins and supplements every day is also not cheap. For the same amount of money you can eat a decent healthy home cooked meal. Finally, no matter what supplement or vitamin you take, exercise should be a regular part of your lifestyle. This does not mean running a marathon every weekend-simple walking is as good an exercise as any. Walking is free, allows you to enjoy nature and is safe- unless you get hit by a bus while texting.

 

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12 thoughts on “Do we need to take vitamins or supplements for good health?

  1. Congratulations, James. Your FIRST BLOG POST is a BLOCKBUSTER! Excellent post and I love how you were able to explain in a clear manner the basic understanding everyone needs to have on the role of supplementation and the necessity of being more careful in choosing the right products. I have that book where thousands of products are listed and tested in laboratories to see which supplement is the best of the best. You and I both know EXACTLY which one it is.

    Additionally, here is another related post: http://www.amazinglifedaily.com/why-we-need-food-supplements/

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  2. What I’ve learned about the medical industry, or at least should we become patients, is that we should take responsibility of our own body’s metrics. We should take in data of our habits, of our food intake, of the exercise and amount of sleep we get. Doctors only have so much time to assess and prescribe you anything. And some supplements brands are only out to sell on face value. In the end, if you know yourself, you will really research on which supplements are the best for you.

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  3. Johna

    Yayyyy congrats on your first blog post! Keep ’em coming 😀 I personally don’t take vitamins and supplements mainly because I like to get all my nutrients from fruits or veggies but it’s definitely wise to read up on the supplements you’re taking. Never know what the side effects may be, definitely know about this sort of stuff since I’m a Pharmacist hehe.

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  4. I never use supplements. But I have to admit, I did think vitamins and supplements were completely safe. It just ‘sounds’ safe. If I would think about starting supplements, I’d definitely check out the book and see what’s best for me. Great tips in your article!

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  5. Kerr Quevedo

    As for me, I don’t takr supplements since I let my food intake cover up for my daily nutritional needs although I have proven that they are really effective for longevity throughout the day.

    Great starter! Keep em up!

    xx
    withkerr.wordpress.com

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  6. That’s what I thought too my entire life! Well, just as long as you eat healthy foods which contain all the vitamins we need, no need indeed of taking food supplements and the like. Thanks for pointing out the risk of taking vitamins if taken too much.

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  7. So this is your new blog post, welcome to the blogging world! As with the supplements, I am bad at it, if I don’t see that it makes a physical effect then I don’t take it religiously. But I don’t want to discount the fact they they do help, at least with the right supplements.

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  8. mariaisquixotic

    Welcome! Congrats on your first post! I’m easily enticed with vitamins and supplements but eventually don’t take them anymore. It’s just that sometimes they would tell so many things and you’d believe them but somehow, you don’t see the changes or progress you have. But at least, you are here to enlighten us with that.

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  9. SofarsoSabine

    I know that Robert is a big fan of supplements. I have a healthy diet. I don’t really believe I need to take them. So for now I skip it
    🙂

    Like

  10. Pingback: How to keep a Healthy Heart? | Vitaminsboy.com

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