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Vitamins Good or Bad

How good are vitamin supplements? Are they very beneficial for my health?
(July 22, 2010)

It appears that we are constantly bombarded with claims stating that a certain vitamin or mineral, or even herbal supplement can cure a particular ailment. The wide variety of supplements that have flooded the markets is in itself overwhelming and it becomes quite hard for consumers to tell the difference between products, and identify which ones really help, and which ones only make claims to do so. Advertising and marketing campaigns can be not just confusing, but to some may even appear convincing.

Although the FDA plays a vital role, regulating the sale of drugs and supplements, it can only recall a product once it is proven unsafe. With the overwhelming numbers and varieties of such products it becomes hard to enforce such regulations, and it does also become the burden of the consumer to identify and make informed choices. Vitamin supplements are just one type of supplement available and they can be a boon to consumers, but if used appropriately.

Vitamin and mineral supplements are dietary supplements that contain micronutrients that are essential for the healthy and efficient functioning of our bodies. They do serve a specific purpose and offer a variety of unique health benefits, just as their deficiencies can cause health problems. For example, vitamin A is crucial to bone growth and vision, while vitamin E is necessary for the immune system and also to repair DNA. Any deficiencies of vitamins and minerals can adversely affect the body’s ability to not just function normally, but also to protect against ailments and infections, but also for healing.

What needs to be kept in mind however is that nutritional supplements do not compensate for an unhealthy diet, and they are no substitute for dietary nutrition from fresh fruits and vegetables, or whole grains. If you are on a healthy diet but wish to avoid the risk of any such deficiencies it may be a good idea to take multivitamin and mineral supplements. Certain groups of people however may actually need to take certain specific vitamin or mineral supplements, such as pregnant or lactating women, elderly people, or even those with eating disorders and dieters. Vegetarians would also need certain vitamin supplements to counter any deficiencies in the diet.

Although nutritional supplements and vitamin and mineral supplements in particular may be marketed as being risk free this is not so. Self medication even with vitamin supplements is ill advised as supplements should only be taken on the advice and consultation of your doctor or a nutritionist who is aware of your medical history. A greater dosage or fluctuating usage can create certain unforeseen problems. Most people are unaware of this, but even high doses of vitamins can be toxic.
Submitted by S M on July 22, 2010 at 05:38


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