Should We Take Vitamins?


Some people think that if you take vitamin pills by the handful, you don't have to bother watching what you eat. It is easy to see the attraction of this approach where you can exist on junk food, have a terrible lifestyle and stay healthy. Other people take a less extreme view and try their best to eat right, exercise, and get plenty of rest. However they recognize that they will fall short of the ideal vitamin intake and take vitamins as a kind of insurance policy. Having a deficiency in any of the individual vitamins can give rise to disease and a number of complaints. Vitamin deficiencies can go unnoticed for many years until illness develops. Sub-clinical and frank deficiency can arise either from inadequate intake, abnormal metabolism, excessive excretion or because of an underlying disease process. It can also arise because of imbalance in other vitamins or minerals since these nutrients interact with each other. Regardless of how they arise, if allowed to go unnoticed then your health may become compromised. Some groups particularly at risk for vitamin deficiency are:

    • Pregnant women and lactating women, who are at risk for vitamin A deficiency and folate deficiency, for example, should take a daily supplement of folic acid to help prevent spina bifida.
    • The elderly who often live a sedentary lifestyle and are at risk for a broad range of deficiencies including vitamin D deficiency, vitamin B1 group deficiency and have low antioxidant vitamin status.
    • Those on special diets such as the strict vegetarian who are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency.
    • Those having an existing conditions which may affect absorption or storage of nutrients.
    • Those who have only a limited exposure to sunlight may lack vitamin D, which could be taken in supplement form. This could also apply to housebound people.
    • People who are doing intense training for sport. For nutrition and training purposes, you need to take only the most basic and inexpensive multivitamin as a precaution.

      These are reasons to supplement with vitamins, but more is not necessarily better. This is particularly true with the fat-soluble vitamins that will be stored in the liver, like vitamin A. They can eventually reach toxic levels and cause liver damage. Even the water-soluble vitamin C can cause diarrhea at levels of 2000mg a day, which is lower than the amount some people take in the hope of staving off colds.
      A vitamin profile blood test will help you to discover if you have a particular vitamin deficiency that could be affecting your health. You will know which vitamins to pay attention to, allowing you an effective and rational approach on any dietary or supplement changes. It could also save you the trouble and expense of embarking on a course of unnecessary vitamin supplementation. Some vitamins in excess can be detrimental to your health. So what we know is that it isn't wise to just embark on a vitamin supplement program with out some baseline facts in place. You could just be throwing your money down the drain. Many studies have shown that vitamins from supplements do not act on the body in the same way as vitamins from foods. Take apples, they are a rich source of vitamin C, which builds up the immune system. But when researchers at Cornell University in New York compared the effects of apples and vitamin C tablets, the results were quite startling. The apples contained many other naturally occurring chemicals in addition to vitamin C, including antioxidants called flavanoids and polyphenols that are thought to protect against cancer. This meant that eating a small apple (100g) gave an antioxidant effect equivalent to taking 1500mg of vitamin C, and you'd have to take a mega-dose supplement to achieve that. One of the study's authors, Professor Chong Yong Lee, said, "Some of the chemicals we found in apples are known to be anti-allergenic, some are anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral." Recently, the US Women's Health Study found a link between vitamin C supplements and an increased risk of hardening arteries in some people with diabetes.

      If, I haven't convinced you yet or you're just busy or chicken to get a blood test. Dr.Weil has a web site that offers a rather elaborate questioner method for determining your vitamin needs. Keeping in mind now, that it can't tell if you have any deficiencies just what levels of which vitamins you should have to suit your lifestyle https://www.drweilvitaminadvisor.com Personally the way I look at it is, if you guys aren't juicing, and eating fresh fruits, nuts and veggies, what are you waiting for? Me, I'd rather rely on fresh grown organic produce for my vitamins, than some synthesized version of nutrients. I must admit though when I feel run -down or I'm training hard I do take a multi-vitamin supplement with minerals. One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption. These are the foods that are nutrient rich, vitamin rich and mineral rich. Currently most of us nutritionists agree prevailing advice is to try to have five servings per day. This is quite a tall order and many people don't even have half the recommended quantity. It has been discovered that these foods contain far more than the classic vitamins and minerals we all know about. They contain many other plant substances, known as phytochemicals, that can't be put in a bottle or made into a pill.
      But if you can't or won't eat  healthy foods. Get a deficiency test and supplement accordingly.
      I would use a relatively lose-dose, food-based complex, rather than ones with high amounts of synthetic vitamins. I don't take a multivitamin every day. I do take omega 3 fatty acid daily in the form of krill oil, and flax seed as well as a probiotic supplement, like kefir or yogurt.
      Good Luck...

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