Vitamin Supplements…Are They Necessary? | Health Quick Tips

Vitamin supplements are not needed if you eat healthy, according to the currently prevailing advice from doctors. This is not necessarily true. For one thing, many of us eat on the fly, with a couple of fast food dinners and a couple more ready-to-nuke convenience meals consumed each week. For another, due to environmental issues, your commercially grown veggies are not only (sometimes, as with tomatoes) artificially colored up, they’ve been sprayed from beginning to end with pesticides and very often do not deliver the nutrients you expect. When a grower fails to rotate crops, as is the case on large commercial farms, the soil becomes progressively depleted.

This brings us to those Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). These are figures our government puts out, also not necessarily true. In the alternative health community, it’s well known that these RDAs are, in great part, way off the mark, to our detriment. Alternative medicine typically suggests that the RDA of most vitamins should be increased by at least a third and sometimes doubled.

For example, the RDA for folic acid (vitamin B9) is set at 400mcg per day for adults and 600mcg for pregnant women.

Dietary sources of folic acid are few, mainly found in green leafy vegetables, but only supplying in the range of 150mcg per half cup serving. Fortified breakfast cereals contain anywhere from 200-400mcg per cup serving. This makes a good case for taking vitamin supplements, or a good multi-vitamin.

If you’ve checked prices on different vitamin supplement brands, you’ve probably noticed there can be a wide discrepancy in prices. Aren’t they all the same? No! In the case of multi-vitamins, there may be a couple of problems. While promising 100% of the RDA of the listed vitamins, this may not be adequate. Another problem is that sometimes, the manufacturer will simply leave out a nutrient because it’s costly. This applies to many popular national brands. As for individual vitamin supplements, that cheap bottle of vitamin C may contain ascorbic acid as the form of vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is cheaper, but is also not as well absorbed as natural sources and can cause stomach upset. In some cases, a cheap vitamin supplement is virtually useless, because the form is not readily usable in the human body!

As we age, our bodies become less able to metabolize certain vitamins, resulting in deficiencies.

A number of deficiencies can snowball into various health conditions that only become worse. There is evidence that a selenium deficiency can produce psoriasis. It’s interesting to note that the active ingredient in a good dandruff shampoo is selenium and is sometimes prescribed by physicians as a topical remedy for psoriasis. Older folks may want to have their doctor test for vitamin deficiencies. Vitamin supplements may be just the ticket to feeling better and avoiding other health issues.

If we have nothing else, we all want to have good health. You can educate yourself on what good nutrition really is with an up to date nutrition reference book. Any library carries several. There are many online nutrition sites with extremely detailed information, if you’d like to investigate a correlation between nutrition and a health condition you have.

One of the best resources on vitamin supplements is as close as your local health food store. Find a family owned shop rather than a national chain. Family businesses are typically staffed with people who know everything about vitamin supplements and can explain why one is better than another. Take care of your health!

This entry was posted on Monday, May 25th, 2009 at 7:10 am and is filed under Nutrition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.