So you feel pretty good about having taken vitamins for years. Think about how healthy you are because of all those vitamin pills you swallowed. But wait. You hear a news report that says vitamin pills are a waste of money. Or someone says that most people already get enough vitamins in their diet. Worse yet, taking too much of certain kinds of vitamins might harm you!
The jury is still out on this. It’s complicated. And to confuse us more, many reports and studies are either done improperly or intentionally manipulated to show desired results. Supplements are a huge business. Manufacturers and distributors take in billions of dollars a year.
What we want is the best advice. If we need them, what dietary supplements do we really need? And which ones work?
Do we need dietary supplements?
Looking deeper into this we find the most common answers somewhere in the middle. There are those who spout out quick answers like “You don’t need vitamin pills, you get enough vitamins from food”. Or “Vitamins are a waste of money”. All of those fast answers are meaningless to me. I want to see some research to back up those answers. I never hear someone say “you don’t need vitamin pills because according to a study done in… and continue to cite specifics about the study”.
You’ll often hear medical doctors say that you don’t need vitamin supplements. My own doctor recommends vitamin supplements however. He says we probably don’t get everything we need from our diet. This seems to be a reasonable recommendation.
So here are some specifics for you. I’ve done some research myself. And I’ve found some sources that I think are somewhat dependable.
From the Mayo Clinic. Written by the Mayo Vitapost Digestive enzyme Clinic Staff.
I’m not sure exactly who the Mayo Clinic Staff is, but here it is…
The article points out that supplements are not intended as a replacement for food. Rather they are intended, as the name directly describes, as a supplement. Something to be added to your existing diet. Foods are complex and they offer other benefits besides the vitamins or whatever other supplements you are taking. They don’t recommend supplements to healthy people under 50. They do recommend supplements or food with iron and folic acid for pregnant women. They recommend vitamin B12 in the form of supplements or food to adults over 50 years of age. They suggest supplements for people who don’t eat well, are vegetarian, have a medical condition that affects absorption of nutrients, or have had surgery that interferes with nutrient absorption. They do not recommend mega doses of supplements.