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Should We Take Vitamins For Our Health?

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  Tags: health   diet   multivitamin   supplements   vitamins


Background

Vitamins: What Are They?

Scientifically speaking, vitamins are chemical substances that are essential for the release of energy within the body. It is an organic compound( substance formed from two or more elements chemically united in fixed proportions)required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by an organism. a compound is called a vitamin when it cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism and must be obtained from the diet. [1]

Why Vitamins Are Important

Millions of people pop a multivitamin every day with little evidence that it does any good. Yet many researchers say a multivitamin has a role as a very expensive insurance policy, says David Shardt, a senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Certain vitamins like vitamin C helped combat and thwart off scurvy and rickets. These diseases have nearly disappeared in this country and other developed ones.[2]

There's a lot of controversy about what to take and how much to take. We know they're important for growth and development and for the healthy maintenance of our cells, tissues, and organs. If we are lacking certain vitamin, a deficiency can occur which can lead to illness and disease. But their importance has been questioned because some people do not take vitamins and exhibit the signs of a healthy body.

Some Research

One study suggested not taking singular vitamins because they may deplete another. For example, folic acid supplementation may deplete Zinc, and vitamin B6 supplementation may reduce magnesium levels. Zinc and magnesium each play an important role in both cardiovascular health and brain function.[3] This might suggest taking a multivitamin to ensure a proper balance of each vitamin.

Another study suggests that 7/10 children in the United States have low levels of vitamin D, raising their risk for bone and heart disease. This equates to about 7.6 million children with a deficiency and well over 50.8 million have levels considered insufficient.[5]

A Shortcut to Health?

But some people think that if you take vitamin pills by the handful, you dont have to bother watching what you eat. It is easy to see the attraction of an approach whereby you can exist on junk food, have a terrible lifestyle and still be 'healthy'. Other people take a less extreme view and try their best to follow the prevailing health advice. They recognize that they will fall short of the ideal and take vitamins as a kind of insurance policy. Doctors, too, thought this was a good idea. After all, in laboratory tests vitamins E and C had a powerful effect on the 'free radicals' that are linked to all sorts of medical problems from cancer to heart disease. Many studies have since shown that vitamins from supplements do not act on the body in the same way as vitamins from foods.[4]

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Arguments For

Yes, we should take vitamins for our health

History has shown that vitamins like vitamin C saved many people from scurvy and rickets
Process of manufacturing food destroys vitamins, taking vitamins as a supplement is the best health insurance policy against malnutrition
People who have limited exposure to sunlight may lack vitamin D, Vitamins could be taken in supplement form
People who are doing intense training for sport need extra vitamins
Vegans who never eat meat dairy products may need to take vitamin B12 in tablet form
People who are housebound, dental difficulties, problems with swallowing or digestion, or problems eating due to loss of appetite may need vitamins[4]

Arguments Against

We don't need to take vitamins

A good diet is best. Eating nutrient rich foods like fruits and vegetables is better than taking pills.
Some studies have shown that vitamins from supplements do not act on the body in the same way as vitamins from food
The vitamin and supplement industry is a billion-dollar business preying on people's fear that they may get sick if they don't take vitamins
Vitamins and supplements can be expensive
Taking megadoses of vitamins can have an adverse and even toxic effect on the body

Risk of Diabetes

While vitamin K and thiamine appear to help reduce risk factors, scientists warn that selenium in vitamins may increase the risk of type-2 diabetes.[6]

Risk of Prostate Cancer

Too many multis may increase your risk of developing a form of fatal prostate cancer, according to data from the National Cancer Institute.[6]

Lung Disease

Multivitamins don't protect against lung cancer, say scientists at the University of Washington. (In fact, too much vitamin E may increase the risk.)[6]

Longevity

Vitamin supplements may increase your overall mortality risk. So says a recent Danish review of 67 studies involving more than 200,000 participants. After analyzing the data, researchers found that people taking vitamins were 4% more likely to die during the course of the study than people who weren't taking them.[6]

Sources


 1  Vitamins September 10th, 2009 Wikipedia
 2  Vitamins and Supplements: Do They Work? Health December 9, 2008 US News and World Report
 3  B. Vitamins Don't Work... Again Townsend Letter: The Examiner of Alternative Medicine December 2006
 4  Vitamins Supplements: Good or Bad? Health and Well-Being Centers September 14th, 2009 Net Doctor
 5  Study: Seven in 10 Kids Need More Vitamin D Picture of Health September 14, 2009 Baltimore Sun
 6  Cap those pills: Why you shouldn't take too many multivitamins Unknown Date Vigneri, Sara (MensFitness.com)

User Comments & Opinion

 
75.0%
25.0%

9 Voted Yes

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VITAMINS HELP GROW MUSCLES - stonecoldvt (twitter) 0
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I have known of people being cured of various sicknesses due to a vitamin deficiency so I do think they are helpful. I don't think they should be used in place of a healthy diet. - jennyhooah (twitter) 0
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Vitamins definately help your body if used in the right proportions. Vitamins should be taken "as needed" and not for the sake of it as too much of a certain vitamin is also harmful. - _fraz_ (twitter) 0
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I know first hand that vitamins C and E are very good for your skin. - MegLeeChin (twitter) 0

3 Voted No

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NO! We are eating too much. and how do you know that if vitamin really work on human body? - superanana (twitter) vote up image vote down image -1
 
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