Twenty years ago few people took nutritional supplements. At the time, physicians were trained to dismiss all supplements- except during pregnancy or to alleviate an obvious nutritional deficiency. They were taught that if one ate a good diet, they did not need a vitamin and mineral supplement. Besides, the largest worry around supplements they had was in getting “too much”. Even today research on vitamins bring on scary headlines, showing up recently in the headline of Public Citizen's Worst Pills, Best Pills newsletter (Oct. 2012): "Dietary Supplements Offer Little to No Benefit and May Be Harmful."
Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to scientifically study long-term benefits and/or adverse effects of taking vitamins. People are quite variable in their eating habits and lifestyle choices, and most studies, including the well known Iowa Women’s Health Study are observational studies based on questionnaires and memory. Other studies based on single ingredients such as vitamin E or beta-carotene are also difficult to evaluate. Each cell in our body acts as an intricate factory, using a wide variety of nutrients in synergy for every vital function needed for life. When either a deficiency or an imbalance of vitamins and minerals occur, the whole production begins to fail. The problems could be minor or they could be major, but it is logical that these imbalances lead to subsequent health issues.
In the meantime, a quality multivitamin and mineral supplement is an inexpensive way to insure that your body's cells have the optimal levels of nutrients to function. As we age our bodies generally have more difficulty pulling the nutrients out of our food and into the bloodstream. Plus, due to prescribed medications and general health issues, we have an increased need for certain nutrients. For these health benefits and others, we should all be adding a quality multivitamin to our daily regimen.
The information given is provided for educational purposes only. This should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, nor is this information meant to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting or discontinuing any treatment or supplement regimen.
Robin Thomas spent 22 years in medical research at the University of North Carolina focusing the last 7 years on the inflammatory process of chronic degenerative diseases. In 2004 she left the laboratory to start her own health and wellness business. Robin shares informative articles about new research discoveries in nutritional medicine and adopting lifestyle changes aligned with a healthful and passionate life at her blog, http://robinthomas.biz and atExaminer.com