Overdosing on vitamins and food supplements

Literally millions of people in North America, the U.K. and other western countries are taking daily vitamin and mineral supplements, as well as nutritional supplements containing vitamins. This phenomenon is not new, and many large companies producing these products are not only very rich but getting richer by feeding on the “hype” that people are receiving concerning the need for these supplements, which often cost hundreds of dollars per month.

Both family physicians and professional nutritionists are now agreeing that too many vitamin supplements are not only non-effective, but may actually be damaging to a person’s health. In an article that came out in the New York Times a few years ago, prominent research physicians, such as Dr. Annette Dickson, president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, noted that more than 70% of all Americans take some kind of vitamin supplement which come in many forms; including fortified cereal, bread products, and other types of food. When combined with a ‘super fortified’ multi-vitamin product, the result, according to these health experts, can not only accomplish little or nothing towards maintaining good health, but can also be a cause of serious and often fatal health problems.

A few types of vitamins that people appear to be overtaking include Vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamin C, for example, is often recommended to be taken in high daily doses to either prevent or reduce the symptoms of a common cold. What usually happens, according to these doctors, is that the excess vitamin C is simply excreted by the person’s urine. Other vitamins, particularly those such as vitamin A and E, are stored in organs like the liver and can even result in conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.

Many take vitamin D supplements, often found in fortified milk and other dairy products, due to not being outdoors enough to let their bodies synthesize it. It has been pointed out however as people grow older, their skin looses the ability to synthesize this vitamin, and taking supplements containing vitamin D do not help to manufacture it.

While it was once thought that taking large amounts of vitamin supplements helped prevent the risk of cardio-vascular conditions, it is now being found that the opposite often takes place. And older people who take increased doses of vitamins A and D to decrease the risk of osteoporosis, usually prescribed as around 1,500 micrograms per tablet or capsule, are actually taking twice as much as what is actually needed, resulting in an even greater risk of having this condition.

Many doctors, however, are still convinced that taking multiple vitamins is essential to maintaining good health. These include Dr. Joann e. Manson, Chief of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. Dr. Manson said, however, that taking these vitamins are only recommended if a person has severe diet deficiencies and must augment their diets by taking supplements.

But doctors and nutritionists alike agree that proper nutrition, including eating healthier diets, may reduce or even eliminate the need to take vitamin supplements. This is especially true for people whose diets are high in so called “junk foods”. There is no ‘magic bullet’ to cure an unhealthy diet, most health professionals agree.

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