Do You Really Need Vitamins or Supplements?
Whenever I see TV commercials that show men and women looking all happy and active because they take vitamins or supplements … well, I start to feel bad about the fact that I do not gulp down such things on a regular basis.
I usually make a mental vow to start taking a daily vitamin. The gummy ones for adults are especially attractive to this kid at heart.
But after surfing the web and finding reports that basically say most of us can get the vitamins and minerals we need from a balanced diet, I am convinced a healthy way of eating is the way to go.
So if the news reports are true, why are so many people plunking down so much money – an estimated $20 billion a year – for vitamins and dietary supplements?
According to industry data, about half of all adult Americans take a daily multivitamin.
Dr. Richard Besser, former senior health and medical editor for ABC News, says that for most people, eating a well-balanced diet from all the food groups is the best way to ensure you get the vitamins you need.
Besser said he doesn’t take vitamins and he doesn’t recommend them for his patients who follow a well-balanced diet and aren’t in any particular risk groups.
According to the HopkinsMedicine.org website, “In an editorial in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine titled ‘Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,’ Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed evidence about supplements, including three very recent studies:
- An analysis of research involving 450,000 people, which found that multivitamins did not reduce risk for heart disease or cancer.
- A study that tracked the mental functioning and multivitamin use of 5,947 men for 12 years found that multivitamins did not reduce risk for mental declines such as memory loss or slowed-down thinking.
- A study of 1,708 heart attack survivors who took a high-dose multivitamin or placebo for up to 55 months. Rates of later heart attacks, heart surgeries and deaths were similar in the two groups.
The verdict: Multivitamins don’t reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline or an early death.
Please don’t stop taking vitamins or supplements if you’ve been urged to do so by your doctor. Otherwise, make sure your daily diet is well-rounded so you are getting the nutrients you need to be healthy without supplements.
There are two groups that should consider vitamins: pregnant women and the elderly. The best bets are folic acid, vitamin D and calcium.
Folic acid is vital to a baby’s early development.
Vitamin D is essential for bone health and we become deficient as we age. The good news: Many people get enough vitamin D through normal sun exposure.
As we age, our skin loses its ability to make vitamin D. So if you’re older or live in a northern climate where the sun isn’t a daily visitor you may need more vitamin D.
Meal Plan Map offers the Healthy Weight Plan, Healthy Heart Plan, Diabetes-Friendly Plan, Hypertension-Friendly Plan, and Diabetes & Hypertension-Friendly Plan that meet the guidelines of major health organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Why pay extra for vitamins or supplements when you get what you need from the food you eat?
These delicious meals are properly portioned and balanced to give you what you need to get healthy and maybe even lose a little weight.
John McGran has been writing about health and weight loss for several national companies since 2000. He brings his knowledge of diets — and his passion for dropping pounds — to Meal Plan Map because he believes it is the future of smart, stress-free eating and improved health.