What vitamins and supplements can and can’t do

Vitamins are a good source of supplemental nutritional to an already healthy diet. They shouldn’t however be used as the sole source of nutrition or as a license to eat poorly.

Many articles and studies have surfaced criticizing the ineffectiveness of vitamins and supplements, sometimes claiming that some are useless at best. However, complementing ones already healthy diet with the right amount of pharmaceutical-grade vitamins and high-quality supplements has been proven to improve health outcomes. What becomes evident here is the need to ensure that the vitamins and supplements we take are of top quality and purity, containing the true ingredients that are noted (pharmaceutical-grade vitamins for reference must contain in excess of 99% of the ingredients stated).

Last year the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that ‘vitamin E and memantine have been shown to have beneficial effects in moderately severe Alzheimer disease (AD) [even though], evidence is limited in mild to moderate AD’. The recommended dietary allowance is 22.4 IU for adult males and females (if lactating, females should increase to 28.4 IU). The best sources for vitamin E are nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. About 23 almonds (or one ounce) contain approximately one-third of the daily requirement. Now, if someone has an allergy to nuts, is avoiding soybean, canola, corn, and other vegetable oils and food products, or doesn’t happen to eat enough of the recommended minimum, then a deficiency may occur. Vitamins or supplements are an easy way to make up for this.

The problem with most of the studies is they are narrow in scope and fail to account for a control group. Another problem with criticisms is that vitamins and supplements are expected to cure anything from cancer to assist with weight loss. Vitamins and supplements can complement and support an already healthy lifestyle choices or assist those with a nutritional deficiency. For example, while vitamin E may not be effective as an anti-cancer agent, it has shown benefits with Alzheimer’s as mentioned above.

With that in mind, individuals should be aware that there are several nutritional deficiencies which are quite common; these include calcium, vitamin D, potassium, iron, vitamin B12, folate, and magnesium. While the deficiencies can be made up by consuming the nutrient-rich foods that contain them, regular consumption may not always be possible or practical. This is where we find that using pharmaceutical-grade vitamins helps support efforts in already healthy lifestyles.

For more information on common nutritional deficiencies, please reference recent post on this topic, and our library, which provides nutritional and health information on vitamins, minerals, and other supplements.

What do you think? Do you regularly take specific vitamins or supplements? Let us know in the comments!

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