Mayo Health Care
Take Your Vitamins, but Don’t Overdose on Them
We all know people who go to the local health store like GNC or High Health to get their supply of vitamins. They often go to these places because they feel or even know that they can get a better grade of vitamin there than at the local drug store or supermarket. While this is not a bad idea, a lot of the vitamins sold at the health stores come in much too high of a dose per pill or capsule. Sometimes it is just the person’s belief that more is better, but all too often they purchase these mega-dose vitamins at the beckoning of the sales person working there who recommended them. Long ago the U. government set the guidelines as to the proper levels of vitamins and minerals people should take and not exceed to help prevent overdose. Many people think that these assessed levels are too low, and believe that it is better to take much higher doses than what is recommended. The question is, is this safe to do? Of course it is a good idea to take a vitamin and mineral supplement, but as it always was, it is still recommended that you get more of your vitamins and minerals from whole food sources. It is not a good idea to think that a poor, improper diet can be made up for by simply taking a handful of vitamin and mineral pills. While it is true that it is hard to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need daily from food alone, vitamin and mineral pills are only meant to fill these little gaps, not totally replace them.
When the Food and Nutrition Board of the Academy of Sciences set the recommended daily allowances for each vitamin and mineral, it was done based on studies that determined how much of each vitamin and mineral our body needed and how much we could reasonably obtain from food. It was determined that taking extra vitamins and minerals within the recommended guidelines was safe. It is important to take vitamins and minerals because aside from being needed for normal bodily functions, they are important in fighting disease and helping to cure many ailments. Some people believe that they can prevent cancer, stop aging, ease arthritis, and help with lots of other conditions with vitamins. Billions of dollars are being spent on vitamins and minerals to be taken in mega-doses with the belief that they can cure many of their ailments. There are many people who think that the RDA’s should be increased because they believe that the current recommended doses are too low. Recently, the RDA’s of some vitamins and minerals has been increased, such as vitamin C. However, the Food and Drug Administration has not been too eager to increase the RDA’s of others because there are studies that indicate that taking more is not better. In fact, taking too much of some vitamins and minerals can cause both a toxin buildup as well as a mineral imbalance in the body. Taking vitamin E at more than 1000mg for example increases the risk for possible bleeding.
It had always been believed that taking mega-doses of vitamin C can cure a cold and even prevent cancer. The FDA however believes that too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea. There are also studies being conducted that are beginning to hint that if you take too big of doses of anti-oxidants while being treated for cancer, you may be feeding the cancer cells, making them resistant to chemotherapy. The best approach to taking vitamin and mineral supplements is to stay within a moderate dose. This means that you do not need the “super huge mega size” multi-vitamin pills often sold in the health stores. There are plenty of multi-vitamins sold at these health stores that are within good, moderate, acceptable levels of vitamin and mineral content. Remember this also, when the sales person working there attempts to sell you the outrageously big vitamin pills, they are doing so because those vitamins are usually more expensive and will bring in higher commissions. The vast majority of the people who work in these health stores do not have any degrees or certifications’s in any area of nutrition and so are NOT qualified to determine how much of any vitamin or mineral you need. If you think you may need more of any vitamin or mineral, the best approach is to consult with your doctor. Your doctor can assess your blood work results and determine whether you need more or even less of any of the vitamins or minerals.
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