With so many people taking vitamins these days, specifically more than half of U.S. adults, many people wonder if they are really needed and if they do give you the benefits that many experts claim.
Research on the Benefits of Vitamins
According to USA Weekend, two vitamins that people should spend their money on are calcium and vitamin D. It’s difficult to get all of your daily allowance of calcium through foods and drinks and it’s important in the health of your bones, teeth and overall bodily functions.
USA Weekend also recommends vitamin D. This vitamin must be taken with calcium to decrease and prevent bone loss and ensure proper function of muscles and nerves. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to many illnesses and diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, multiple sclerosis and some forms of cancer.
Many vitamins and minerals have been found to prevent disease, according to the MayoClinic. Vitamin C, thiamine, and beri beri are some of these vitamins.
Research has shown that vitamin E can reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the Official Publication of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
According to the same Canadian publication, vitamin K helps blog clotting, bone metabolism, atherosclerosis, nerve signaling and kidney stones.
Health Supplementation Popping One Pill
Since there are so many vitamins to ensure optimal health, should you take multivitamins?
According to a government report, 40 percent of Americans take multivitamins. Most people get many of the vitamins they need from their diet. However, for those individuals who do not eat properly, multivitamins can help fill in the gaps. Dr. David Katch, medical correspondent of Good Morning America, says that taking a multivitamins shouldn’t be used as a substitute for eating fruits and vegetables, instead it should be viewed as an “insurance policy.”
Dr. Donald Novey a medicine physical for Advocate Medical Group, in Park Ridge, Ill., suggests that multivitamins are even good to take even when you do eat healthfully because it ensures that you get trace elements, such as chromium, folic acid, potassium, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc.
Pregnancy is a time when taking a prenatal vitamins is essential. Folic acid can help prevent serious birth defects, such as spina bifita. Also, during pregnancy a woman’s body gives many of her vitamins and nutrients to the fetus, which leaves her deprived so taking a prenatal vitamin can give her own body what it needs.
What to Keep in Mind When Buying Multivitamins
1. Avoid “Mega” Vitamins
Mega vitamins may seem like the best multivitamins to take, but don’t be fooled. These mega vitamins may have higher concentrations of the vitamins and nutrients, but they will most likely be excreted through your urine because your body expels what you don’t need.
2. Consider Recommended Daily Allowance
What you should pay attention is the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advise this and it's all you need. Just be sure to consider your age when shopping by looking at the RDA. Different age groups and situations (pregnancy) need different RDAs so always be sure to check - more isn’t always better in the case of multivitamins.
3. Expiration Dates Matter
The bioactivity of vitamins and supplements decreases with age, so be sure to pay attention to the expiration date. Most vitamins and supplements are manufactured with shelf lives reaching into years but at worst the expiration should be a few months away.
Consult with Your Doctor
When you start any type of vitamin, herbal or other supplement, you should consult with your doctor. It may seem as though taking vitamins will only benefit you but in conjunction with prescription drugs, you may suffer from side effects. It can also reduce the effectiveness of some drugs.
It’s also a good idea to discuss your diet with the doctor so he can help you improve it and suggest the multivitamin or vitamins that would benefit you the most.