Friday, February 13, 2009

"Should you keep taking that multivitamin?"

In the LA Times this week there was an article written questioning multivitamins. In this article the columnist discussed a study that was done looking at the effects of multivitamins over 8 years. Of the 162,000 participants involved in the study, about half took some form of a multivitamin. The results discussed in the article showed that the participants who took a form of vitamin were no more likely to ward off major diseases such as cancer. With the evidence that multivitamins have no effect on postponing or preventing cancers the columnist went on to question why so many Americans take a daily vitamin. With many physicians recommending them to fill nutritional gaps and no prescription needed, the columnist went on to say that "most people assume they are safe. But those assumptions are not warranted."

The thing that this article and columnist failed to look at is the other benefits of multivitamins. Most people do not take a multivitamin to prevent cancer, yet to fulfill their nutritional needs. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, deficiencies are among a large number of people for the following:
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

These deficiencies are result of poor diets and with by simply taking a daily pill, these deficiencies can be somewhat controlled. Certain deficiencies can cause problems over time. For instance, low iron can lead to anemia while low amounts of B vitamins can lead to neural defects. A multivitamin is a simple way to increase the intake of certain vitamins and to keep better overall health.

It is important to explain to the public that multivitamins are not a cure for cancer or a prevention method either, but for an article to down vitamins and question their need and popularity is poor journalism. If vitamins were not needed then why do so many physicians and so many health professionals recommend a daily vitamin to help people reach higher health? Maybe this columnist needs to look into vitamins a little more and start taking a daily dose of B vitamins to improve her brain function.

Inspiration from LA Times Article:

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