Do You Really Need Health
What nutritionists have said all along is now official. It pays to take
The American Medical Association (AMA) has reversed its previous
anti- vitamin stand after 20 years, and now encourages adults to take
vitamins daily. This was after a study of 38 years of
evidence by Harvard researchers Dr Robert Fletcher and Dr Kathleen
In reports published in the June 19 2002 edition of JAMA (Journal of
the American Medical Association), they concluded that the modern
American diet is enough to prevent deficiency diseases, but not enough
to support optimal health.
|"Insufficient vitamin intake is
apparently a cause of chronic diseases. Recent evidence has shown that
of vitamins (below standard), even well above those
causing deficiency syndromes, are risk factors for chronic diseases
such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.
A large proportion of the general population is apparently at
increased risk for this reason."
-- Dr Robert Fletcher and Dr
Kathleen Fairfield (emphasis mine)
The conclusion is, supplementing with a daily multi-vitamin is
important to health, and a wise preventive measure against disease.
Should We Take Vitamins Daily? How Nutritionally Deficient Are We?
In a massive random survey of residents of the United States (one of
the wealthiest nations in the world with arguably the best supply and
variety of food) it was found that:
... and so on.
- 25 - 50% get less than the RDA of vitamin A
- 25% get less than the RDA of vitamin C
- 80 - 90% get less than the RDA of vitamin E
- 25% get less than the RDA of folic acid
- 50% get less than the RDA of calcium
To compound this problem, not only are we eating nutrient-deficient
diets, but it appears that the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances) of
many nutrients may actually be too low. Many research
believe that RDA levels may have been set at what is necessary to avoid
obvious signs of deficiency rather than what is needed for optimum
Vitamins and Health Supplements?
Nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids are
vital to life. They help the body carry out its daily
functions and are
needed in all body processes. When our bodies lack necessary nutrients,
harm is caused because its functions are impaired.
The best source of nutrients is, of course, food. The problem
don't get all the nutrition we need from our diet today, due to modern
farming methods and nutrient-deficient soils.
Tim Lang, professor at the Centre for Food Policy in London says: "We
have to eat eight oranges today to get the same amount of vitamin A our
grandparents got from a single orange."
Then there is the problem of high levels of pollution that places even
more stress on our bodies, and busy lifestyles that make it difficult
to have a healthy balanced diet. Most of us don't eat
anywhere near the
required 5 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits daily.
Which means there is a definite role for antioxidants, for
multi-vitamins and health supplements, in our diet.
This trend is supported by over 30 years of medical research
which show that nutritional supplements help to slow down the aging
process, rid our body of toxins, strengthen our immune system, stave
off disease, and heal chronic health conditions.
Antioxidants, for instance, work by neutralizing free radicals that
cause oxidative stress or damage to cells. Cells that are
from damage are healthy and stay young.
Since our diets likely do not provide all the nutrients we need for
optimal health, it pays to take vitamins daily to plug the gaps.
Supplements act as an inexpensive insurance against nutritional
The effectiveness of supplements is sometimes questioned, due to poor
quality supplements being sold which barely make a difference to
A number of supplements are manufactured only to food grade GMP
(Good Manufacturing Practice). Our best assurance of quality
start by choosing those made to pharmaceutical or neutraceutical grade
Also check that your supplements provide you with the right amounts of
all the nutrients you need. The easiest way is to get a
supplement that contains the right balance of all those key nutrients,
i.e. with all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients
the body requires, in optimal dosages not exceeding safety limits.
One way to pick a good quality supplement with all the key nutrients in
right balance is to look at the definitive study documented in the book
Nutritional Supplements, now in its 4th edition.
It lists results of an independent review of most of the popular (1,612
to be exact)
broad-spectrum health supplements in the US and Canada, and ranks them
on nutritional value. The ratings may surprise -- some of the
do not rank anywhere near the top, while some inexpensive ones do.
If you don't have the study, you can see an extract listing the top multi- vitamins, at Best Multi Vitamin Supplements: Review Results.
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