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Are They Really Helpful Or A Waste Of Money?

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If we are Christians, then the Holy Spirit lives within us! God declares that our bodies are his holy temples, therefore we must take great care of them so that we can carry out his good works. Our bodies need vitamins and minerals to function properly, but can there be too much of a good thing? We see various dietary supplements out there in stores, but can they really improve our health?

So, do you really need a vitamin or supplement?

First and foremost, nutritional needs should be met by eating a variety of foods as outlined in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In some cases, vitamin or mineral supplements or fortified foods may be useful for providing nutrients that may otherwise be eaten in less than recommended amounts.

If you are already eating the recommended amount of a nutrient, you may not get any further health benefit from taking a supplement. In some cases, supplements and fortified foods may actually cause you to exceed safe levels of intake of nutrients. (Note that fortified foods are those to which one or more essential nutrients have been added to increase their nutritional value.)

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans makes these recommendations for certain groups of people:

People over the age of 50 should consume vitamin B12 in its crystalline form, that is, from fortified foods (like some fortified breakfast cereals) or as a supplement. (Note that older adults often have a reduced ability to absorb vitamin B12 from foods. However, crystalline vitamin B12, the type of vitamin B12 used in supplements and in fortified foods, is much more easily absorbed.)

Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and adolescent females should eat foods that are a source of heme-iron (such as meats) and they should eat iron-rich plant foods (like cooked dry beans or spinach) or iron-fortified foods (like fortified cereals) along with a source of vitamin C.

Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those who are pregnant should consume adequate synthetic folic acid daily (from fortified foods or supplements) in addition to food forms of folate from a varied diet.

Older adults, people with dark skin, and people who get insufficient exposure to sunlight should consume extra vitamin D from vitamin D-fortified foods and/or supplements.

It is important to note that vitamin/mineral supplements are not a replacement for a healthful diet. Remember that in addition to vitamins and minerals, foods also contain hundreds of naturally occurring substances that can help protect your health.

Here are some questions that the Food and Drug Administration recommends asking yourself and discussing with your doctor when considering whether you should take a vitamin/mineral supplement:

Do you eat fewer than 2 meals per day? Is your diet restricted? That is, do you not eat meat, or milk or milk products, or eat fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day? Do you eat alone most of the time? Without wanting to, have you lost or gained more than 10 pounds in the last 6 months? Do you take 3 or more prescription or over-the-counter medicines a day? Do you have 3 or more drinks of alcohol a day?

Did you find this information helpful? Share it with your friends to encourage them to research the vitamins and minerals they take.

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Blessed friend,

1. Healthy lives begin with healthy habits!

2. As a person thinks, so he does.

3. God’s Word has a lot to say about being healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Did you find this information helpful? Share it with your friends to encourage them to research the vitamins and minerals they take.

God bless you and your family,
Aaron Tabor, MD

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