Nutritional supplements have been in the cross-fire lately on every major news channel with both sides of the debate chiming in to whether or not these have a sound beneficial role in improving one’s health. Articles published in the Annals of Internal Medicine state ‘multivitamins are ineffective in preventing mortality or morbidity, claiming that they don’t help well-nourished adults” and that vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention.
WHAT? I thought we all knew this. The reaction from the Sr. VP of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs for the Natural Products Association responds “Multivitamins are not intended to cure chronic disease or prevent death solely on their own. They are designed to address nutrient deficiencies and to aid in the general health and well-being of consumers. They are an important part of the picture in leading a healthy lifestyle. Vitamin and mineral supplements are an excellent source of nutrition for those who don’t eat a complete balanced diet.”
It is very discouraging to see overblown editorials and hype over what should be viewed as a basic pro-active approach to one’s overall well-being. Certainly it is a fact that each of us doesn’t need, nor should, take daily multivitamins. Many of us eat a well-balanced diet and have no deficiencies. Many other factors should be considered when deciding when and what to supplement with: stress, sleep, diet, exercise, sunlight exposure, seasonal pain associated with cold weather, etc.
Dietary supplements are not considered drugs nor intended to work like drugs in treating or curing illnesses. Supplements are actually considered a food, and heavily regulated within that industry. They’re intended to “boost” or supplement nutrients lacking in the diet and offer a huge array of health benefits, all backed by clinical studies, scientific data, and superb safety regulations (in the USA).
Decades of scientific research support the health value of supplements, including recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, American Heart Association, and the Natural Products Association. Not only do supplements benefit users in the obvious ways mentioned, but they are an inexpensive, easy way to support overall health thus save money on health care costs in the long run.