Do Vitamins Actually Work – Are They Really Good for You? [2018 Update]

do vitamins actually work

While some medical experts say that one should give up on the intake of daily vitamins, other disagree with this opinion. So, what is true? Are there any proven health benefits to taking vitamins?

Here are some facts to consider when deciding whether there are any proven health benefits to taking multivitamins.

People take multivitamins since they think that they don’t get all the vital nutrients from the food they eat. In fact, they want to do everything possible to protect their health and well-being in the long run. The latest research results in this regard were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The report reveals that there are potential benefits of taking multivitamins and no risks involved in taking them. Hence, medical experts still recommend the practice of taking vitamins to protect your health and well-being over time. But the experts say that they need more research on the subject to be exactly sure of the numerous health benefits of multivitamins.

Vita means life in Latin. In fact, multivitamins are essential for a prolonged lifespan. The WHO has emphasized the importance of multivitamins to synthesize enzymes and hormones in the human body. They are also essential for many other chemical reactions in the body.

The body is not able to create most of the vitamins from scratch. Hence, it needs to get most of the vitamins from outside sources. Food is considered the main source of such vitamins. But there are some vitamins that are not very common in our food sources. These vitamins should be supplemented through pills and syrups. That is where multivitamin supplements come in handy.

Humans require 13 essential vitamins for survival. They are also known as micronutrients. That is because these vitamin supplements are required in minute quantities. Vitamins are divided into two main groups such as those that dissolve in fat and those that dissolve in water. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins that will accumulate in your body when taken in excess. On the other hand, C and B are water-soluble vitamins that are easily excreted when taken in excess. Anyone taking large quantities of vitamins C and B doesn’t need to worry as these vitamins are easily excreted in their urine.

Meir Stampfer, a professor of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, states that a healthy adult should take a multivitamin supplement and extra vitamin D if he/she doesn’t get a lot of sunshine. Some vitamins could be taken more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) set-up by the Institute of Medicine.

In fact, Stampfer’s research reveals that people who took vitamin E supplements for years had a lower risk of heart diseases. The professor says that there is no harm taking 200, 400, or even 600 IUs (international units) of vitamin E per day. The recommended allowance is only 22.5 IUs per day for men and women. But Stampfer also warns on overdosing certain vitamins since it can be dangerous to your health and well-being in the long run.

For example, taking too much of vitamin A is not in the best interest of your health. It can increase the risk of certain congenital disabilities and hip fractures when taken at levels exceeding 10,000 IUs. That is why you should be cautious of overdosing certain multivitamin supplements.

The best way to take a multivitamin supplement is to ask your healthcare provider. He or she knows your medical history and can advise on the best possible dosage for you.

Many people who live in sun-deprived regions of the world need vitamin D supplementation since they might be vitamin D deficient.

On the other hand, pregnant women or women who plan to become pregnant often take a folic acid supplement in order to prevent serious certain congenital disabilities in their babies.

People who are over 50 years of age can benefit from taking a vitamin B12 supplement. That is because the absorption of vitamin B12 from food sources become less efficient with aging.

On the other hand, HIV-positive patients should take multivitamin supplements to improve their immune functions – which is essential to fight the virus. This will help slow down the rate of progression of the disease.

But most of the time, people who least require multivitamin supplements are more likely to take them. If you are a young person having a balanced diet with plenty of exercises, you may not need to supplement it with a multivitamin. The supplement can harm such a person than doing any good. That is why you need to be cautious when taking multivitamin supplements. Your doctor is the best person to recommend the right multivitamin supplement in the right amounts.

Bottom Line

There’s some evidence to suggest that taking vitamins can be beneficial for someone, depending on their health needs at the type of vitamin. Anyone considering taking vitamins should consult with their medical doctor before taking them.

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