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The Great Vitamin Debate Continues ~ Your Health with Rick Bellanti

By: Rick Bellanti – Feb. 2020

Should we take daily multivitamin supplements? Are they prescribed by a doctor or nutritionist? Are they beneficial to our daily diet? Do we “Need” to take them? There are so many questions when you are seeking advice about vitamins. The answer is both yes and no.

Will taking a daily multivitamin cure my health issues? Through the years research on multivitamin supplements have had mixed reviews and the newest most reported research on them doesn’t really show that they can lower any health risks such as heart disease, diabetes or even some cancers as was reported in the past.

Will Vitamin C help me avoid a cold? This is actually a myth. It’s always been touted as a cure-all to help in prevention in the battle of common colds and combating coughing, sneezing, sore throats etc. One study years ago said it “might” reduce the length of a cold by one day. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily, like berries, citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli and you’ll have enough vitamin C to help you stay healthy from colds. Stay away from fruit juices which have way too much sugar added and no health benefits at all.

Most doctors and dieticians will agree that some sort of daily multivitamin isn’t such a bad idea if you are not eating a proper diet of fruits and vegetables and it is also quick and convenient if you are on the go in this busy world we now live in. Unfortunately, taking a multivitamin, even daily, will not give you any major lifesaving benefits. The best alternative is quite simple, get your daily vitamins, minerals and nutrients through a varied diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and proteins and, of course, healthy fats.

Over the years many studies have shown the benefits of vitamins and minerals and how essential they are in our daily diet. Research suggests that vitamins may help prevent many health problems including cancer or heart disease. What you have to know is, much of this research is conducted on vitamin-containing food we eat, not necessarily vitamin supplements. If your daily food intake consists of vitamin rich fruits and vegetables, then you are most likely getting all the vitamins you need directly from the natural food source., or so we thought, (please read on).

What we do know is that, vitamins and minerals supplement your body with needed nutrients daily, and most of it should come naturally from our diets, the issue we are now facing is the way fruits and vegetables are now being cultivated and between the pesticides used and depleted soils from farming continuously year after year through generations, our food is just not as nutrient rich as it was fifty years ago. Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows, fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today.

That being said, fruits and vegetables are still the best sources for vitamins and minerals in our diet but taking a multivitamin along with them could help the tradeoff of losing the vital nutrients some of our food is now lacking.
Keep in mind some forms of over the counter supplemental vitamins are better absorbed by the body than others. If you take a supplement orally, you may not be getting the full dosage as listed on the bottle. That is because it has to go through the whole digestive tract before it becomes absorbed in your small intestine. So, some of the vitamins and minerals are lost in this process.

The better-quality supplement brands list both the amount of vitamin/mineral in the supplement, along with the “elemental” amount of that vitamin/mineral (how much will actually be absorbed).

Don’t stop eating your vegetables, in fact, eat more and add in a supplement if you want, it’s not going to hurt. Try to stick to more natural vitamin companies and read labels. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA in the same way that food and drugs are. The FDA does not review these supplements for safety or efficacy before they hit the market.

Supplements are not a good idea for people with certain kinds of health conditions. They also can keep some medications from working as well as they should. Just like anything else, always talk with your doctor before you add any to your diet. Until next month be well.

Rick Bellanti is a wellness columnist and is on a journey himself to lose 240lbs and has lost 160lbs since the start of 2015. You can find Rick on Facebook at: Getting Healthy with Rick Bellanti ◊

ValleyPatriot

ValleyPatriot

The Valley Patriot is a free monthly print newspaper serving Northern Massachusetts, and Southern New Hampshire. The print edition is published by the 10th of each month and is distributed to 51 cities and towns.

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