Posted by: Rens | 2007/05/10

Mega dosis - vitamins &minerals

Dear Dietdoc. What is your opinion re following statement? It is very confusing.
" One of the big mistakes being made in nutrition today is to reduce the effects of nutrients down to correcting deficiencies with RDA levels of nutrients. This is precisely why low dose studies are often ineffective. A classic example of this is the ability of niacin (vitamin B3) in levels in excess of 1,000mg (the RDA is a mere 18mg) to both normalize cholesterol and reverse schizophrenia"
Thanks for your valuable comments.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Rens
I agree that this is rather a confusing statement. What is important to keep in mind is that anyone who is not suffering from an illness that necessitates taking vitamin and mineral supplements (e.g. iron-deficiency anaemia where the patient is required to take an iron supplement), or is exposed to extreme stresses (rapid growth, example pregnant women are usually given a vitamin and mineral supplement), and is eating a balanced diet, need not take any supplements at all. In fact the latest research has found that taking certain vitamins (vitamins A, D and E), in large doses for long periods can cause an increase in mortality. Click on 'Diet' at the top of this page and then on 'DietDoc's articles' and search for the article on 'Are Vitamin Supplements Fatal?'. The suggested amount of niacin, namely 1000 mg, can also cause a variety of negative side-effects (flushing, palpitations, diarrhoea) and the statements "normalize cholesterol and reverse schizophrenia" are not fully supported by scientific evidence. Taking additional naicin (e.g. 18 mg per day or 100% of the RDA) may assist in lowering cholesterol moderately and improving schizophrenia slightly, but it is unwise to take any vitamin supplement at such high doses.
Best regards

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