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Question
Posted by: Merle | 2007/03/05

Who to believe?

Yesterday, within the span of a couple of hours, I read two conflicting messages on the subject of vitamine supplements. In You magazine, some or other guru, with apparently years of research experience, from the UK, recommends the taking of a zillion of supplements to keep alive and well. In the Sunday Times, a small article refers to a research study done in the UK, saying that the taking of some vitamines (like A and D, I think) actually shortens the lives of their consumers. Who should one believe?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Merle
I hear what you are saying and can understand the confusion. These health gurus who tell people they need to swallow zillions of supplements, can actually cause a great deal of harm. Basically we don't need any supplements if we eat a balanced diet. In cases where individuals are not eating a balanced diet or when their requirements are increased (e.g. rapid growth, illnesses, poor absorption, etc), then it is beneficial to take some supplements, but once again in moderation. The fat-soluble vitamins A and D get stored in the body, so if you ingest too much of these 2 vitamins you can develop a condition called hypervitaminosis which can have negative effects on health, some of which can be permanent (e.g. damage to the joints, liver, etc). It is always a good idea NOT to take more than the Recommended Daily Allowance of a vitamin or mineral in a supplement (remember that you are also getting some more of these nutrients from your food) and in most cases, not to take the supplements every day. There is a move away from prescribing supplements, esp of vits A and D in large quantities.
Hope this helps
DietDoc

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