The Dangers of Depending on Multivitamins!
If nature intended for us to take a multivitamin, then it would have created a fruit or vegetable that has all the vitamins in it. However, such fruit does not exist in nature, nor it should. Many state that they want to feel assured they are getting all their vitamins and do not want to worry. Well unfortunately your body does not work that way. Many get too much of the vitamins that they do not need such as selenium while missing out on what they do need such as higher doses of vitamin D3 when taking a multivitamin.
Remember, an overdose of vitamins A, D, E, or K (fat soluble vitamins) can cause serious or life-threatening side effects. Certain minerals may also cause serious overdose symptoms if you take too much.
When choosing a multivitamin, consumers should consider taking a product designed for people of their age, sex, and life stage (for example pregnancy), lifestyle, and health condition. Multivitamins for “senior” men and women, for example, often contain little or no iron and more calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 than multivitamins for younger adults. Prenatal supplements generally provide no vitamin A in the form of retinol, and most children’s MVMs provide age-appropriate amounts of nutrients.
Risk of Too Much or Too Little with Multivitamins
When it comes to fat soluble vitamins, Vitamin D deficiency is very high in the adult population as noted by National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005 to 2006. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations ≤20 ng/mL, which is abysmally low when considering the range that should be is about 50 to 70ng/ml. The overall prevalence rate of vitamin D deficiency was 41.6%, with the highest rate seen in blacks (82.1%), followed by Hispanics (69.2%). Vitamin D deficiency was significantly more common among those who had no college education, were obese, with a poor health status, hypertension, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, or not consuming milk daily (all P < .001).
However how much of the population is taking multivitamins. A study by NIH found that 52 percent of American adults took at least one dietary supplement. Multivitamin or multimineral supplements—a product having 10 or more vitamins or minerals. With seventy percent of this amount comprised of individuals aged sixty-five and older. So, the population is taking a lot of vitamins but not really receiving the nutrition that their body needs.
In a world where vitamins are becoming more personalized, and people are using their laboratory blood tests to follow their vitamin deficiency is there room for multivitamins? If no, then why do so many Americans take some form of a multivitamin or vitamin supplement daily then? Experts argue this is due to the branding of many of these vitamins by major corporations, as the vitamin industry earns twelve billion dollars annually! Other researchers have also discovered there are conflicting findings on what multivitamins can truly do for the body, as they found they do not protect against chronic disease and cancer, memory loss, or aging. On the extreme side, as mentioned before, some experts claim some multivitamins, due to the large doses of vitamins and minerals found in each pill may cause toxicity when taken in high doses.
One of the biggest issues in the population regarding vitamin deficiency is vitamin D. Vitamin D acts as a pro-hormone in the body and is involved in many different systems from bone health to muscle function and even immunity. Vitamin D our bodies use can be made by our skin with the ultraviolet light from the sun. It is also found in some foods such as cod liver, salmon, sardines, egg, and tuna. However, as we age, we may not convert the active form of Vitamin D from the sun as well. Overweight and obese individuals may also have lower levels of serum Vitamin D. As shown in the table vitamin levels should be optimized.
Table: Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] Concentrations and Health*
Associated with vitamin D deficiency, leading to rickets
30 to <50
12 to <20
Generally considered inadequate for bone and overall health
Generally considered adequate for bone and overall health
Emerging evidence links potential adverse effects to such
* Serum concentrations of 25(OH)D are reported in both nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) and nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
** 1 nmol/L = 0.4 ng/mL
Unfortunately, one main point of poor supplementation with multivitamins is the fact that no multivitamin appears to have adequate amounts of this important vitamin. This is not just exclusive to United States. A study in British Journal of Medicine few multivitamins supply the lowest dose of recommended 400 IU/day vitamin D. This dose is abysmally low considering the Vitamin D council recommends 1000IU to 5000IU daily dosage of vitamin D.
A recent study in prestigious Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) investigated the risk of mortality and harm by intaking multivitamins especially those with iron in elderly woman. Researchers assessed the use of vitamins, mineral supplements, and multivitamins in relation to total mortality in 38,772 older women. The Iowa Women’s Health Study was designed to examine associations between several host, dietary, lifestyle factors and the incidence of death. There was a strong association with increased risk of mortality in this group of population directly linked to supplements such as iron or multivitamins or multivitamins with iron, at the same time there was a strong benefit regarding total calcium intake. This raises the concern that possibly multivitamins may do more harm than good and individual needs of each patient should trump the use of a one tablet to cure all approach.
Another review published in International Journal of Preventive Medicine reviewed the results of randomized studies of multivitamins in relation to overall mortality and showed no overall benefit at all for use of multivitamins in the general population.
Multivitamins Interaction with Drugs or Medicines
Multivitamins can interact with certain medications or affect how medications work in your body. Always ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use multivitamins if you are also using:
- tretinoin or isotretinoin
- an antacid
- an antibiotic;
- a diuretic or "water pill"
- heart or blood pressure medications
- a sulfa drug; or
- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)--ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.
In the world today where vitamin deficiency is a blood test away no one should depend on one fix does it all and should truly coordinate with their nutritional care with a health care professional.
We at Frunutta believe in take only what you need for a healthier better you, staying hydrated, getting antioxidants, and bioflavonoids from raw fruits and vegetables (help to break down toxic buildup and combat free radicals, while the fiber in produce promotes regular elimination and cleansing of the intestinal villi).
And, in general, minimize the impact of stress by meditation, Yoga, spending time in nature, and breathing exercises.
And at the end, if you do need to supplement your diet, always remember:
- Check the formula and label carefully (ingredients)
- If you need vitamin or minerals find a product customized for you
- Make sure the dosage is correct
- Choose products with high bio availability
- And at the end “The Form of The Vitamin Matters” (besides the constituents and the dosage, there are other parameters when it comes to choosing the right vitamin supplement. This includes the convenience, absorption, side effects, stability and quality of the vitamins which is determined by the form of the vitamin.)
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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- Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2010.
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- JoAnn E. Manson, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital. The VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL)Trial., posted Feb 12, 2021.
- E. Laird, J. Rhodes, R.A. Kenny, Vitamin D and inflammation: Potential Implications for Severity of Covid 19. Irish Medical Journal 2020; Vol 112; No. 5: 81.
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