Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Health Supplements

"Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them."
- Mahalia Jackson

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that 53% of all Americans use dietary supplements such as multivitamins, minerals and herbs. Sadly the 27 billion dollar supplement industry is not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so supplement makers are not required to prove safety or effectiveness.

While many people think supplements make up for a poor diet, most doctors say there is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Research has show that some daily vitamin supplements just pass through the body and are barely absorbed, if at all. The body is more likely to retain vitamins and minerals when eaten in real food. There is also evidence that the body benefits from nutrients like lycopene, quercetin and indoles that give fruit and vegetables their bright colors and are not found in supplements (yet). Other health professionals disagree and argue that a daily multi-vitamin can help with trace minerals that your eating habits do not cover.

Be doubly careful when using herbal supplements. Many come from foreign countries and might not contain what they claim or in the dosage they claim. Always consult with a doctor first because herbs (and even multi-vitamins) may block or enhance medicines that you taking. Also ask your doctor about a safe dose level because sometimes more of a good thing (like vitamin D) can be deadly.

Bottom Line

A recent survey of parents by the YMCA found that only 14% of kids eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day. Even though 89% of parents rate themselves good or excellent in providing a healthy home environment, about a third of children in the USA are overweight. Only 16% say their kids are playing outside daily.

Resources

12 Supplements to Avoid
http://www.consumerreports.org/health/natural-health/dietary-supplements/supplement-side-effects/index.htm

Vitamin D
http://perpetualpreparedness.blogspot.com/2010/05/vitamin-d.html

Healthy Foods
http://perpetualpreparedness.blogspot.com/2010/05/healthy-foods.html

Vitamin Pills: A False Hope?
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/17/health/17well.html?_r=1&8dpc

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