Sunday, June 1, 2008

Is vitamins for All?

Written by Neill Abayon

Increasingly, experts are recommending that all adults take a multivitamin each day as "insurance" against vitamin deficiency. Even without significant deficiency, extra folic acid, B6 and B12 may lower homocysteine and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Folate also may lower risk of breast and colon cancer and birth defects. Vitamin D may lessen the risk of osteoporosis and osteomalacia.

For women who might become pregnant, experts recommend 400 micrograms per day of folic acid. Some recommend 800 micrograms a day for women who are specifically trying to become pregnant.

It's likely that ongoing research will spell out which vitamin supplements are most important and who should take them. Until then, things are likely to remain pretty confusing.

Consumers are deluged with recommendations to take lots of vitamins. Much of this promotion comes from people or companies trying to sell their products, or from studies that may be preliminary or even contradict other research.

It's enough to make your head spin — and there's no good vitamin you can take for that!

Do you really need to take your vitamins? Probably not, especially if you are healthy and already get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

But if you are concerned that your diet might not meet your vitamin needs, change your diet and take a single daily multivitamin. It should be inexpensive and contain 100% of the recommended daily allowance of the 13 major vitamins. While this might not be absolutely necessary, the minimal cost and risk might just be worth the peace of mind.

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