The body absorbs nutrients better from food than from supplements. (Photo: Reuters)
Most people don’t need to take vitamins or supplements because they can get all the nutrients they need through a healthy diet, according to a recent journal article. JAMA Internal Medicine. For healthy people, vitamins are at best a waste of money and at worst a risk of complications from overdose, its authors point out. ” The problem is that the very limited amount of time we have to see patients prevents us from advising them on how to properly reduce their cardiovascular risk, such as by exercising or quitting smoking. said Dr. Jeffrey Linder, chief of internal medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and co-author of the paper. JAMA released last June.
According to them, consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. So it’s reasonable to think that essential vitamins and minerals could be extracted from fruits and vegetables and packaged into pills to save people the hassle and expense of eating a balanced diet. But they explain that people who eat a generally balanced diet already get the vitamins and nutrients they need, and the body is generally better at absorbing nutrients from food than from supplements.
But Linder noted that people who are vitamin deficient may still benefit from supplements such as calcium and vitamin D, which have been shown to prevent fractures and possibly falls in older adults.
These recommendations also don’t apply to pregnant women, notes the paper’s co-author Dr. Natalie Cameron, an instructor in general internal medicine at Feinberg. ” Certain vitamins, such as folic acid, are essential for pregnant women to support healthy fetal development. The most common way to meet these needs is to take a prenatal vitamin. “, she says.
This article just confirmed the conclusion of a study published 3 years earlier in the same journal that ” manufacturers of these products often tout health benefits such as better brain function, better heart health, and a stronger immune system, and doctors have recommended certain supplements like fish oil and multivitamins for years. However, medical research does not support these claims. “. This study focuses on the harmful effects that these products can have when used without any medical supervision. ” Most essential vitamins and minerals are considered safe at recommended doses, but adverse reactions are possible. Many emergencies are related to dietary supplements, which often result from toxic ingredients such as heavy metals, steroids, and stimulants. “, she warns.
Dr. Mohamad Menessi, professor of internal medicine at Cairo University, provides examples of the risks of vitamin overdose. For example, according to him, an overdose of vitamin A can cause osteoporosis, deformity of the fetus in pregnant women, increased pressure in the brain, drying of the cornea and sometimes lung cancer.
Although an overdose of vitamin E can cause bleeding disorders, brain hemorrhage or heart problems. As for vitamin D overdose, it can lead to excess calcium in the body, which in turn causes heart problems, kidney stones or constipation. Finally, an overdose of vitamin B can cause skin allergies and liver failure.
” All these examples show that the use of vitamins should be controlled by a doctor who determines the dose and duration. “, he advises. He explains that vitamins are prescribed by a doctor after a clinical examination and/or tests to identify vitamin deficiencies.
Professor of Nutrition at Cairo University Dr. Mohamad Mansour, emphasizing that a person who does not suffer from diseases and follows a healthy and balanced diet, does not need to take vitamins, gives examples when it is advised to take vitamins and supplements.
These include certain people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant or breastfeeding women, certain teenagers who are going through puberty, those who work in physically demanding jobs or play sports, and those who have had sleeve gastrectomy (bariatric surgery). reduce stomach volume.