Multi vitamins have been around for decades, if not centuries. Debates about multi vitamins effectiveness have been around just as long.
Multi vitamins are nutritional supplements. This means that the vitamins are meant as a supplement. They are intended to supplement a healthy lifestyle.
They are not meant as a substitute for eating right or exercising. A multi vitamin will not replace healthy eating or exercising. A multi vitamin will enhance a healthy lifestyle.
There are many benefits to taking multi vitamins. They are full of healthy vitamins, minerals and nutrients that help the body to function at a higher level. They also contain vast amounts of anti-oxidants.
I feel that one of the biggest benefits to taking multi vitamins are the anti oxidants.
A leading theory on aging is that aging is free radical based. This means that the more free radicals present in your body, the quicker your body will break down and the quicker your body will age.
Free radicals are negatively charged particles that are produced from processed foods, stress, disease processes, even from exercise. Once free radicals get into your body they will attach to molecules and cells and disrupt cellular functioning. This will cause systems to break down throughout your body and cause your body not to function as well.
Multi vitamins (and fresh fruit and vegetables, among other sources) are choc full of anti oxidants.
Anti oxidants are positively charged particles that will attach to, and destroy, free radicals. Thus preventing the free radicals from wreaking havoc in your body and causing your body to break down.
An editorial published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that using multi vitamins to prevent chronic conditions is a waste of money.
“The vitamin and supplement industry is based on anecdote, people saying ‘I take this, and it makes me feel better’, said Dr. Edgar Miller, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-author of the editorial. “But when you put it to the test, there’s no evidence of benefit in the long term. It can’t prevent mortality, stroke or heart attack.”
The editorial entitled “Enough is Enough; Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements,” is based on 3 studies that looked at the effectiveness of multi vitamins in preventing heart attacks and cancer.
The first study found that multi vitamins had no beneficial effect on preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer. They also concluded that taking vitamins did not prevent mortality in any way.
There was too high of a dropout rate in the second study, which made interpretation of the results very difficult.
The third test looked at those who had consistently taken a multi vitamin for over 12 years. The researchers found no difference on cognitive functioning test performance between those who had taken a multi vitamin for 12 years and those who hadn’t taken one.
Gladys Block, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the University of California Berkely, noted that the group of men followed in the cognitive study were all physicians with no healthy problems. She goes on to say that none of these studies accurately represent the American population. She said that most Americans do not have a healthy diet and do not get enough of the vitamins and minerals that they need from their diet.
“Two-thirds of us are overweight, a quarter over 50 have 2 or more chronic conditions, so there’s a substantial population that one would hesitate to call healthy,” Block said. Multi vitamins can be a backstop against a poor diet, she added.
Cara Welch, senior vice president of the Natural Products Association agreed with Block.
“Multi vitamins address the nutritional deficiencies in people,” Welch said. “We don’t believe that they are the answer to all of life’s ailments.”
Dr. Miller agreed in a way, saying that “Taking a supplement in place of a poor diet does not work.”
He is right, a multi vitamin will not replace proper nutrition and exercise. When it comes down to it, the best thing for anyone is still eating right and exercising. A good multi vitamin should be used as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle. A multi vitamin will enhance a healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Miller went on to say that focusing on diet and exercise remain key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A multi vitamin should not be looked at as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. If it is used as a replacement for eating right and exercising, it will fail miserably.
But, if used as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle, it will pass with flying colors every time.
If taking something natural and easy on my body can give me a chance of living a longer and more comfortable life, I am going to take that chance. Every little bit helps with aiding health. Anything you can do to benefit your body, even a little bit, will make a difference in the long term.
Living a long, healthy, productive and pain-less life by participating in an intelligently designed nutrition and exercise program, is the Pain Free Way.
Here are a few other articles that I wrote about vitamins: