I've been thinking about it lately and I wonder if vitamins really do anything for you. I'm not talking about the kind you get from food, but the ones that come in pills like in those commercials where men who were on the verge of death are now living long, fulfilling lives. I was wondering what you guys thought about the subject of vitamin supplements and whether they even do anything, or whether they are merely aimed at the ignorant, and if they can do more harm than good.
February 17 2010 2:51 PM EST
It is unlikely that you are getting all the vitamins your body can use on a day to day basis.
It is highly likely that you are getting all the vitamins your body needs on a day to day basis.
If you want to get all the vitamins that your body can possibly process on a daily basis you need the pills.
Unless you're a professional athelete or something else that requires your body operating at 100%, I wouldn't worry about the pills.
Pills are goooooooooooooooooooooooooooood
February 17 2010 2:53 PM EST
Depends, really depends.
Bit like saying are humans good or not? Really depends on the individual. For example where I work we will prescribe certain vitamin supplements as the body really needs certain ones and things shut down without them.
However, I don't know what your country is like, in the UK it is law that bread + breakfast cereals are fortified with large portion of what is needed anyway.
I think the commercials are pushing it very far... It still can be helpful to take those pills tough, I do some times. When I am in a stressful situation I cannot eat at all (don't know why but I am not hungry and thinking about eating makes me sick) so I usually compensate with those pills to make sure I get enough energy to finish my tasks since if I am stressed it means I am close to the deadline of the project I am working on so I need to be in shape.
Also, it can be of a good boost in winter. The sun affects me a lot and in winter here we don't see the sun a lot and it can be depressing. Fighting it with those pills works for me usually.
February 17 2010 2:55 PM EST
Many times to much of something in a short amount of time is bad. Even something that is good for you......like vitamins. IMO natural vitamins are better than pills. Your body is made to take in nutrients from foods not pills. Plus your body can only take in some vitamins when a certain other element is present.
February 17 2010 2:56 PM EST
I'm not talking about the kind you get from food, but the ones that come in pills...
If you eat very low versatility food (I mean: much of the same) or food with low nutritional value, additional vitamin digestion through pills is good.
When you are an average healthy person eating a balanced diet and get enough vitamins, you don't need to waste money on pills.
Some people though, take extra vitamin C pills just for the sake of not having to squash those oranges ;p
February 17 2010 2:59 PM EST
Eating a diverse diet usually provides people with the range of vitamins they need. If a person's diet only consists of one food type, then they may be in need of a multivitamin to cover many of the things they're not getting.
In addition to that, there are many circumstances where supplementation is beneficial and occasionally necessary. An example of this would be that women who are pregnant of planning to become pregnant should be supplementing folic acid to prevent neuronal tube defects in their baby. Also, women at risk for osteopenia/osteoporosis should supplement their daily calcium and vitamin D. One last example is the need for vitamin B12 in vegetarians/vegans because this vitamin is not produced by plants.
Usually a broad diet is good enough, but adding a multivitamin (taken correctly) isn't going to hurt anyone.
February 17 2010 3:04 PM EST
I just had an antioxidant test (among many others) as part of my regular company health check. My score was 18,000 which was "poor" given the recommended score should have been between 30,000 & 39,000. The Dr told me that I would be unlikely to raise my score to the recommended level without the help of supplements.
Not sure I fancy taking vitamins, but given your antioxidant level is key for protecting you against many diseases I'll most likely do as I'm told and follow instruction.
Since 6-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day are not convenient for most people and can be very costly, the Journal of the American Medical Association and most other agencies now recommend that EVERYONE take a multivitamin/antioxidant supplement.
February 17 2010 3:05 PM EST
I take vitamins and look at me!
I take vitamins just to make sure that I'm getting all of the necessary nutrients I need, per day. I usually eat a balanced diet, but I just like to make sure. Any vitamins I take that my body doesn't need immediately are stored in my fats or excreted.
February 17 2010 3:13 PM EST
Like almost everything else that can be good, they can also be bad.
There's no question that the human body NEEDS to ingest certain levels of certain vitamins in order to remain healthy, and higher levels to maintain "top shape".
Some vitamins, the body can synthetize to a limited degree out of proteins or various precursors under certain circumstances, however others are a "must eat" (for instance, vitamin C - while most mammals can sythetize it, humans can't, so they must eat).
Also no question, vitamin supplements (at least the ones that actually contain mostly vitamins instead of just ballast) are indeed beneficial, for those that do not get enough of that particular vitamin in their regular diet.
With the way food is usually presented nowadays (high-temperature pasteurisation, chemical anti-spoilage treatments or whatnot depending on food), there's a pretty good chance many of the essential nutrients (out of which vitamins are just a part of) will be available in smaller quantities or actually be decomposed into something no longer useful... so if all you eat is packaged food, and that food has not been re-enriched with the proper non-denaturated ingredients, all you're getting from that food is calories and taste.
Also worth noticing, while a certain level of any vitamin is a necessary and good thing, FAR TOO MUCH of it can cause just as many (if not more) problems, depending on individual vitamin (for instance, excess vitamin A intake can lead to jaundice, vomiting, hair loss and whatnot).
So, not only is it important to get enough, but more important to not get too much of any particular vitamin (some are more dangerous than others, some are extremely unlikely to cause problems even in case of massive overconsumption).
Bottom line, yes, vitamin supplements are a good thing, as long as you know EXACTLY what they contain, and you know exactly how much you should take.
The funny thing is, the CHEAPER the vitamin pills are (especially for single-vitamin pills/capsules), the more likely they are to have their contents properly labeled and contain precisely what they're supposed to.
Getting the expensive, flashy, as-seen-on-TV multi-vitamin cocktails "with no idea what else is inside exactly" is probably NOT a good idea at all, I'd keep the hell away from those.
February 17 2010 3:20 PM EST
Since 6-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day...
The recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies don't directly correlate to vitamins. The recommended servings were increased to substitute fatty foods with healthier varieties (high-fiber, low bad colesterol, low fat).
And if you think you're not eating healthy enough, feel free to pop a Flintstone chewable. Just don't sign up for any of the infomercial mess. The expensive supplement programs will just hit your wallet... then your kidneys and liver.
February 17 2010 3:23 PM EST
February 17 2010 3:27 PM EST
Just keep it simple, and only take one a day (or whatever is recommended by a different brand)
Some basic questions would be how much fruit/juice, milk, etc is in your diet. Taking vitamins will never replace eating healthy, but they do help ensure if you miss here and there.
I don't take them every day, I just keep the bottle in a place where I see it every morning, and if I feel I will need it or have a bad food day, I'll take one.
If you do decide to take vitamin pills make sure its one that you chew and not swallow.
February 17 2010 4:20 PM EST
most supplements contain more of a vitamin than the body is able to absorb (you can only process so much in a given amount of time - you'll end up passing a fair amount of it). I wouldn't worry about getting too much of something unless you're eating them like candy
February 17 2010 4:45 PM EST
Vitamins make you chubby! =-O
February 17 2010 7:22 PM EST
Please tell me the reason I shouldn't take my rock-like capsules and switch to chewables. I really want to know what you've heard about them! If theres a good reason to switch then I will gladly. I hate it when that 3/4 inch pill goes down sideways -_-;
I'm interested about the answer too. I'm using the same kind as Joel...
There are two types of vitamins: fat soluble and water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are not excreted in the urine so they end up staying in the body for long periods of times sometimes many months. These are vitamin A, D, E, K.
On the other hand water soluble vitamins are excreted through urine and therefore don't last for much time in the body. These include vitamins C, B6, B12, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid. If you don't use these in time they go to waste.
Chewable vitamins allow for a faster process of the vitamins because your already aided most of the digestive processes by breaking it up and so forth with your mouth. The capsules and such have to be dissolved or what ever before the vitamins and start being digested and by this time you won't be able to effectively use most of the vitamins.
Another tid bit of information, chewable is a word for firefox but not the carnage blender spell check. Thought that was funny lol.
Thank you Elite, it makes sense!
You can just as easily take capsules as chewables. Anything that isn't a combination of calcium and iron compressed back into a rock will do nicely. I'm totally in love with my supplements -- everything from extra D to minty, minty fish oil.
February 17 2010 8:58 PM EST
1) Interesting thread. I wouldn't say no to a bit more energy! Vitamins are good.
2) Joel, put a shirt on. Ew.
3) Bast's love of minty fish oil reminded me of something. Does anyone know whether or not mint really does affect how fast you think/react?
February 17 2010 10:07 PM EST
Does anyone know whether or not mint really does affect how fast you think/react?
It certainly does when it's in a mojito. ;)
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