There is some debate in medical circles about whether adults should take a multi-vitamin. Many nutritional experts suggest that taking a multi-vitamin is a good safeguard for many people who have a difficult time eating the recommended five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Pregnant women and the elderly also have special reasons for requiring supplemental vitamins for good health. While it is true that it is possible to satisfy daily requirements through diet alone, there are many reasons to consider supplements.
Importance of Nutrition
With all the different opinions about health and nutrition, it is easy to question what all the fuss is about. Research indicates that there are definite links between certain diseases and vitamin deficiencies. Two Harvard researchers, Robert H. Fletcher, MD and Kathleen Fletcher MD published a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association about the connection between nutrition and disease. Based on their findings, they strongly recommend that adults use supplements to ward off potential disease. The researchers reported a definite connection between low levels of B-6 and B-12 and an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer. Other correlations included low levels of vitamin D and a higher risk for osteopenia and bone fractures.
Nutrient Deficient Food Supply
Even if a person eats the 7 or 8 servings of vegetables per day, if the quality is poor due to overcooking or bad soil, then the nutrient levels can be low. Major problems have been cited for the inferior food quality that is common today. Current farming methods, food processing and mass production techniques contribute to a food supply that is less nutrient dense than in prior years. Given this fact, taking a supplement can be beneficial.
How the Body Is Robbed of Nutrients
In addition to food quality concerns, another justification for taking a multi-vitamin is because the body can lose nutrients as the result of certain habits or under specific conditions. Alcohol and tobacco are two toxins that can deplete the body of necessary nutrients. Caffeine is another substance to avoid as a precautionary measure for protecting calcium levels in the bones.
Regular use of antacids also make the list of bad habits that can rob the body of vital nutrients. People who are forced to take this medicine for an extended period of time should definitely take a multiple vitamin to be sure they make up for possible deficits. It is recommended that people discuss other medical options with their doctor if they have ongoing problems with acid reflux symptoms.
While there is no substitute for eating fresh fruits and vegetables, a multi-vitamin can act as a supplement. It is important that people realize that vitamins are not a substitute for healthy eating. Combining a healthy diet with vitamin supplements is a prudent way to try and make the most of an imperfect food environment.