Taking vitamins is very popular in the modern world . We assume that our diet may be missing key nutrients and take a pill to ensure that we don’t develop dietary deficiencies. However, many new studies are making people question whether are vitamins good for you.
Vitamin Use in Modern Times
Vitamin deficiencies have been identified for centuries, going back to Hippocrates’ first definition of scurvy. However, it was not until the 16th century that Native Americans realized that a deficiency in some foods caused vitamin deficiencies. They concocted a tea of pine needles to replace missing vitamin C and cure scurvy. A Nobel Prize was given to Sir Fredrick Hopkins in 1912 for his work proving that vitamin deficiencies caused disease. Vitamin tablets became available in the 1930s.
Vitamins became increasingly popular in the years of World War I, when food shortages and rationing left many people with a deficient diet. Since then, vitamin tablets have become a way of life for many Americans. About half of all Americans currently take vitamins and about 14 million Canadian children and adults take vitamins. And those numbers are expected to climb.
Do Vitamins Help or Harm?
Many people wonder whether are vitamins good for you and whether they are necessary. Modern experts suggest that a better approach is to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet that contains all essential nutrients. Studies have shown that taking more than the daily allowance of vitamins does not prevent disease. In fact, in the case of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, this can lead to a potentially deadly overdose.
Differences in Absorption?
Due to the nature of a vitamin tablet, they may not have the same effect as eating vitamins naturally present in food. Foods naturally have a variety of vitamins as well as cofactors that encourage absorption. Vitamin pills, on the other hand, have fillers that can make absorption difficult. For this reason, many doctors recommend that people try to get their RDA of vitamins from foods in their diets rather than making up for a poor diet by taking a vitamin tablet.
While vitamin deficiencies are devastating, vitamin supplementation is not the only alternative. Most modern people can eat healthy enough food to fulfill their dietary needs and prevent disease. Vitamin supplements are probably unnecessary for these people. It’s important to ask a physician about whether taking a vitamin or other supplements is necessary.
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