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Vitamins – Choosing Between Supplements and a Healthy Diet

In order to keep the body’s array of critical functions running properly and promote good health, human beings need a healthy dose of vitamins. These naturally occurring nutrients are only needed in small quantities, but deficiencies can lead to various diseases (i.e. scurvy and rickets) and prevent the body from operating optimally. Vitamins for energy include B12 and B9; adequate amounts will ensure protection against certain types of anemia. Vitamins for skin, such as A and C, maintain epidermal integrity and promote collagen production.

What’s the most effective way to get the vitamins you need?

Choosing Between Food and Supplements

Supplements, such as various multivitamins or isolated vitamins, offer highly concentrated doses of the essential nutrients we need. They are marketed heavily in pharmacies and health product stores like GNC. While supplements are convenient and can help target specific deficiencies, they’re no substitute for a healthy and balanced diet.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins published a study in the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, which concluded that multivitamins and single/paired vitamins did not lead to an effective decrease in mortality or morbidity due to chronic diseases. Additionally, the researchers noted the toxic danger of vitamin overdoses tied to supplement use – particularly for fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and E. However, experts do encourage women of childbearing age to use folate supplements, which help prevent the development of neural tube defects in infants.

The Benefits of a Healthy Diet 

Many experts recommend a diverse, healthy diet to fulfill your nutritional needs.

What make whole foods superior to supplements as a key source of vitamins?

Whole foods feature phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant and protective effects against conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The complexity of whole foods provide greater benefit since important compounds that work in sync in the body are coupled together, such as minerals, vitamins, and enzymes.

Furthermore, vitamin-rich foods, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains, often double as excellent sources of dietary fiber. Physicians and other trained experts such as dieticians can tell you more about the ideal foods to add to your meals for maximum benefit.

Make sure to contact a physician if you are considering any particular vitamins to improve your diet or if you want to get tested for any potential vitamin deficiencies.

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