Good nutrition comes from a balanced diet composed of all the food groups, this is essencial for good health. When we hear buzzwords such as “calcium deficiency” or learn that a new “special tablet or pill” has hit the shelves, it can make us wonder if the food we’re eating is good enough on it’s own!
A dose of any of the minerals or vitamins supplements that you find on the shelves at supermarkets and pharmacies can become intriguing. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods. Everyone should aim to meet their own nutrient needs through normal healthy eating patterns that include nutrient-dense foods … [which] contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects.” There may be a need to supplement our diet at particular times in our lives, the safety of taking a supplement also needs to be considered.
Recommended levels of some vitamins and minerals should not be exceeded.
Multivitamin/mineral (MVM) supplements contain a combination of vitamins and minerals, and quite ofter other ingredients and extracts as well. Nutrient deficiencies are not uncommon among young people. For a variety of reasons some people find it difficult or cannot reach the recommended nutrient amounts without supplementation. Those individuals may need nutrient supplements in addition to a balanced diet depending on their current situation. For example, pregnant women and those who are food insecure have an increased risk of nutrient deficiencies.
As defined by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, dietary supplements are intended to supplement balanced diets and not prevent or treat disease. According to a recent national survey of US residents, just 22% of dietary supplement users said they take supplements “to supplement the diet”. Among the most common reasons people cited for using dietary supplements were to “improve overall health” and to “maintain health”.
For some people, using a dietary supplement could be beneficial. If you’re in fact in good general health, there’s little research based evidence to suggest that taking more vitamins and minerals through supplementation, will actually make you healthier. In some research studies it is suggested that certain supplements can be very harmful. When recommending the use of dietary supplements it is important to consider the benefit to risk ratio. Data suggests minimal, if any, risk associated with MVMs containing 10 or more vitamins and/or minerals at recommended daily intake levels in healthy people.
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Healthypeople.gov. (2017). 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans | Healthy People 2020. [online] Available at: https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/tools-resources/evidence-based-resource/2015%E2%80%932020-dietary-guidelines-for-americans [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].
Ods.od.nih.gov. (2017). Office of Dietary Supplements – Multivitamin/mineral Supplements. [online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/MVMS-Consumer/ [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].
Ods.od.nih.gov. (2017). Office of Dietary Supplements – Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. [online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/About/DSHEA_Wording.aspx#sec5 [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].
http://www.eatright.org. (2017). Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements: Do You Need to Take Them?. [online] Available at: http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/dietary-supplements/vitamins-minerals-and-supplements [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].