Nutritional vitamin supplements are big business. Many say they’re unnecessary, while others contend that they’re more necessary than ever. They’ve been a source of controversy and debate for many years. Why?
They’ve been around a good long time in one form or another. Cod liver oil was widely given to children daily only 100 years ago. Those same children would never have dreamed that one day people would pay lots of money to not only take fish oil, but take it more than once a day. You’ve probably seen the daily vitamins sold in most stores that even many doctors are now grudgingly stating are fine to take regularly.
The heart of the controversy is both the types and potencies of many supplements. Often a single dose contains a nutrient or nutrients in such high concentration as to be completely impossible to consume in a proportionate amount of foods that contain that nutrient or nutrients. Many in the medical establishment insist that this is at best a foolish and at worst a potentially dangerous practice. They state that some nutrients, being water soluble, are simply passed through the system and others that are fat soluble can be absorbed into fat reserves in hazardous levels if ingested without caution.
Those who support the use of supplements counter that passing part of a dose of a water soluble nutrient is worthwhile because it ensures saturation of that nutrient at a cellular level, maxing out the body’s available supply. The supplement industry itself has added precautionary statements to their labeling to warn of the potential hazard of ingesting a high level of fat soluble nutrients.
Even so, for vitamins and minerals, there is some monitoring by the Food and Drug Administration. For others that are not recognized as essential nutrients, the truth becomes less clear. Benefits may only be implied at best, with statements denying solid evidence of any now a requirement of law. How much garlic do you need each day? How much feverfew? There still remains no way to know other than the assertions of alternative health care proponents.
If you truly desire to take nutritional supplements, start with small doses under the advice and supervision of qualified professionals such as a registered dietician. After all, they’re not called supplements for nothing.