Are Vitamins Worth It?

editor's note: in ALL cases where your health is concerned, remember that your health is far more important than any amount of money saved. Act accordingly!

Vitamin Reviews: The Question

I have been wondering about vitamins lately. Many people swear buy them, some people don't think they do much. Does anyone have any advice on this issue? For those who recommend vitamins, where should I purchase them, and where can I get a good deal on vitamins? Thanks!
John S

Vitamin Reviews: Compare Labels

I'm not sure about the medical necessities of vitamins, but if you're looking for the most frugal way to get them, I have a few ideas. Because the manufacturing of this type of thing is regulated, there are only a few manufacturing facilities in the US that make all brands of vitamins. They just change the label for whoever the distributor is. Here's an example I had been buying GNC's Ultra-Mega for women for around $28/bottle (60 tablets or so). When I ran out, I decided I didn't want to pay that much for them. Next time I was at Target, I saw there Precise for Women. When I got home, I compared all the ingredients, and they were IDENTICAL! And the Target brand was only around $9!

Vitamin Reviews: Web Resource

This is where I get really good deals on vitamins Usually they have buy one get one free deals, sometimes better.
Dawn S

Vitamin Reviews: A Nurse's Advice

I am a nurse and find that there are few medical conditions that warrant the purchase or use of supplemental vitamins. If a person eats a well-balanced diet, he or she should receive all the vitamins and minerals that they need. Vitamins and minerals supplements can be expensive. Additionally, many of the daily requirements can easily be exceeded and cause problems due to excessive amounts in the body.

To maximize vitamins and minerals from foods, a person should eat a varied diet. The nutritional content from fruits and vegetables can be enhanced by eating them raw (when appropriate) or by lightly steaming. However, the FDA has now recognized that some frozen products have the same nutritional value. I would suggest that the subscriber spend some time in the library looking at literature about vitamins and minerals or check out the American Dietetic Association's website.

Incidentally, people who take vitamins (and swear by them!) are usually concerned about their health and are doing other things, too, that can enhance their health and overall feelings of well-being. However, their well-being is probably due to a number of factors, not just the taking of supplements. Please remember that for some vitamins and minerals there is a narrow margin of safety.
Marilyn M.

Vitamin Reviews: Another Insider View

This is in response to your question about vitamins. I am in the health care profession and I have read extensively on vitamin supplements and know human physiology quite well. I feel, after evaluating more literature than normal people should, if you are a healthy male with no chronic diseases and eat a fairly healthy diet, that you get adequate amounts of vitamins in those foods.

Vitamins are dietary supplements and have not been proven scientifically to prolong or better quality of life. Or course, there are exceptions such as the person who has an inborn deficiency or inability to process certain vitamins (which are required to sustain life), for example, vitamin B12 deficiency, iron-deficient anemia, sprue, etc. There are other specific groups of people who do benefit from supplements such as pregnant women (calcium, folate, iron),the elderly (calcium), alcoholics (b-vitamins), and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease,and glaucoma.

When choosing a general multivitamin, it is best to stick to a well-known brand such as Centrum as they are more likely to conform to standardizations. Vitamins are dietary supplements and thus are not regulated by the FDA. Vitamin manufacturers are not subject to laws that require them to ensure that what is on the label and what is in the tablet are the same thing and that each tablet contains the same ingredient as the next.

Whatever the scientific evidence is though, if a multivitamin makes you feel better, and you don't mind the cost, then that is well worth it.
S Y., PharmD

Vitamin Reviews: Some Research Findings

Vitamins are a touchy issue. It is always a good idea to take a daily multivitamin, and, if you are female, supplement your calcium intake with a calcium supplement as long as you do not depend on these vitamins for your entire vitamin/mineral intake. I say that vitamins are a touchy issue because I work in Cancer research where the placebo effect of vitamins, although not the actual vitamins themselves, have done wonders for some patients. Some vitamins/minerals are also BETTER in pill form. An example is folic acid which isn't easily absorbed in your blood stream in its natural form. As far as buying vitamins, most warehouse stores have decent deals. Basically, a multivitamin and calcium supplement are great. For your other vitamins, only invest in ones that are better absorbed in their pill form.

Vitamin Reviews: Fact or Sales Pitch?

My view may not be very popular, because there are lots of people making lots of money convincing others they need to take vitamin supplements. However, if one is eating a balanced diet (listening to your body, eating what it calls for when it calls for it), one doesn't *need* vitamins. A little known fact is that the "RDA" (recommended daily allowances) set by the USDA for vitamins and minerals is based on the caloric intake and energy levels for a teenage boy! Unless you are a teenage boy, you really don't need such high levels of everything they "recommend." Additionally, many vitamins are fat soluble (when you get more than your body can use, it is stored in your fat cells), and toxicity can be reached in a relatively short amount of time. Vitamins that are water soluble (extra amounts are excreted in urine) can put unnecessary strain on the kidneys, if taken in quantities that are too large.

Trust your body and learn how to listen to it--you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and it knows what you need! Save the money you'd spend on vitamins and put it in an interest-bearing account for use later! )
Sue T.

Vitamin Reviews: Personal Testimony

I have been taking vitamins for over 20 years. I swear by them. Most people I meet tell me I look like I am 40-45 years old. In actual years, I am 54. I feel 40, also. Do not buy vitamins considering cost only. Buy good 'natural' vitamins. Synthetic ones are not what you want. Many 'cheap' vitamins are coated with shallac which will not disolve in your stomach. These vitamins will pass right thru you whole, and do no good. Amway, Enrich,& Shackley are all very good lines of vitamins. Finding a good Homiopathic Doctor to guide you would be the best place to start.
Thomas T.

Vitamin Reviews: Too Much of a Good Thing

By following the food guide pyramid recommendations for daily healthy food choices, the average healthy person has no need of supplements. 6-11 servings of bread, rice cereal and pasta, 2-4 servings of fruits, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-3 servings of milk, yogurtand cheese and 2-3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts. Just because vitamins and minerals are sold over the counter or through the mail doesn't guarantee they are safe. If you do take a supplement read the labels. Avoid any supplement that has more than 100% of the RDA (Recommended daily allowance) Vitamins are categorized as water or fat soluble. B and C are water soluble - they disolve in water. Overdoing those two will just create "expensive urine" A, D, E, and K are fat soluble and ther can be stored in the body. Too much can actually cause toxicity and even liver damage! Some people think that if one pill is good, two are better! We think we can live better through drugs!

Consult a registered dietitian before adding supplements to your diet. Some calcium supplements are nothing more than ground up oyster shells and your body isn't able to absorb most of the calcium in it. THINK before you SPEND on vitamins or supplements - most people don't need any, a multiple vitamin (generic) probably won't hurt but probably is unnecessary too!

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