It seems sensible that any drug or dietary supplement should have a scientifically
proven therapeutic benefit, and its benefits should outweigh any risks to health.
Vitamins are essential to health, but most studies have shown limited or no health
benefits from taking extra vitamins.
Although most individuals can obtain all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a variety of healthy foods, some individuals may not, such as vegans, others who choose restricted diets, or individuals in a
particular life stage such as being pregnant, breastfeeding, or elderly. Others may
have health conditions that affect digestion, appetite, and limit nutrient absorption
and use. Individuals with food allergies, gluten or lactose intolerance, malabsorption
from celiac disease, and alcoholics may not get adequate nutrients from diet
alone. People in some of these circumstances may benefit from taking a specific
multivitamin and/or multimineral supplements. It is a good idea to consult a medical
professional and follow their advice before taking a dietary supplement.
Some vitamins appear to be harmless, even in high doses, but high potency vitamin-
mineral combinations may be harmful with potentially serious results. Some
supplements contain “megavitamins” and “meganutrients” that are 10 to more than
100 times the recommended Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for a vitamin or mineral
and cause kidney stones, liver damage, nerve damage, congenital disabilities,
and even death.
The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are especially harmful in high doses is because
excess amounts are not as readily excreted as are overdoses of water-soluble
vitamins. Another reason that overdosing may occur is that many of the ingredients
found in dietary supplements are added to foods, including milk, breakfast
cereals, and beverages. In addition to the dose of a supplement, other factors such
as body size, and how long the supplement is taken can influence toxicity. The evidence
is clear: vitamins derived from natural food sources are essential to health,
but extra high doses of vitamins and most other dietary supplements are either of no
value or can be harmful to health.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel