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Do we really need vitamins and other nutritional supplements to stay healthy?

December 10, 2019

Did you know that Australians spend over $2 billion on vitamins and dietary supplements every year? (ABC, 2019) Yes, that's billion with a B.Supplement companies often market their vitamins as means for overall health and longevity, but should you really be spending your money on something that might be effectively useless?


Several studies have found that 4 most commonly used supplements (Multivitamins, Vitamin D, Calcium and Vitamin C) showed no consistent benefits for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, stroke, nor for all-cause mortality. (Hospital Health, 2018)However, when those nutrients  were coming from the actual foods, some links were made to a lower risk of death and heart disease! (NIH Director’s Blog, 2019)


Vitamin D is one of not many supplements that can be hard to get enough of directly from food. But lucky for us there is no shortage of sunlight in Australia! Only 5 to 15 minutes in the sunshine should give you enough exposure if just your face and arms are exposed to ensure you get enough vitamin D for your optimal health. (For people with very fair skin, it can be slightly less and for people with darker skin, it can be a little longer.) (ABC, 2019)


These facts are just another reminder that nutritional supplements are no substitute for other evidence-based approaches to health maintenance and eating nutritious food. While there is definitely still a place for supplements for some, they are most effective when they address an existing deficiency -  so talk to your GP before starting any vitamins.(NIH Director’s Blog, 2019)


Book your appointment now to find out if you really should buy that other pack of multivitamins or may be a nutritious lunch packed with vegetables in the sun would do the job just fine?

 

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References


ABC 2019, ‘Calcium and Vitamin D supplements not necessary for healthy adults, research finds’,<https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2019-11-29/calcium-vitamin-d-supplements-for-osteoporosis/11742866>


Hospital Health 2018, ‘Some vitamin supplements unhealthy’ <http://hospitalhealth.com.au/content/clinical-services/news/some-vitamin-supplements-unhealthy-773068962#ixzz67CWmwEg5>


NIH Director’s Blog 2019, ‘Study Finds No Benefit for Dietary Supplements’, <https://directorsblog.nih.gov/2019/04/16/study-finds-no-benefit-for-dietary-supplements/>

 

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