Nutritional Supplements – Are They Necessary and Safe?
Are Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements Really Needed?
According to the FDA, “[v]itamins are essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy life” and according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, many people consume more calories than they need without taking in recommended amounts of a number of nutrients. This suggests that we need to evaluate our eating habits as well as consider nutritional supplements in order to achieve the recommended levels of nutrient intake.
Numerous reports suggest that the average American diet contains too much saturated fat, processed sugars and lacks the full compliment of 13 vitamins that are essential to human body functions. We ingest too much “bad” stuff and not enough “good” stuff. In addition to this, doctors Apple cider Vinegar gummies GNC may also recommend nutritional supplements for certain health problems, if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding (American Academy of Family Physicians – AAFP). The 13 essential vitamins are A, C, D, E, K, and B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate).
Are There Risks Associated with Taking Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements?
Quality nutritional supplements manufactured in accordance with the FDA’s “current Good Manufacturing Practice” (cGMP) are believed to be safe; however, excessive or inappropriate use may have side effects or not produce the desired results. The body handles vitamins differently depending on whether they are Water-soluble or fat-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins (Vitamin C and Vitamin B) are easily absorbed by the body and are not stored in large amounts. Excessive amounts above what is needed are removed by the kidneys and passed through the urine. Taking too much of these vitamins generally result in a waste of money but may also cause side effects such as:
- Vitamin B-3 (niacin): Flushing, redness of the skin and upset stomach.
- Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine): Nerve damage to the limbs, which may cause numbness, trouble walking, and pain.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Upset stomach, kidney stones and increased iron absorption.
- Folic Acid (folate): Masking of B-12 deficiency, especially in older adults, which is a condition that can cause nerve damage.
Fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) are absorbed into the body and stored for use as needed. One should be especially careful about not over-doing it with these vitamins. Some of the side effects that may accompany ingesting too much of these vitamins include:
- Vitamin A – Nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, clumsiness, birth defects, liver problems and possible risk of osteoporosis.
- Vitamin D: Nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, weight loss, confusion, heart rhythm problems, deposits of calcium and phosphate in soft tissues.