Are multi-vitamins necessary for maintaining a healthier body? Absolutely! What was the domain of “health nuts” yesterday, is now backed by research that indicates that simple multi-vitamin supplementation contributes to less disease and healthier aging. Those that scoff at idea of taking supplements to augment our diet simply do not have a grasp of the actual importance of vitamin and other supplementation to “fill” in for gaps and deficiencies in our body for such nutritional support. A common slam on vitamin intake is that it only contributes to “expensive urine”, or that they pass through our intestines unabsorbed. Yes, cheap supplements may not contribute much and may actually pass through our gut and not get absorbed. However, a quality supplement from a reputable source that insures the actual ingredients and potency through certificates of analysis, will deliver what people are hoping for-supplements that work and make a difference. Expensive urine? One only needs to research the unexhaustible literature on vitamins, minerals, amino acids and many other nutrients in the Library of Medical Research (pubmed) to understand that therapeutic levels of these nutrients can contribute to the prevention of many health disorders or are necessary for the targeted intervention in many disease states. I have had amazing results in helping people with targeted supplementation based on lab tests that reveal what your body needs. Can you imagine if all kids started out with good dietary and lifestyle practices that were augmented by some simple supplementation? Instead of a “Junk Food Nation”, we would have a nation of productive and healthy individuals. Please read a recent report on multi-vitamins and teens….
December 18, 2006 — Teens who use multivitamins have healthier lifestyle behaviors, exercise more, and eat better than do nonusers, according to the results of a study reported in the December issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
“Few studies conducted in adolescents have explored the relationship between supplement use and food intake or lifestyle behaviors such as physical activity or weight status,” write Lindsay Reaves, MPH, from the University of Minneapolis School of Public Health in Minnesota, and colleagues. “This study explores the relationships of multiple-vitamin supplement use with dietary intake of selected food groups, physical activity, other lifestyle behaviors, and weight status in adolescents who were enrolled in the Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH) study.”
In the current study, 2761 adolescents in the 12th grade who were enrolled in CATCH had their height and weight measured and completed a health behavior survey and food frequency questionnaire.
Overall prevalence of multiple-vitamin supplement use in adolescents was 25%, although this varied by sex, race, and ethnicity. Compared with nonusers, supplement users had higher mean daily intakes of most food groups, but lower intakes of total and saturated fat. Higher food-index scores were positively correlated with the likelihood of multiple-vitamin supplement use. Supplement users were also more likely to be physically active and to participate in team and organized sports than nonusers, and they were less likely to be overweight, to smoke, and to watch more than 1 hour of television per day.
“Adolescents who use multiple vitamin supplements have more healthful dietary and lifestyle behaviors than nonusers,” the authors write. “Further study on supplement use by adolescents, including other types of supplements used and reasons for use, is warranted.”
Study limitations include cross-sectional design, inability to establish cause-and-effect relationships, reliance on adolescent recall of supplement use, lack of follow-up to verify supplement use or the brand name of supplements used, lack of differentiation between effects of varying frequencies of supplement use, and lack of data on other types of supplements consumed and reasons why supplements were taken.
“Adolescents may benefit from taking vitamin/mineral supplements to augment dietary intakes that are inadequate, but because they are concentrated sources of nutrients it is important to guard against excess,” the authors conclude. “Supplements are not substitutes for healthful dietary patterns, and adolescents should be encouraged to adopt healthful patterns rather than rely on dietary supplementation for adequate nutrient intake.”
The National Institutes of Health funded this study.