Vitamins are essential to life. They contribute to good health by regulating the metabolism and assisting the biochemical processes that release energy from digested food. They are considered micronutrients because the body needs them in relatively small amounts compared with nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water.
If the likelihood of a person being deficient in a particular nutrient (based on RDA requirements) is 2%, then multiplied across 40 nutrients the chance of being deficient in at least one of them becomes 55%. Considering that the likelihood of some nutrient deficiencies is much greater than 2%, the chance of the average person being deficient in at least one nutrient is almost certainly higher. Taking a multiple supplement for insurance purposes is therefore wise. Additionally, if optimal health is a practical and reasonable goal, why settle for less with a marginal nutrient status?
Select populations will benefit from specific supplementation as in the following examples:
Supplementation does not mean you are free to eat as poorly as you like. Supplements do just that – they supplement a good diet.
A healthy diet will help prevent the complications of vitamin A deficiency. Foods rich in vitamin A include milk, cheese, liver, kidney, cod oil, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, and most leafy green vegetables.
An interesting study showed significantly decreased levels of anxiety among a group of alcoholics treated with megavitamins. Over a 21-day period, the group took approximately 3gm of vitamin C, 3gm of niacin, 600mg of B6, and 600 IU of vitamin E per day. A comparison group received only inert gelatin capsules. None of the subjects in either group took antidepressants or antianxiety drugs. Anxiety levels among both groups were measured three times over the 21 days. They fell dramatically only in the group on megavitamin therapy.
Atkins followers risk a number of serious nutrient deficiencies [Journal of the American Dietetics Association 86 (1985): p.460]. When cutting calories, it's especially important to eat nutrient-dense diets, but the Atkins Diet presents a double whammy; it restricts the healthiest foods like fruit and unrestricts some of the unhealthiest. The American Heart Association states: "Individuals who follow these diets are therefore at risk for compromised vitamin and mineral intake..." [Circulation 104 (2001): p.1869]
Diets such as Atkins' maximize the consumption of disease-promoting substances like the cholesterol and saturated fat, and industrial pollutants and carcinogens in meat, yet restrict one's intake of fiber and the literally thousands of antioxidants and phytochemicals found exclusively in the plant kingdom (like the carotenoids, lycopenes, bioflavonoids, phytic acid, indoles, isothiocyanates, and so on) that have "anti-aging, anti-cancer and anti-heart disease properties" [Obesity Research 9 (2001): p.1S]. As a 2004 medical review concluded, the Atkins Diet is so "seriously deficient" in nutrition that "there is real danger of malnutrition in the long term." [Journal of the American College of Cardiology 43 (2004): p.725]
Realizing that this diet is so deficient in nutrients, Atkins prescribes no fewer than 65 nutritional supplements to help fill the nutritional gaps created by this diet – available on the Atkins web site. "Who needs orange juice," Atkins wrote, "when a Vitamin C tablet is so handy?" [Atkins, RC. Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution. David McKay Company, Inc., 1972]
Major nutritional deficiencies may best be corrected prior to the start of a lengthy fast. Supplementation during a fast is also a possibility.
Your body is a highly complex, interconnected system. Instead of guessing at what might be wrong, let us help you discover what is really going on inside your body based on the many clues it is giving.
Our multiple symptom checker provides in-depth health analysis by The Analyst™ with full explanations, recommendations and (optionally) doctors available for case review and answering your specific questions.