Why popping vitamins and minerals may actually harm your body than doing good

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A 60-year-old gentleman got here to me for session on his lack of urge for food. On questioning, he confirmed me a listing of 17 dietary supplements (written on a scrap of worn out paper) that he was taking. These ranged from vitamins, hormones and even steroids. He stated that he simply wished to stay longer than others by consuming these “vitality giving dietary supplements.” Investigations revealed a frayed liver (excessive liver enzymes indicating liver harm) whereas urine confirmed loads of proteins (indicating kidney harm). I informed him, “By consuming this harmful cocktail of dietary supplements and hormones, you may stay shorter than others.” I finished all his dietary supplements and his liver and kidneys steadily healed.

Another affected person got here to me with very excessive calcium ranges, inflicting kidney failure. On questioning he stated, “I had heard that each one of us have vitamin D deficiency, so I started taking it day by day.” He purchased it over-the-counter, and without a doctor’s recommendation, took one sachet of 60,000 models of vitamin D day by day for 3 months (meant to be taken as soon as weekly for a restricted time in these with vitamin D deficiency). He needed to be admitted and we have been in a position to deliver down his calcium ranges steadily. And his kidney perform improved.

Do you really want vitamins and dietary supplements?

Both instances have been examples of the sorts of misuse of vitamins and dietary supplements. The lesson is, you do not want vitamins and minerals in case you are without any illness. Exercising recurrently and taking nutritious diets, together with loads of fruits and greens, ought to suffice. Enough vitamins/minerals could be acquired from the next sources: vitamin D from sunshine publicity, calcium from milk, curds, cheese and so on, B12 from liver and seafood whereas protein could be sourced from non-vegetarian sources, soybean, milk, nuts, Bengal gram, lentils and flaxseeds.
Dietary dietary supplements can be found in pure kinds (e.g., vitamin B12, fish oil, vitamin D, Whey protein and so on) and blended collectively (multi-vitamins embody few to 30 or extra vitamins and minerals collectively). The latter is consumed broadly.

When do you want dietary supplements?

A affected person must be guided by a physician or nutritionist. When meals absorption is decreased within the gut (malabsorption, pancreatic irritation, or intestinal surgical procedure), a number of vitamins turn into poor. Patients who’ve misplaced a whole lot of weight (most cancers, liver illness and so on) would require vitamin and protein dietary supplements. Those who take a substantial quantity of alcohol for lengthy durations turn into poor in vitamins. Those with fragile bones and skinny muscle mass require vitamins, calcium, and protein dietary supplements. Iron dietary supplements are wanted in a number of circumstances: heavy durations in girls, intestinal ulcers, worm infestations and so on.

Remember, a number of deficiencies of vitamin and protein may happen after any acute infections (viral, bacterial) and have been seen to happen in extreme method in these with COVID-19 infections. Pregnant girls clearly want vitamins to forestall start defects from occurring in offspring. Some vegetarian folks may undergo from vitamin B12 and protein deficiency. For these going by the method of alcohol withdrawal, thiamine supplementation turns into needed.

Patients with diabetes are sometimes prescribed multivitamins. Those on generally prescription drugs, metformin, will want vitamin B12. Those with long-standing diabetes, who’re frail, and have poor urge for food or intestinal muscle dysfunction (attributable to extreme nerve harm) will want multivitamin and vitamin D dietary supplements. Protein dietary supplements must be given with nice care in sufferers having kidney dysfunction. Patients with diabetes usually have excessive blood fat (“triglycerides”) and these might be successfully handled by fish oil capsules (made from oils of salmon and different fatty fishes).

The fitness center alert 

Young males who wish to construct their muscle mass are given protein dietary supplements in gyms. These may assist. However, the dose of whole protein consumption must be calculated correctly based on body weight. Other additions comparable to body constructing hormones (anabolic steroids) must be prevented. These dietary supplements are given in lots of gyms by unqualified folks.

Like extra vitamin D (seek advice from second affected person above) and calcium, consumption of another vitamins may additionally trigger harm. Avoid beta-carotene (from drugs, however it’s superb from pure meals) in case you are a smoker/ex-smoker, and vitamin A in case you are pregnant. Excess vitamin E taken for lengthy durations may enhance the chance for prostate most cancers.

A multivitamin received’t serve the aim

Some folks suppose that if they’re taking one pill of multivitamin, they are going to have sufficient of all vitamins and minerals. That will not be true. Specific vitamin/mineral deficiencies (Vitamin B12, folate, calcium, iron, vitamin D and so on) should be handled with pure particular vitamins/minerals (tailor-made remedy) that are given in 5-10 instances greater doses than present in a multivitamin capsule/pill. In extreme deficiency, injectable vitamins should be given.

Finally, there’s a false impression that taking day by day vitamins/minerals will stop coronary heart illness or most cancers. There isn’t any proof that it will happen in those that are taking quite a lot of wholesome diets, fruits, and greens, and going out in daylight to do cardio workouts. Clearly, a multivitamin a day can not substitute a nutritious diet and train.

(The writer is Padma Shree awardee and writer of the guide “Diabetes with Delight”)

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