Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vitamins - Are They As Good For You As You Think?

Last Friday I read this article in the Wisconsin State Journal that reviews two recent studies that question whether vitamin supplements are as good for people as they think. One concern is that people are now getting too many vitamins because processed foods have added vitamins as well. Too much a of a good thing is not necessarily healthy. A second concern is that people who take large doses of a specific vitamin may actually be at a greater risk of disease.

While reading the article, passages from the works of Michael Pollan came to mind. He is a critic of processed foods as well as methods to "enhance" foods with vitamins that do not naturally occur in the food. His claim can be summed up with "if your great grandmother would not recognize it as a food, then don't eat it". As with the article in the paper, the thought is that a healthy diet will give you the entire array of vitamins, minerals, etc. Those cited as benefiting from supplements are:
  • postmenopausal women;
  • women planning a pregnancy or currently pregnant;
  • people over 50; and
  • breastfeed infants.
Given my line of work, I focus on healthy habits as much as possible when I am not writing estate plans or handling a probate. As a mother of young children I was a bit surprised in reading the article. My 3 year old takes a multi-vitamin every morning. Does he need it? Do I? I'll be following up with our doctor soon.

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