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Digging Deeper into Vitamin Supplements: A, B12, and Multivitamins

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Vitamin supplements have beneficial and adverse effects depending on the dosage given and the age and sex of the recipient. Vitamin supplements have been extremely profitable in the health industry, but there is limited scientific data supporting vitamin supplement benefits.

Vitamin supplements have beneficial and adverse effects depending on the dosage given and the age and sex of the recipient. Vitamin supplements have been extremely profitable in the health industry, but there is limited scientific data supporting vitamin supplement benefits. Many studies over the last decade have shown that vitamin supplements provide few health benefits and can lead to adverse effects, such as abnormal bone growth, birth defects, or an increased risk of cancer. Some researchers state that people with a specific vitamin deficiency should take vitamin supplements because the supplement can alleviate this deficiency. Many healthy people take vitamin supplements to prevent disease or have better health, but some researchers argue this is a misconception. Most health organizations indicate that consuming vitamins should be through diet, not supplements. The value of dietary supplements, most of which are consumed in developed countries, has been a controversial topic, because the beneficial effects of taking vitamin supplements is hotly contested. Many experts in the field of nutritional physiology suggest that Americans adequately receive enough vitamins in their diet and do not need to take vitamin supplements. Researchers at John Hopkins announced that the United States should stop spending money on vitamin supplements. Their research has found no benefits to taking vitamin supplements, because most people in industrialized areas are well-nourished. In this study, I have gathered that vitamin supplements are not beneficial when one has a sufficiently nutrient-rich diet; whereas, one who has a vitamin deficient diet can benefit from taking vitamin supplements. Furthermore, I have gathered that people older than 65-years-old should take vitamin B12 because vitamin B12 levels decrease with age. There is not enough evidence to prove or disprove that vitamin supplements are generally beneficial. In fact, I gathered that vitamin supplements may even be harmful. I propose that further studies should be conducted to discover the truth about the possible benefits of vitamin supplementation for healthy individuals and among people with different health conditions, activity levels, and nutrient requirements.

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2018-05

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Assessing Practices and Perceptions of Supplements Among College Students

Description

With the new independence of adulthood, college students are a group susceptible to adopting unsupported, if not harmful, health practices. A survey of Arizona State University undergraduate students (N=200) was conducted to evaluate supplement use, trust in information sources, and

With the new independence of adulthood, college students are a group susceptible to adopting unsupported, if not harmful, health practices. A survey of Arizona State University undergraduate students (N=200) was conducted to evaluate supplement use, trust in information sources, and beliefs about supplement regulation. Of those who reported using supplements, college students most frequently received information from friends and family. STEM majors in fields unrelated to health who were taking a supplement were found to be less likely to receive information about the supplement from a medical practitioner than those in health fields or those in non-STEM majors (-26.9%, p=0.018). STEM majors in health-related fields were 15.0% more likely to treat colds and/or cold symptoms with research-supported methods identified from reliable sources, while non-health STEM and non-STEM majors were more likely to take unsupported cold treatments (p=0.010). Surveyed students, regardless of major, also stated they would trust a medical practitioner for supplement advice above other sources (88.0%), and the majority expressed a belief that dietary supplements are approved/regulated by the government (59.8%).

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2018-05

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Optimized Prenatal Supplement for Preventing Autism

Description

Vitamins and minerals are, by definition, essential substances that are necessary for good health, and needed by every cell and organ to function appropriately. A deficiency of any one vitamin or mineral can be very serious. Although a very healthy

Vitamins and minerals are, by definition, essential substances that are necessary for good health, and needed by every cell and organ to function appropriately. A deficiency of any one vitamin or mineral can be very serious. Although a very healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and protein can provide sufficient amounts of most vitamins and minerals, many people do not consume an adequate diet. During pregnancy, there is an increased need for vitamins and minerals to promote a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Prenatal supplements are intended to supplement a normal diet to ensure that adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals are consumed. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established Recommended Dietary Allowances for total vitamin/mineral intake from food and supplements, but they have not established recommendations for prenatal supplements. Therefore, there is a very wide variation in the content and quality of prenatal supplements. Many prenatal supplements contain only minimal levels of some vitamins and few or no minerals, in order to minimize cost and the number of pills. This results in insufficient vitamin/mineral supplementation for many women, and hence does not fully protect them or their children from pregnancy complications and health problems. Therefore, we have created our own set of recommendations for prenatal supplements. Our recommendations are based primarily on four sources: 1) FDA's Recommended Daily Allowances for pregnant women, which are estimated to meet the needs of 97.5% of healthy pregnant women. 2) FDA's Tolerable Upper Limit, which is the maximum amount of vitamins/minerals that can be safely consumed without any risk of health problems. 3) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which evaluates the average intake of vitamins and minerals by women ages 20-40 years in the US 4) Research studies on vitamin/mineral deficiencies or vitamin/mineral supplementation during pregnancy, and the effect on pregnancy, birth, and child health problems. In summary, the RDA establishes minimum recommended levels of vitamin/mineral intake from all sources, and the NHANES establishes the average intake from foods. The difference is what needs to be consumed in a supplement, on average. However, since people vary greatly in the quality of their diet, and since most vitamins and minerals have a high Tolerable Upper Limit, we generally recommend more than the difference between the RDA and the average NHANES. Vitamins generally have a larger Tolerable Upper Limit than do minerals. So, we recommend that prenatal vitamin/mineral supplements contain 100% of the RDA for most vitamins, and about 50% of the RDA for most minerals. However, based on additional research studies described below, in some cases we vary our recommendations from those averages.

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2017-05

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Fish oil supplements and symptoms of the common cold in healthy young women

Description

Background: Research in animal models suggests that fish oil ingestion may impair immunity and increase risk for infection. To date there are no studies examining this relationship between fish oil ingestion and risk for infection in humans. Objective: The primary

Background: Research in animal models suggests that fish oil ingestion may impair immunity and increase risk for infection. To date there are no studies examining this relationship between fish oil ingestion and risk for infection in humans. Objective: The primary aim of this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-arm study was to examine the effect of 400 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA, the main components of fish oil (FO) supplements, on the incidence of symptoms related to upper respiratory tract infections in healthy young females, at a large southwestern university. Design: Healthy young women between 18 and 38 years of age who were non-obese (mean BMI 23.7 ± 0.6 kg/m2) were recruited from an urban southwestern university campus. Subjects were non-vegetarians, non-smokers, and reported consuming less than one serving (3.5 oz) of fish per week. Participants (n=26) were randomized according to age, body weight, BMI, and daily n-3 fatty acid (FA) intake into two groups: FO (one gel capsule of 600 mg EPA/DHA per day) or CO (one placebo gel capsule of 1000 mg coconut oil per day). Participants completed a validated daily cold symptom survey, the Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey-21 for 8 weeks. Fasting blood samples measuring TNF-α concentrations were taken at weeks 1 and 8, when 24-hour dietary recalls were also performed. Anthropometric measurements were recorded via bioelectrical impedance at trial weeks 1, 4, and 8. Results: The 8-week trial of FO supplementation did not significantly change the average score for perception of cold symptoms between FO and CO groups (167 ± 71 and 185 ± 56, p=0.418, respectively). Plasma TNF-α levels (pg/mL) did not differ between groups (p=0.482). TNF-α levels were significantly correlated with body weight (r=0.480, p=0.037), BMI (r=0.481, p=0.037, and percent body fat (r=0.511, p=0.025) at baseline. Conclusions: Healthy young women taking a fish oil supplement of 400 mg EPA and 200 mg DHA per day over 8 weeks does not impose unintentional health consequences. These findings do not refute the American Heart Association's current recommendations for all Americans to consume two servings (3.5 oz) of a variety of oily fish per week. Depending on the type of fish, this current recommendation equates to approximately 200-300 mg per day of EPA and DHA n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Additional research is needed to investigate the effects of higher dosages of fish oils on daily cold symptoms.

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2013