Do you take a mega vitamin pill? And should you?

tobr24u(z6 RI)November 13, 2013

It seems that this billion dollar industry has millions taking a big vitamin tablet as insurance against deficiencies in their diet and to prevent cancer and heart disease. However, research has been steadily showing any claims for these supplements is dubious at best and, in fact, may cause some problems. What do I do? A Walmart brand for men covers it all for me, and they are so cheap that I will probably keep taking them. You?

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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

No and no

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 5:38AM
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jodik_gw

No, and no... we take individual supplements for individual issues, and none are mainstream, patented, or FDA approved... in other words, profit is not a factor.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 6:08AM
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october17(5chgo)

I take a specially formulated supplement.

My mother took multi and additional C, and E for over 40 years. She was very healthy til her very late 80's. For that reason, I wouldn't ever knock vitamins.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 6:22AM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

My doctor shrugged when I asked about supplements. So no and no.

Good nutrition and exercise are the best supplements, along with some sunshine and fresh air.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 6:41AM
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jmc01

"Good nutrition and exercise are the best supplements, along with some sunshine and fresh air."

Amen.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 7:15AM
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lionheart_gw

No and no. The last "no" (should you?) is more iffy - only if there is a medical reason to take a supplement. Otherwise, it's just a waste of money.

Of course, pregnant women and young children should probably take their prescribed vitamins.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 7:37AM
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jerzeegirl(9)

I take Centrum Silver 55+, Calcium, and Align (a probiotic). I think they serve me well.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 7:47AM
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demifloyd(8)

No.

Years ago my doctor recommended I take only Vitamin C and E, which he takes.

After the bronchitis episode that messed up my lungs, I take Vitamin C during cold and allergy season and it seems to ward off full blown infection if I couple it with rest and other healthy habits, which I usually practice. I will never take a steroid for upper respiratory again unless I think it will be the difference between life and death.

The Vitamin E I take sporadically and sometimes when I am sleep deprived and my schedule is very full I will take B-12 for awhile.

Since healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables and enough calcium are part of my daily diet I see no need for a multi vitamin.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 8:44AM
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jodik_gw

Our doctor doesn't recommend any one-a-day varieties, and has us read labels carefully on specific supplements he does recommend. He's very not the conventional, corporate owned physician.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 8:53AM
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david52_gw

I take the most complete, hippy-fodder multi-vitamin / mineral / weird stuff supplement I can find.

.pdf of the ingredient list at the link

Here is a link that might be useful: Source of Life ingredient list

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 10:31AM
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blfenton

I take Centrum select for over 50 and Vitamin D. I started taking vitamins when I reached 55 mainly because I'm not sure how absorption of nutrients gets affected as you get older. ~

Watching my mom's appetite ebb and flow as she got older, some days are great others she eats little, although what she eats is always healthy, I wanted a good baseline and also wanted to be in the habit of taking one.
` Vitamin D is often recommended for those who live in rainy climates and that's the type of climate in which I live.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 12:02PM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

Sweet bell peppers are power packed with nutrition. Use them to liven up any salad, enhance the flavor of salsa, top a pizza, or just munch on one for a snack.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sweet Bell Peppers

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 12:03PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Centrum, alas, usually tops everyone's list of vitamin pills with dubious content. Another problem with multi's is they don't usually have enough of anything and so don't address real deficiencies-as in if you are actually B-12 deficient they aren't going to fix that. Excesses are flushed out in your pee. Only Australians are supposed to have more expensive pee than we do.
Because supplements are outside of the scope of any governmental over sight it is a crap shoot as to whether or not they will have in them what they say they have.
Wouldn't it be more to the point to eat your vegetables?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 1:11PM
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jillinnj

No don't take any and no I shouldn't.

Get you nutrients from food. Taking a pill is not the same.

There are exceptions - pregnancy (maybe), if you're anemic, etc. but in general eat a healthy diet and you're good.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 1:35PM
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lily316(z5PA)

I guess I'm in the minority. I eat very healthy, no meat for 30 years, primarily live on veggies, fruits, and grains, with a weekly portion of salmon and chicken(very little). However to cover my base, I take 1000 of C, 2000 units of D, magnesium, B12 , B6, and Centrum Silver for women. I'll ask my doctor next month at my yearly check up. My last doctor was fine with all of it, but made me stop taking E

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 1:47PM
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labrea_gw

Broccoli, Peppers & Garlic. Cayenne 2 or 3 times a month particularly If I've been working in the soil (it's a great anti parasitical)
Olive leaf when needed. Durig thw inter I take a D supplement.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 2:05PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Calcium daily and a vitamin D supplement only during the winter. That's all my doctor recommended. As for the array of other OTC stuff, I'd prefer fruits and vegetables and a fairly healthy diet.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 2:15PM
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chisue

I've experimented before blood tests. I test quite low on D until I resume taking just 1000 iu a day. My very fair skin can't tolerate getting my D from the sun. At least this is a very cheap 'fix'.

I don't know if it is psychological or not, but I quit taking a generic multi-vitamin for six weeks, then re-started it. I *believe* it helps. One year neither DH nor I took multi-vitamins for two months while we were on Maui, and we both got sick -- possibly a coincidence. (I contracted pneumonia; bronchitis for him.)

Does anyone know anything good or bad about Co-Q-10?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 2:22PM
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jodik_gw

Jill, it's funny you should say that, because the only supplements we take aside from eating a decent diet are those that are no longer a natural part of the diet due to certain processes that are sometimes unavoidable.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 5:46PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You don't want to ingest a lot of anything that might hammer your kidneys or liver. This includes high sodium foods, certain plant material like spinach (toxic alkaloids) - really anything that is rich or strong in some way, with the basic triad of fat, salt and sugar always remaining on the poop list.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 6:37PM
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jerzeegirl(9)

Sometimes a person has to take a supplement because they are taking medication that causes deficiencies. For example, my HBP medication drops my potassium levels, causing my legs to cramp. There is no way I could eat the number of bananas required to restore the potassium so a multivitamin is very helpful. Same with calcium to prevent osteoporosis. I eat tons of yogurt but it's just not enough to do what a couple of calcium pills will do and without the calories!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 11:31PM
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elvis

"Does anyone know anything good or bad about Co-Q-10?"

Yes. The good part is that my cholesterol level dropped; the bad part is that it's pricey.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 11:59PM
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jillinnj

I eat tons of yogurt but it's just not enough to do what a couple of calcium pills will do and without the calories!

I disagree. I don't think our bodies absorb and process nutrients from a pill the same way they do from food that naturally contains it. Just my opinion. Not a doctor. I'm not saying a pill is never an OK short term solution (pregnancy, anemia, taking medication that causes something else, etc) but I don't think it's a good way to get needed nutrients on a regular basis.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:05AM
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demifloyd(8)

Posted by jillinnj (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 9:05

I eat tons of yogurt but it's just not enough to do what a couple of calcium pills will do and without the calories!

I disagree. I don't think our bodies absorb and process nutrients from a pill the same way they do from food that naturally contains it. Just my opinion. Not a doctor. I'm not saying a pill is never an OK short term solution (pregnancy, anemia, taking medication that causes something else, etc) but I don't think it's a good way to get needed nutrients on a regular basis.

*

I agree.

Every time I have attempted to take calcium supplements I have wound up with kidney stones.

It took a few times and reading up to find a study of nurses that had taken calcium supplements when the connection was made. Some people process calcium different. Also, BPPV which involve calcium deposits in the inner ear I had at the time worse than usual, and calcium deposits in the spine.

I am convinced to never take calcium supplements and get it in my diet.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:11AM
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jerzeegirl(9)

My doctor prescribed the calcium - for osteopoenia. I apparently need more than I can get from food. There are different kinds of calcium and some brands are more easily absorbed than others. To be perfectly clear, I don't like taking ANY pills but why bother to go to the doctor if you don't plan to follow their instructions?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:20AM
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vgkg(Z-7)

About 2/3 of the food we consume comes from our veggie & fruit gardens, we have no need for supplements. I used to take one-a-days way back in my college daze when my diet mainly consisted of processed krap and fast "food".

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:42AM
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jodik_gw

I agree with Jill... the majority of vitamins in pill form are not as digestible and usable as touted. It's better to get the nutrition we need from our food source, the idea to eat a food source that more closely emulates what nature gives us... even in cultivated, domesticated form.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 9:56AM
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haydayhayday

First "they" said that you should take vitamins. Then "they" said not to take vitamins.

So, I took vitamins and now I don't.

Something that has always stuck with me from a psychology course was an experiment in which they let babies eat whatever they want. IF you didn't allow them to have sweets in their choices, the babies would naturally eat a wholesome, healthful diet. They tended to eat a lot of one choice for a while and then move on to the next choice. But, over a period of days, the diet was very healthful. There's more to the story, but that's the gist of it.

I've tried to live by that. I avoid sweets as much as I can and eat primarily what my body wants. I still expect to die, but, overall, I'm doing OK.

I'd be a little afraid that multivitamins might, just like sugar, mess up that little game plan.

I don't know. Check back in 20 years or so.

Hay

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 10:49AM
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chisue

I've had kidney stones -- even a staghorn calculus that had to be surgically removed -- so whatever bone loss I have...I have. I'm not convinced that osteopoenia needs treatment anyway. Testing bone density IS a cool way to document a common condition -- for which there is a profitable treatment, with questionable results.

I guess I can skip the Co-Q-10. The shining stars on my blood tests are my (completely natural) cholesterol levels. Maybe DH should take it though. I don't think the body can absorb more than a small amount at a time. Perhaps an adequate dose would be less expensive?

It's downright weird to see aisles and aisles of what must be very profitable 'supplements' in every *grocery* store.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 11:00AM
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elvis

I'm taking 1/2 the daily dose of calcium that my health care practitioner recommended, and making sure I get some naturally every day. The short article at the link from Harvard gives a little insight.

"Given the uncertainty about the balance of benefits and risks of calcium supplements, itâÂÂs probably best not to rely just on this mineral to keep your bones strong and prevent bone-thinning osteoporosis. Other options include:

â¢Weight-bearing exercise, like walking, running, tennis, and others, is one of the best things you can do for your bones.
â¢Getting enough vitamin D, from sun and supplements, is also good for bones and overall health. (As with everything, donâÂÂt overdo it��"no more than 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine without sunscreen, and/or 800 to 1,000 IU of a vitamin D supplement.)
â¢Vitamin K from green leafy vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, and kale is also important for bone health."

Here is a link that might be useful: Calcium vs. Heart Disease

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 11:01AM
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lily316(z5PA)

My 2000 units of D make my D results pretty spectacular at 80. I do get sun but not much in the winter. I don't take calcium for my osteopenia relying on exercise seven days a week. Calcium messes up my system.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 12:21PM
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jerzeegirl(9)

I've had kidney stones

Kidney stones can be caused by the oxalic acid in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. So unfortunately the veggies a person thinks are healthy might be doing a number on his or her body anyway.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 1:53PM
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jodik_gw

Even a natural or vegetarian diet should be one of moderation and a change up in items, I think.

There are so many different plants and roots and nuts and whatnot...

I recall my doctor saying something once... to the effect of... "typically, we should eat AN apple, not a bunch concentrated in a glass", meaning that even too of much a good thing isn't good.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 5:32PM
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elvis

â¢Posted by lily316 z5PA (My Page) on Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 12:21

"My 2000 units of D make my D results pretty spectacular at 80."

As long as you brought it up, what is a "spectacular D result" for an 80-year-old, lily?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 5:43PM
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jillinnj

we should eat AN apple, not a bunch concentrated in a glass

For that reason, we don't drink juice on a regular basis. I grew up drinking orange and apple juice. I gave my older daughter apple juice when she was a toddler. By the time I had my son (14 years younger than DD), I'd figured out juice is not the best. High in calories, low in nutrition. My mother-in-law had the most difficult time with not giving her grandson OJ in the morning when he was a toddler. They drink it every morning and cannot understand why we don't. I kept telling her give him an orange, but not orange juice.

why bother to go to the doctor if you don't plan to follow their instructions?

It depends. I don't follow everything the doctors tell me. I don't get flu shots. I don't take or give my kids tylenol for a fever. I don't understand why they tell you to do that. I understand it for dangerously high fevers. Or if a child is too uncomfortable. But, for most fevers it will run its course and resolve faster without tylenol. So, I ignore that advice. I take what makes sense and ignore what doesn't to me. My brother is a doctor and this drives him crazy!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 8:26AM
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demifloyd(8)

why bother to go to the doctor if you don't plan to follow their instructions?

It depends. I don't follow everything the doctors tell me. I don't get flu shots. I don't take or give my kids tylenol for a fever. I don't understand why they tell you to do that. I understand it for dangerously high fevers. Or if a child is too uncomfortable. But, for most fevers it will run its course and resolve faster without tylenol. So, I ignore that advice. I take what makes sense and ignore what doesn't to me. My brother is a doctor and this drives him crazy!

*

If someone has common sense and even better, intelligent intuition, I think they should do like jillinj. I do too.

I have been told to take statins and refuse to do it.

I have read enough that I am convinced I do not want to do it and I'm still here and I can name people that had much lower cholesterol levels than me, no history of heart disease in the family, and had been on statins for years and they're dead from heart attacks.

Of course that's not the only reason; I believe that inflammation is more a culprit in heart attacks than just triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

So much of what physicians prescribe now and the treatments that they suggest have more to do with covering their behinds because of a litigious society and for monetary reasons.

You are your own best and most effective patient advocate.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 8:36AM
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jodik_gw

I couldn't agree more, Jill... doctors aren't gods, and certainly aren't infallible. And we have to remember that they are, for the most part, products of what's become an industry and its training methods and propaganda.

I'm thrilled to have found a doctor who attacks medicine from a diet and nutrition angle, but also knows that modern medicine and involved technologies have a lot to offer, too.

In other words, we look at our diets and lifestyle first as possible culprits in a problem, then apply medicine and its technologies if needed.

We don't drink concentrated anything. One or two apples or oranges, or whatever fruit, is quite enough for a serving.

I'm not saying that the way we do things is the only way or the best way... but it's the way that works best for us, and is the most logical as we see it. And the fact that I feel fairly human in spite of certain health issues tells me we're doing something right.

I don't care what anybody says... if my doctor, whom I trust very much, tells me that flu shots aren't the end all to end all that everyone proclaims them to be, I'm taking him at his word. I pass.

And that's the same thing he says regarding vitamin pills... especially multi-vitamins and fad items. They're not really formulated so the body can actually absorb and use them in a needed amount. We're better off getting our nutrition from actual foods.

That's not to say that all vitamins, herbs, minerals, or other items are worthless... many are wonderful supplements. But we have to do our homework carefully to find out what we need, if we need something, how it works, how much is the right amount, how it's manufactured, what its source is, etc... taking into consideration that every company out there is trying to sell you their product.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 9:06AM
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david52_gw

I have been told to take statins and refuse to do it.

They hand them out like candy now. I had a prescription, and quit taking them about two months ago, they were seriously messing with my energy level.

At the link is an article on this that appeared yesterday.

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 9:11AM
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