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Sunday, October 16, 2011

To Take Or Not To Take? That Is The Question

I have always been told to take.

Hey folks,

Back when I was a Kid, I was diagnosed with Anemia. I went to sleep on a Friday Night, and woke up on Sunday. Needless to say, my Mother and Grandmother were concerned. Off to the Doctors I went on Monday and they drew blood. According to the Doctor, I should not have been awake at THAT time. He said he was hard pressed to find any Red Blood Cells. So on Iron I went.

After taking Iron a bit, My Poop turned Green, and I felt better. I stopped taking them. Then when I was a Teenager, a friend of mine's Mother said that I needed to take Vitamins. I did for a little bit, to pacify her, then stopped.

In my Twenties? Girlfriend. Thirties? Wife. Now, just as recently as a couple of years ago? "Now that you are getting older, perhaps you want to start taking Vitamins. Well, what could be wrong with that? I did. From time to time. Every now and then. Then I just saw this Friday.

AP - Worried about vitamin safety? Experts offer advice By MARILYNN MARCHIONE - AP Chief Medical Writer

Two studies this week raised gnawing worries about the safety of vitamin supplements and a host of questions. Should anyone be taking them? Which ones are most risky? And if you do take them, how can you pick the safest ones?

Vitamins have long had a "health halo." Many people think they're good for you and at worst might simply be unnecessary. The industry calls them an insurance policy against bad eating.

But our foods are increasingly pumped full of them already. Even junk foods and drinks often are fortified with nutrients to give them a healthier profile, so the risk is rising that we're getting too much. Add a supplement and you may exceed the upper limit.
Well that's interesting. Did you know this? I didn't.

"We're finding out they're not as harmless as the industry might have us believe," said David Schardt, a nutritionist at the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

This week, a study of nearly 40,000 older women found a slightly higher risk of death among those taking dietary supplements, including multivitamins, folic acid, iron and copper. It was just an observational study, though, not a rigorous test.

Another study found that men taking high doses of vitamin E — 400 units a day — for five years had a slightly increased risk of prostate cancer.
But wait. I thought Vitamin E is good for you. Good for a Healthy Immune System, helps fight against eye disorders, heart disease and some say even Cancer. It's an Antioxidant and is said to help you body heal faster. Now we learn that too much may actually CAUSE Prostate Cancer in Men?

As many as one-third of Americans take vitamins and nearly half of people 50 and older take multivitamins, surveys suggest. Americans spent $9.6 billion on vitamins last year, up from $7.2 billion in 2005, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Multivitamins top the list, at nearly $5 billion in sales.

Yet there is no clear evidence that multivitamins lower the risk of cancer, heart disease or any other chronic health problems. No government agency recommends them "regardless of the quality of a person's diet," says a fact sheet from the federal Office of Dietary Supplements. And vitamins aren't required to undergo the strict testing required of U.S.-approved prescription medicines.
I did not know that either. Did you know that Vitamins aren't required to be strictly Tested to be U.S. Approved Prescription? So we are putting in our body something that, in essence, is not even tested?

Some fads, such as the antioxidant craze over vitamins A and E and beta-carotene, backfired when studies found more health risk, not less. And studies that find more disease in people with too little of a certain vitamin can be misleading: Correcting a deficiency so you have the right daily amount is different from supplementing beyond recommended levels.

The best way to get vitamins is to eat foods that naturally contain them, said Jody Engel, a nutritionist with Office of Dietary Supplements. "Foods provide more than just vitamins and minerals, such as fiber and other ingredients that may have positive health effects."

Schardt adds: "It's virtually impossible to overdose on the nutrients in food."

Some folks may need more of certain nutrients and should talk with their doctors about supplements:
You should ALWAYS talk to your Doctor about something you are about to put in your Body. It goes on to talk about why you may NEED these, then says this.

If you do need a supplement, beware: Quality varies. Consumerlab.com, a company that tests supplements and publishes ratings for subscribers, has found a high rate of problems in the 3,000 products it has tested since 1999.

"One out of 4 either doesn't contain what it claims or has some other problems such as contamination or the pills won't break apart properly," said company president Dr. Tod Cooperman.

For example, one gummy bear calcium product had 250 percent of the amount of vitamin D claimed on the label. Another liquid product made with rose hips had just over half the amount of vitamin C listed.

"You don't have to pay a lot. Price is not necessarily linked to quality," he said. "The quality doesn't really relate to where you're buying it. I know many people are surprised by that or don't want to believe it, but that is the case. We find good and bad products in every venue."

Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council, suggests looking for "seals of approval" or certifications of quality from groups that spot-test supplements such as the USP, or United States Pharmacopeia; NSF International and NPA, the Natural Products Association.
Then they give this advice. It's good advice. Some of the things I knew, some I didn't. But they are all Logical and Commonsense.

Experts offered this advice:

— Keep it simple. The more ingredients there are in a supplement combo, the more chance that one of them will not be the right amount, Cooperman said.

— Consider a supplement combo tailored to your gender and age, the Office of Dietary Supplements suggests. Multivitamins often contain little iron, and ones for seniors give more calcium and vitamin D than products aimed at younger adults.

— Take vitamin D with dinner. A study found significantly more absorption of that nutrient when it was consumed at the largest meal, which tends to have more fat, than at breakfast, Cooperman said.

— Watch out for vitamin K — it promotes clotting and can interfere with common heart medicines and blood thinners such as warfarin, sold as Coumadin and other brands.

— Current and former smokers are advised to avoid multivitamins with lots of beta-carotene or vitamin A; two studies have tied them to increased risk of lung cancer.

— For cancer patients, "vitamins C and E might reduce the effectiveness of certain types of chemotherapy," Engel said.

— People having surgery should know that some vitamins can affect bleeding and response to anesthesia.
So Vitamin K? Vitamin K is a fat-soluble Vitamin. According to OSU Linus Pauling Institute:

The "K" is derived from the German word "koagulation." Coagulation refers to the process of blood clot formation. Vitamin K is essential for the functioning of several proteins involved in blood clotting.
So it seems as if it can be beneficial in very specific situations and cases, as determined by a Doctor. But they should not simple be ingested along with your daily Cocktail of other Vitamins. Good to know.

Basically folks, as with anything, check with those that know, before you dive in and do whatever. When it comes to your Body, Mind, or Health, always check with a Doctor if you are not sure. As Mahatma Gandhi said "It is Health that is real wealth and not pieces of Gold and Silver.”
Peter

Sources:
AP - Worried about vitamin safety? Experts offer advice
OSU Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin K

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