GRAYSON CO., TX - Between claims made on the internet, television and in health stores, it can be confusing and difficult to know which vitamins to take and if they're even making a difference. So we asked the experts to clear up some of the confusion surrounding vitamins.
"There are too many choices and you don't know which ones to pick,” said Brenda Stevens from Whitesboro.
Brenda is a believer in vitamins, and this week she bought calcium supplements, which she said makes the bones in her legs feel better.
"But I want everything I don't want just calcium, at my age I got to have it all,” said Brenda.
So what should someone like Brenda do, who wants it all but isn’t sure what all she needs?
“For people who are in the situation where they just know they're not eating right and want to at least get the basic micro nutrients replaced the multi vitamin's not a bad way to go,” said Dr. Duke Carlson, a family physician with TexomaCare.
Dr. Carlson said vitamins and supplements can be a good idea for most people.
"The USDA has found that there are some micro nutrients that individuals just don't get enough of in their diet and those include things like calcium, potassium, magnesium, fiber and vitamin A, C, and D,” he said.
But he pointed out that vitamins are not a cure-all for an unhealthy diet and can’t completely replace the nutrients you get from eating fresh foods.
"There's no substitute for healthy foods, absolutely no substitutes,” said
As for the pricey supplements and mega-vitamins, he warned you could be wasting your money.
"I haven't seen any good data to show that the real expensive multi vitamins are better than the generics,” explained Dr. Carlson. “So I encourage people if you're questioning whether or not something's really worth the money ask your family doctor, ask your primary physician."
And too much of even a good thing can be unhealthy, because your body can only absorb so many nutrients at one time.
"Certain vitamins, B vitamins, Vitamin A if you get too much it can actually cause some medical conditions, some problems, some nausea some headaches dizziness those types of things,” he said.
So what does work? Dr. Carlson recommended a balanced diet and lifestyle mixed in with responsibly taking extra nutrients. And Brenda said that seems to work for her and her family.
"It does make me feel better, taking the vitamins, working out and trying to eat all that together,” said Brenda.
And though most vitamins and supplements are not FDA approved there is research to show things like extra calcium and fish oils are very beneficial to your health. So before you buy, do your own research and talk to a doctor.
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A great deal of money is being made from our nutritional confusion. Even worse, the government created these guidelines in much the same way it creates laws: by listening to lobbyists and by making compromises.