Multivitamin – Through Scientific Spectacle
A great scientist, Thomas Edison had once wisely predicted – “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition”
However, it has been an ageless argument whether multivitamins & natural supplements may offer health benefits or is it just another glorified, commercially driven stint under the cover of “natural” & “safe”.
Here is an attempt to put down a few rational perspectives through a scientific spectacle:
1. Not Deficient does not imply Sufficient!!
The greatest dispute which goes against multivitamins & minerals is that they benefit only if you are deficient – while most of us are not, for most of the vitamins.
This has changed with an emerging concept of “optimal nutrition” which brings out that ‘optimal’ health benefits may be obtained by ‘additional’ consumption of multivitamins & natural supplements besides dietary intakes, rather than just attempting to meet deficiency checkpoint values.
2. Understanding Secondary Deficiencies in the Real World – Its Application of CAM in the Truest Sense
Certain commonly encountered chronic diseases & pharmacotherapy regimens offered to treat them – both may independently lead to certain specific vitamin deficiencies, resulting in a multiple spectrum of symptoms in different individuals. To enlist a few causes of secondary deficiencies:
a. Vitamin D deficiency:
- Medications like Anticonvulsants, Steroids & AIDS medications may increase the risk of development of Vitamin D deficiency.
- There is data to suggest that Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) & certain types of hypothyroidism & hyperthyroidism – both may be associated to Vitamin D deficiency.
b. Vitamin B Complex Deficiency:
- Methotrexate – a drug used for management of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) may result in Vitamin B9 (Folate) deficiency; and there is even modest data to point out that Metformin (drug for treating Diabetes and PCOS) may lead to Vitamin B12 deficiency.
c. Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency
- Studies indicate that some diseases like Migraine & Male infertility secondary to poor sperm health are associated with diminished coenzyme Q10 levels in corresponding tissues.
- Statins reduce cholesterol by blocking the same pathway that produces coenzyme Q10 in the body; resulting in statin induced coenzyme Q10 deficiency & muscle pains.
3. Knowing the Vitamin You Need
There is general notion that the more number of vitamins we consume, the more health we will garner – this is not always true; it is this belief which has diluted the visible benefits & value of multivitamins in the real sense. Specific vitamins & natural supplements hold specific health
benefits – it is utmost critical to understand these & therefore make a “right choice” over “mass choice”. To list a few examples:
- Vitamin D* – Apart from healthy bones, possible support for allergies & recurrent respiratory & ear infections in children.
- Vitamin E** – Prefer Tocotrienols & higher Gamma Tocopherol containing supplements for cardiovascular benefits over Alpha Tocopherols.
- Coenzyme Q10# – For improving heart health, migraine prophylaxis & support for sperm health.
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin) & Marine Collagen## – For Healthy & Toned skin, to nourish the dermis (middle layer of skin).
- Cranberry$ – support for healthy urinary system & may assist in preventing recurrent urinary tract infections.
- Multivitamins$$ – for improving general well-being to help relieve symptoms of fatigue & convalescence. It must be ensured that you consume high quality products to harness optimal benefits.
Always read the label before use.
Differences of opinion may continue for eons & there shall always prevail enough points to debate upon for & against the use of vitamins; but eventually those who receive the right multivitamins & natural supplements to cater to their individualistic health goals, shall vouch upon their immense utility & hold on to what the father of medicine, Hippocrates, had quoted centuries ago – “Let food be thy medicine, & medicine be thy food”.
This article is an attempt to educate the patient; it is by no means a replacement for individualistic medical advice.
© 2016. Zifam Pinnacle Pty Ltd.