Is a daily vitamin supplement harmful to health?

In a recent interview last month (25th June 2007) medical news correspondent for CNN news interviewed Dr. George Blackburn, director of the Center for Study of Nutrition and Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, about vitamins. A gist of the information:

An estimate of half of all American adult take a daily vitamin supplement. Still they are unsure if the supplement is good for their health or not.

“I say take a simple, once daily vitamin or mineral that costs about 7 or 8 cents as insurance, not to help their health or treat a disease but to ensure that they don’t have a vitamin/mineral deficiency,” says Blackburn.

Is taking vitamin supplements for long or eating fortified food bad for health?

“I don’t think the fortification, the intake of vitamin and mineral fortification of food, has been other than good so far. It’s not likely that a person is going to overdose in a food fortification. You would have to be taking a high dose, single supplement to worry about overdose,” clarifies Blackburn.

Is there a great difference in natural vitamins and synthetic vitamins?

“They are the same. It doesn’t matter when they are absorbed into the body whether they were synthetic or natural sources; most supplements are synthetic,” adds Blackburn.

What should be advised for patients who prefer natural vitamins over synthetic ones?

“Concentrate on eating a healthy diet with dark green vegetables, whole grains and fruits. Start your day with a healthy breakfast and watch your portion control. If you’re physically fit and eating a healthy diet you’ll get things that are not in any supplement. The good news for people looking at supplements, if they just stay with one multivitamin a day they’ll be safe,” concludes Blackburn.

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