By  Anthony G. Alessi, MD – Healthy Rounds

Over half of all adults in the United States take some form of vitamin or supplement regularly.   Shockingly, this practice may be shortening their lives.

Vitamins are organic components to food that the body requires for growth and activity. Vitamins and other organic supplements are generally required in small amounts that are adequately supplied in a normal diet.

Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling began writing about high dose Vitamin C in 1970 when he published “High Dose Vitamin C and the Common Cold.” He later advocated for large doses of Vitamin C as a treatment for cancer.  Despite being unproven, these initiatives by a respected scientist led to widespread “megavitamin” use.

Vitamins and other supplements are most useful in patients who have a documented deficiency.  Some patients are unable to absorb sufficient quantities of these essential elements due to alterations in the gastrointestinal tract.

Some medications will diminish vitamin levels and require specific supplementation.  The health benefits of Vitamin D and calcium have been well-documented in post-menopausal women and in several medical conditions.

A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine associates the use of multivitamins and vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, zinc and copper with greater mortality. The study involved over 38,000 women.

While this study is far from conclusive, it serves as an alert.  It reinforces that the “some is good but more is better” theory is not a good policy in medicine.  Vitamins are medications and should only be taken on the advice of a physician.

 


About the Author

Anthony G. Alessi, MD, MMM ,graduated from the University of Rome and completed his residency and neuromuscular fellowship at the University of Michigan. He is in private practice in Norwich, CT, specializing inneurology, electrodiagnosticmedicineand sports neurology. He is board-certified in neurology and electrodiagnostic medicine. Dr. Alessi received his Masters degree inMedicalManagement from the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University in 2001.

He serves as a neurologic consultant to many athletic organizations including the University of Connecticut Athletic Department, Norwich Free Academy and the Connecticut State Boxing Commission.Dr. Alessi also serves as neurologic consultant to the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, CT Sun (WNBA) and Hartford Colonials (UFL).

>He is medical director of the William W. Backus Hospital Stroke Center, writes a syndicated column, “HealthySports,” for the Norwich Bulletin and is host of “Neuro Frontiers” on Reach MD XM 160 and “HealthyRounds,” syndicated through WTIC 1080, the Hartford CBS affiliate.

Dr. Alessi’s book, “Healthy Sports: A Doctor’sLessonsfor a Winning Lifestyle,” is a compilation of instructive columns.His most recent book, “Lift Up Your Hearts: Healing Haiti, Land of Hardship,” recounts the work of Dr. Alessi and other medical volunteers after the earthquake in Haiti.Reach him at www.alessimd.com.

 

AdministratorHealthy RoundsAnthony G. Alessi,Families Online Magazine,Healthy Rounds,MD,vitaminsBy  Anthony G. Alessi, MD - Healthy Rounds Over half of all adults in the United States take some form of vitamin or supplement regularly.   Shockingly, this practice may be shortening their lives. Vitamins are organic components to food that...Parenting Advice and Family Fun Activities