Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Part IV of IV - Safety of Multivitamins and Antioxidants

Nutritional supplements have been widely used and highly valued by American consumers ever since vitamins were discovered and commercialized, beginning in the early decades of the 1900's. According to recent national health survey, as many as 78 million Americans adults use multivitamins on a regular basis.

Multivitamin/mineral supplements are an effective means of delivering adequate amounts of most essential nutrients to help people achieve recommended intakes. The great majority of dietary supplements, including multivitamins, are safe for regular use. Despite widespread usage, there have been no specific published reports of toxicity or adverse effects associated with the use of multivitamins.

A series of well-publicized clinical trials conducted in diseased patients utilizing relatively high doses of single nutrients or combinations of nutrients (such as vitamin E and/or beta-carotene), have yielded disappointing results. However, those trials were conducted in patients with serious illnesses (ie. cancer or cardiovascular disease) who were on multiple medications or who were current heavy smokers. The results of these trials should be placed in context and are not applicable to the generally healthy population.

Advanced levels of antioxidants are a common thread among nearly every population that is less prone to premature chronic degenerative disease. The Japanese have high levels of fruit, vegetables, green tea and soy as part of their traditional diet. Vegetarians have lower levels of heart disease and cancer, compared to the typical mixed diet, likely in part due to higher intakes of antioxidants. While high levels of single nutrients and foods may pose a risk of danger and toxicity, there is no known unsafe intake level of total antioxidants in normally healthy individuals.

Source: USANA Health Sciences