For many generations the meaning of vitamins remained a mystery. Many symptoms of vitamin deficiency were very difficult for people to understand and, therefore, they were not treated appropriately. Today, the situation is absolutely different, especially in the western world where people have access to synthesised vitamins and can buy them in any drugstore or even supermarket. Yet, should we really take all of these artificial vitamins?
Do western people have enough of vitamins?
Even though some people believe vitamins should be taken as a preventative measure, before including them into your diet, you should make sure you have some vitamin deficiency. While some vitamins, such as for instance vitamin C are not accumulated in the body there are also others like vitamin A which can be stored by a body and in larger amounts become toxic. In addition to it, many vitamin complexes also include micronutrients.
The intake of micronutrients should be well-controlled since even the mere name “a micronutrient” means that the substance should be taken into a micro amount. Excessive consumption of some of micronutrients can cause rather serious health issues. For example, taking an excessive amount of iron can make your blood thicker which can cause vein and artery clogs. This is a very serious health condition which can even cause death. Another example of the harm caused by excessive consumption of micronutrients regards iodine intake in people with hyperthyroidism. The same goes for people with hypothyroidism who are taking artificial hormones.
As you can see, these are only some examples of the seriousness of taking any chemical substances as they can interfere with your organism in different ways. This issue becomes even more serious once you look at the processed food available in the shops. While all unprocessed products have some amounts of healthy nutrients, it is rather difficult to take an excessive amount of these nutrients with such food. This can be possible only if you are practising a monotrophic diet or consume the same product in large amounts on a daily basis. Yet, when it comes to processed food, the modern manufacturers tend to enrich their products by adding artificial vitamins. The most frequent choice is vitamin C and the vitamins of the B group. When it comes to micronutrients, food manufacturers usually add iron and magnesium to their products. This practice is related to absolutely different types of food, however, dairy products, pastry and breakfast cereals are chosen most frequently.
Taking into consideration these facts, it is rather difficult to understand whether western people have enough vitamins or not. On the one hand, many western people tend to have a rather poor diet consisting of a large amount of processed food. On the other hand, some of this food has already been enriched by nutrients. That is why, you might not be able to estimate your real intake of vitamins and micronutrients without having a proper medical examination of your blood.
Who should take additional vitamins?
Whatever is your case, you should first make a blood examination before deciding to include artificial vitamins into your diet. This is necessary for understanding whether any symptoms you are experiencing are really related to a vitamin deficiency.
Even if your blood sample will show you some deficiency, it might not necessarily mean that you do not take this substance in a sufficient amount. Quite frequently, some other health conditions as well as products in your diet can interfere severely with the absorption of particular nutrients. As a result, you might not being able to absorb them even though you are taking them regularly.
In some situations the probability that you actually need some artificial vitamins is rather high. Undeniably, having a poor diet is one of such situations. Make sure you understand what the term “poor diet” means in this case. Poor diet does not mean that you are eating the cheapest products available on the market. The term refers to the exact types of products you are choosing. Your poor diet might be full of simple, inexpensive yet healthy products such as vegetables and fruits. A really poor diet might be filled with expensive delicacies of a great taste and totally deprived of any nutritional value of the same time.
Note that even a diet healthy for a particular health condition can be actually poor in some nutrients. This is especially true when it comes to easily digestible diets prescribed to people with medical conditions of a digestive tract organs.
Some pregnant women also need extra vitamins in particular cases. For example, women leading a vegan lifestyle might not have enough micronutrients for their baby. The same goes for pregnant women suffering from an intensive toxidrome as well as women with a multiple pregnancy.
Still, in any of these cases you have to consult your doctor first before including vitamins into your diet.