The Benefits and Risks of Vitamins and Minerals


Vitamins, called micronutrients because they are needed in such small amounts, are essential to life. We require sufficient vitamins and minerals for normal body functions. If we do not get them, deficiency diseases may develop.

Vitamins work best synergistically. Some can be more or less effective when taken with others. Man is not God, and does not know the proper balance. It is always best to get your vitamins from food. But, if you get any of your food from a grocery store, you are most likely not getting the RDA (recommended daily allowance). Much of our food is over-processed. The more preservatives and additives in our food, the more vitamins and minerals are needed to fight the harmful effects. Even fresh fruits and vegetables are usually picked green and don’t contain the vitamins and minerals they should. It is speculated that about 1/2 the people in the U.S. are not getting the RDA. The U.S. may be the most overfed, yet malnourished, country in the world.

Hippocrates, called the “father of modern medicine”, said that all disease begins on our plate. The RDA is the minimum amount needed to avoid deficiency diseases. Just getting the RDA may only give you borderline health.

Just because vitamins and minerals are sold over the counter, it doesn’t make them safe. It’s hard to get too much of most vitamins and minerals through foods, but a person can easily get harmful amounts through supplements. The body doesn’t have much trouble disposing of excessive amounts of the water-soluble vitamins, but the fat-soluble ones are stored in the liver and can quickly build up toxicity. Never exceed the recommended dosage. The most common recommendation (though no one seems certain) is to simply eat as healthy as possible, take a multi-vitamin 5-6 days a week, and use other vitamins and minerals medicinally for a limited time under a doctor’s supervision.

Warning: Even a continuous yearly use of a multi-vitamin has been known to cause health problems. At the very least, vitamins seem to lose their effectiveness after a few years of continued use.

Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only, and is not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional.

Charles Browne is author of the book “Encyclopedia Of Healing Foods And Supplements”
A Reference Book of Vitamins, Herbs, And Other Foods Used For Nutritional Healing And Disease Prevention

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