Sunday, 16. October 2011 16:08
What should you do when something that you consider to be absolute truth is questioned? Faced with new information from a recent study claiming that multivitamins and other dietary supplements provide little benefit and may actually be harmful, I had to ask myself just that question. For years, countless, reliable resources stated that taking a daily multivitamin is good for your health. Suddenly, a new study (released in the Archives of Internal Medicine) contradicts that claim, finding a small increase in the risk of death among older women who took a dietary supplement compared with those who didn’t.
So, should I continue to take supplements? More and more frequently, there seems to be diverse opinion in the medical community about what actually works, and what does not. Witness the recent controversy over mammograms and prostate cancer testing. What are we to believe, and more importantly, what are we to do?
I can only suggest that you and I must decide for ourselves what is right for us. There appears to be a growing body of evidence that we as individuals have no choice but to take responsibility for ourselves, particularly when it comes to our health. Whether it is medical care or financial security, we need to get all the information we can, especially about ourselves, and then make a decision. The thing that it seems we must protect above all, is our personal right to decide and to choose what is best for us.
It’s a big job, but I don’t see an alternative if one wishes to stay well in a fast paced, ever-changing world. Start by knowing yourself. Know what works for you and what doesn’t. Notice what improves your energy and your wellness; notice what does not. Read labels, find reliable resources and consult them. Take charge of good decision making in your world. Start by developing a loving, nurturing relationship with your body, and I believe much of the rest will follow.
As far as supplementation, take the time to be your own best advocate by understanding what you are eating and what might be lacking in your diet. I’m not going to wax poetic on what you should eat, because there are thousands of articles and resources about the right combinations of fruits, veggies, lean protein, and organic, local foods. Besides, whatever I suggest may not be the best thing for you.
As for me, I generally eat well, but I also know that I don’t always get enough Omega 3 and Vitamin D. On days that I don’t eat fish or fortified eggs, I do take an Omega 3 supplement. I also take vitamin D (with calcium and magnesium) during the winter months when I don’t get much sunlight. I am still deciding whether I want to continue taking my multivitamin. Honestly, I have more research to do.
The world can be confusing. One study, one point of view does not fit all. There is a wealth of information available, and yet so much of it appears to conflict. What I do know is that no one knows you as well as you do. So do your job as caretaker of your body, pay attention and become your own best advocate.