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Why Take Supplements?

Source: Excerpt from A Taste For Life, January 2005

Why Take Supplements?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that a large percentage of Americans get less than 70 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of antioxidant vitamins and many essential minerals.  Countless studies link a host of diseases (including atherosclerosis and heart disease, high blood pressure, colitis, diabetes) to today’s highly processed diet, high in saturated and trans fats, caffeine, and refined carbohydrates.

A recent review by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance finds that supplements can significantly reduce healthcare costs, if taken preventively.  A growing body of evidence suggests that multivitamins and other supplements can:

  • reduce the incidence of heart disease and stroke
  • protect against certain types of cancer
  • halve the incidence of some birth defects
  • delay the onset of vision-robbing cataracts and macular degeneration
  • halve the number of sick days caused by infections among the elderly
  • slow or prevent hip fractures due to osteoporosis by 20 percent or more.

“The simple choice on the part of each individual to make a small investment in nutritional supplementation could save billions in medical expenses, in addition to protecting the health of all Americans – newborns and the very old, growing children and pregnant women, the wealthy as well as low income populations, healthy men and women as well as people burdened with disease,” says Annette Dickinson, PhD, president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

Selected Sources – “Aging: Is It a Power Failure?” by Alice Dembner, Boston Globe, 11/2/04 * The Anti-Aging Solution by Vincent Giampapa, MD; Ronald Pero, PhD; and Marcia Zimmerman, CN ($24.95, Wiley, 2004) * Alternative Medicine, the Definitive Guide, edited by Larry Trivieri, Jr. ($34.95, Celestial Arts, 2002) * “The Benefits of Nutritional Supplements” compiled by Annette Dickinson, PhD, Council for Responsible Nutrition, 2002 * “FACT SHEET-Improving Public Health, Reducing Health Care Costs: an Evidence-based Study of Five Dietary Supplements,”, 9/22/04 * “Use of Vitamin, Mineral, Nonvitamin, and Nonmineral Supplements in the United States…” by A.E. Millen et al., J Am Diet Assoc, 6/04