Consider the following and answer the questions.
There are an estimated 75,000 supplements on the market and 73% of adults in Canada take a natural health product1 regularly. Millions of whom, take vitamin and mineral supplements. Multivitamin supplements are the most frequently used. Among Canadian adults of all ages, women are more likely than men to take a multivitamin (Guo, X., et al., 2009).
1 Natural health product – any pill, capsule, tablet, liquid, or powder that contains vitamins, minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic or traditional medicines such as Chinese medicines, probiotics, amino acids, or essential fatty acids; intended to increase dietary intake of these substances.
Many people think that vitamin and mineral supplements are helpful and safe in any amount. The Natural Health Products Directorate of Health Canada (https://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/applications/licen-prod/lnhpd-bdpsnh-eng.php) regulates the minimum and maximum dose of vitamins and minerals that are permitted in supplements. However, unlike the pharmaceutical industry, the supplement industry has less rigorous regulations around these products. It is important to consider, that like most industries, the supplement industry is about making money – in fact, billions of dollars are spent every year by consumers.
The good news is, you are learning about vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids, etc. and their function, as well as their DRIs, ULs, and related deficiencies. While there is strong evidence to either back or refute some common notions about supplements, majority of the general public do not read these scientific journal articles and often make uninformed or misinformed decisions about supplement use.
Do you take any natural health products? Consider all those listed above, including vitamin or mineral supplements. If your answer is “Yes”, why do you take them? Perhaps it is a “diet insurance policy” in case your diet is not nutritionally adequate? Perhaps it is for “health insurance” to protect against certain diseases? If your answer is “No”, why have you chosen not to take any natural health products?
In your opinion and based on what you have learned so far in this course: Can vitamin and mineral supplements take the place of a balanced diet? Why or why not? You should provide a clear, detailed, and well-justified opinion/argument whether you are for or against supplements with evidence of insight and application to course content and what you have learned in your readings. You are required to reference at least 2 research papers/scientific journal articles to help back up your argument. In addition, you may cite your text and/or other sources and/or discuss personal experience.
Some points you may also want to consider in your short opinion piece (500-700 words):
– What are some of the risks and benefits, if any?
– What are some valid reasons for taking a supplement?
– What are invalid reasons for taking a supplement?
– How did vitamins and minerals earn the reputation of being cure-alls?
– Supplements must be safe or the government wouldn’t allow their sales, right?