Good health requires the intake of a wide range of specific
nutrients. But is it best to rely on your diet for these, or
is it better to guarantee your nutrient intake by taking
It had been thought that maybe some diseases could be
prevented if adequate intake of certain nutrients was
assured. This has shown, on the whole, not to be the case.
Vitamin E and carotene do not, for instance, protect from
heart disease or lung cancer when taken in supplement form.
Indeed, the supplements may even cause harm.
However, some studies have shown that a diet rich in fruits
and vegetables, which supplies plenty of vitamins and
minerals, may protect from certain diseases.
Tufts University researchers in Boston say that it is
premature, on the evidence they have, to recommend either
solely diet or solely supplements for ensuring nutrient
intake. It is not even advised to add supplements to your
diet as 'insurance.' This is because the supplements may lead
people to over-reliance — neglecting the quality of
their diet. And many foods are already supplemented and
adding more might mean an excessive intake of certain
In conclusion, the experts say the general population should
not rely on supplements. But there is certainly a role for
them in targeted groups, such as folate in pregnant women and
vitamin D in elderly people. The number of such groups might
even increase, as our understanding of the role of nutrients
SmartHealth Facts: Lack of water is the #1 trigger
of daytime fatigue.
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