Thursday, May 26, 2011

Supplements: To Take or Not To Take?

A myth commonly believed by many is that vitamins and supplements  make up for an unhealthly diet and lifestyle.   This is far from the truth as supplements are designed to supplement the diet .

Experts recommend eating a well balanced healthy diet and the use of supplements to fill in the gap.  Dr. Demetrius Albanes MD,  epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute states “vitamins are safe when you get them in food, but in pill form, they can act more like a drug with the potential for unexpected and sometimes dangerous effects.”   We must be educated and aware that supplements taken in too high doses , such as the fat soluble forms of vitamin A, D, E, and K, can build up in the body and cause toxicity. Thus having an idea what the FDA recommendations of the upper and lower limits of vitamin and mineral doses is important in determining a supplement regimen.

I see many patients that are taking supplements on their own initiative or at the guidance of a provider and yet unaware how some of their supplements could be impacting their medical condition in a negative manner.   Therefore, it is important that the provider review a current list of medications and supplements  to identify any interactions and follow up with bloodwork to confirm normal values if necessary. 

A good supplement baseline to  get started for the young to middle-aged adult includes a multivitamin daily; Vitamin C 500mg daily as immune support therapy, not a treatment for cold viruses; Calcium 500mg up to two times a day depending on dairy food intake; and Vitamin D 1000-2000IU daily.  This may need to be adjusted depending on the patient’s diet and current levels which can best be determined in consultation with your primary care medical provider.


Dr. Frank Marinkovich owns and operates Eastside Family Health Center in Kirkland, WA. Serving Kirkland and the Eastside, Seattle, Bellevue, Renton and the surrounding local communities. Specializing in Primary Care, Automobile Accidents and FAA physicals. Visit them online at Eastside Family Health Center or call them at (425) 899-2525.
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