Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Do we need supplements in a modern diet ?

At last, I have engaged brain, put pen to paper  fingers to keyboard and decided to do a post on a subject I am passionate evangelical about.  Good nutrition.  I must warn you that this will be the first of many.  I could drone on about this for YEARS.  So in an attempt to not overload you and bore you stupid I will adopt the drip feed  approach.  Bite sized chunks and all that.

Today I am going to post about giving children multivitamins.  Horror of horrors, yes it's true.  In fact, Star has had them since he was, hmmm, let me think, five days old.  There are a few common arguments people put forward for not taking/giving their kids multivits...

  1. We get all the nutrients we need in our food/milk
 Not true.  The nutrient levels in food today is a fraction of what it was 30+ years ago.  Intensive farming has left the soil depleted.  Fertilizers supplement the major deficiencies but not all the macro nutrients.  If you need proof, send off a hair sample for analysis and I guarantee, however well you eat, you will have deficiencies. When you add in the fact that most people a) don't eat the perfect diet and b) have a lifelstyle/diet that exposes them to anti-nutrients ie pollution, stress, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, there is simply no hope of getting everything you need from food.  

     2.  Recommended Daily Amounts (RDAs) of nutrients are printed on packets of food/baby formula.... we know we're getting enough, right ?  Again, not true.  You need to ask yourself how the levels of RDA have been arrived at ?  The RDA is set at a level to prevent diseases of malnutrition.  We're talking scurvy and rickets here.  It is not set at a level to ensure we are the fittest, strongest, healthiest we can be.  Not by a very long way.

Of course the other thing as far as babies goes, is that if they are exclusively breast fed (which of course I wholeheartedly agree with), breast milk is only as nutritious as the mothers nutritional status.  And what's more , that leaves even fewer nutrients for the mother.

So, having established why I believe in supplementation I will give you one example of a study that has been done to demonstrate further.

A new study from the Karolinska Institute (the highest ranked university in clinical medicine and pharmacy in Europe) has shown that supplementing with multivitamins has no effect on the incidence of asthma, eczema, hayfever or atopic sensitisation.  However,  when they looked at data from children who started supplementing before the age of four, they found a 39% decrease in the risk of sensitisation to food. 
In the researchers own words “our results show no association between current use of multivitamins and risk of allergic disease but suggest that supplementation with multivitamins during the first years of life may reduce the risk of allergic disease at school age”.

This is just one little fact to consider.  There are so many others, and I will post further at another time, but doesn't it make you think ?

One last point.  If you work for a pharmaceutical company, or are a believer in their doctrine that all you need is drugs, please pass by and don't feel the need to comment.  I am not blogging about this to have heated debates on the subject but to put some info out there for open minded people to consider.  I've studied the subject, and seen the effects on my own family and am not about to have my mind changed. So There !



  1. Woohoo and out comes all that wonderful knowldge. Both the boys have vits. Multivits and eyeQ tablets. I am a believer, even though they eat well and love veg, every little helps, as long as it is not hurting. Thanks for confirming it!!

  2. Good for you. I believe in it so strongly that I forego new clothes and high maintenance hairdo's to ensure that we are all adequately nourished. There are oodles more good reasons to supplement, both routinely and for special circumstances, all of which I will come on to. Just need to get a few more readers now ! Thanks for giving me the prod ;-) x