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Nutrition Column

The $7 billion supplement market

Recent estimates of the supplement market place a number at $7 billion spend on vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements.

Other than possibly taking a low-dosage multi formula, to compliment an already healthy diet, there is no need to randomly supplement nor contribute to the budgets of supplements and pharmaceutical companies.

Research on individual supplements has been less than promising. In fact, in some large population studies high dosages of individual vitamins have actually increased the risk of heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

While following the nutrient guidelines of a whole foods plant based diet you are assured of eating an excess of the generally recommended ten servings of fruits & vegetables a day. The diet must be one which is low in fat, saturated fat, simple sugars & processed foods while high in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and complex carbohydrates.

A plant based diet provides the vitamins and minerals in their natural sources where, based on scientific studies, they prove to be most valuable. In addition, they provide a multitude of phytonutrients some of which are known and have been isolated and others yet to be isolated and determined.

In fact, one possibility for the exceptional health of the populations who eat high levels of micronutrients in their diet (and not from supplements) may not be the micronutrients themselves but rather the large volume of healthy fruits, grains and vegetables n their diets and the lack of unhealthy foods they take the place of.

Stick with healthy foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables and you can save money from being spent unnecessarily and for supplements with potentially detrimental health effects.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 3.25.06