Study: More Americans taking daily vitamins

Study: More Americans taking daily vitamins

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by Erika Edwards / NBC News Channel

WCNC.com

Posted on April 13, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Many Americans are popping pills to make sure they get their daily dose of vitamins, but is this really the best way to get proper nutrients?

The answer may depend on the kind of nutrient you need.

Americans spend $27-billion a year on dietary supplements, often to make up for what they think they're missing at meal time.

"We know that people do not get all of their nutrients from food alone, even people who try to eat right are still going to have nutrition gaps," says Steve Mister, CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

The use of dietary supplements has increased in recent decades.

New data from the National Center for Health Statistics show more than half of U.S. adults now supplement their diets with vitamins.

While many doctors recommend a daily multivitamin to their patients, some dietitians say there's not enough evidence they'll do much good.

"Multivitamins are not going to help you extend your life or fight heart disease or fight cancer," says registered dietitian Elisabetta Politi.

It's estimated that about half of us are deficient in Vitamin D.

It's a nutrient that can be difficult to get enough of in food or through sunlight.

"It's a good idea to supplement your diet with Vitamin D because chances are you're not going to get enough," Politi says.

The new data show Vitamin D use is up among men and women, and 61-percent of women over age 60 take calcium supplements.

Folic Acid has been proven to prevent birth defects, and doctors say all women of childbearing years should be taking it.

Just over a third of women between the ages of 20 and 39 are.

"They should be taking folic acid even before they get pregnant. It's not enough to start taking it after you know you're pregnant," Mister advises. 

 

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