40% of Americans take vitamin supplements

April 11, 2000 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

40% of Americans take vitamin supplements

The most common vitamins taken include vitamin C, B12, B6, niacin, thiamin, B2, E, A, D and folic acid.

While most vitamin and mineral products are harmless, even safe products can have side effects or be considered unsafe if taken with other products or in excessive amounts, according to a report published in the Archives of Family Medicine.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia looked at the national use of supplements as reported in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. More than 11,000 respondents reported taking at least one vitamin or mineral supplement within the previous 30 days, a number judged to be equivalent to 40% of the US population. Many respondents also reported taking non vitamin/mineral supplements.

Because some of these supplements do have adverse effects the authors recommend that dietary supplements have labels that clearly indicate ingredients. They also advise that people planning to take supplements check with their dietitian or doctor, and that health professionals ask every patient about supplement use.

"It is important to be counseled about the use of vitamins and minerals, and to remember that these supplements are "not a solution to a poor diet." Remember that are many nutrients found in fresh foods that are still not available in supplement form.

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