Q When I was a child, my mother made sure that I took a multivitamin every day, and I was pretty healthy while I was growing up. Since I've become an adult, I no longer take vitamins, but I do wonder if there is any real benefit to doing so. Is it really beneficial to take vitamins on a regular basis? T.D., Atlanta
A An estimated 52 percent of Americans who spent $6 billion on vitamins last year strongly believe that their health is enhanced by supplementing their diets with vitamins.
Further, in a recent medical report, it's recommended that every adult should take a multivitamin pill, the elderly should take two and women who could become pregnant should take a multivitamin and a folate vitamin supplement.
Doctors say the majority of people get enough of the essential vitamins in their diets to prevent such diseases as beriberi and scurvy. However, they say, not everyone gets enough of the essential vitamins in the foods they eat to lessen the chance of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and other medical conditions.
Only about 30 percent of Americans consume the recommended five servings a day of fruits and vegetables, medical researchers say, and they recommend that the remaining 70 percent should supplement their diet by taking a multivitamin, which contains 100 percent of the daily value of about 10 or more vitamins.
Although multivitamins are generally considered to be safe, some may affect other medical conditions or treatments. Don't begin taking vitamins without first talking to your doctor.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Johnson Publishing Co.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group