Not All Multivitamins are Created Equal says Medical Expert Genie James, MMSc

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Some doctors feel vitamins offer no health benefits while others stand by their effectiveness, how can consumers sort through what to do?

The vitamin industry came under scrutiny again recently when Dr. Paul Offit was interviewed by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta on June 19. Dr. Offit raised strong doubts regarding any significant health benefits of vitamin and supplement use and said there is mounting evidence that vitamins can be bad for your health, especially in large doses. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnjZZTgAhJo)

How can the average person sort through this kind of confusion to know what is best for their health?

Genie James, MMSc, a respected health journalist for over 15 years and CEO of Dr. Randolph’s Ageless and Wellness Medical Center and the Natural Medicine Pharmacy said, “I first began to investigate the clinical integrity and value of nutritional supplementation in the early 90’s and was introduced to a plethora of research substantiating the health benefits of appropriate nutritional supplementation by Dr. Brian M. Berman, founder and director of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine. Today Dr. Berman serves on the Advisory Council for the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).”

“What I learned then is even more pertinent today. A good diet and regular exercise should be every person’s non-negotiable foundation for health and wellness. Vitamins and other nutritional supplements should be considered exactly that: ‘supplements,’ not replacements for a healthy lifestyle. Most of us don’t get enough nutrients from our food even when we do our best; also, often our aging guts cannot absorb all needed nutrients. Most confusing of all, not all vitamins are created equal. When considering whether or not you should be taking an everyday vitamin, start with medical science studies you can trust. According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, a daily multivitamin, and maybe an extra vitamin D supplement, is a good way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to be healthy.”

“Not all vitamins are created equal,” says James, “many over-the-counter vitamins and supplements contain questionable fillers – including cork, dyes, corn starch and sodium benzoate – with little or no quality control in the selection of their raw materials. In contrast, pharmaceutical grade vitamins and supplements are guaranteed to be 99 percent pure and are produced under much more stringent manufacturing standards and procedures. Pharmaceutical grade vitamins and supplements are typically only available through a physician’s office.”

Too much of a good thing can be bad for you, said James. While she and the physicians at her Medical Center disagree with most of Dr. Offit’s posits, they do agree that individuals attempting to mega-dose themselves can inadvertently put health in harm’s way.

Physicians and medical professionals on the cutting edge of scientifically-vetted optimal aging medicine use micronutrient testing to ensure that their patients are only supplementing vitamins and nutrients their bodies are deficient in. These next generation blood tests measure specific vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential micronutrients within an individual's white blood cells (lymphocytes). For instance, a magnesium deficiency could be triggering your migraines or a vitamin K deficiency could increase your risk of osteoporosis. The bottom line is that you learn exactly what your body is missing and, then, receive medical direction regarding appropriate dosing.

“As owner of The Natural Medicine Pharmacy,” said James, “I am in the business of selling vitamins and supplements with no apologies. I believe that individuals working with their doctor should get what they need and have a quality product if they pay for it. Your health should never be a hit or miss endeavor!”

Genie James, MMSc is the author of Making Managed Care Work (McGraw Hill, 1997), Winning in the Women’s Healthcare Marketplace (Jossey-Bass, 2000) and coauthor with C. W. Randolph, Jr., MD of From Hormone Hell to Hormone Well (2004 and 2009, Health Communications, Inc.), From Belly Fat to Belly Flat (Health Communications Inc., 2008), In the Mood Again (Simon & Schuster, 2010) and The Fountain of Truth: How to Outsmart Hype False Hope and Heredity to Recalibrate Your Age! (Health Communications, Inc., 2013).

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Nanette Noffsinger
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