This is a fascinating question, and, in part, the reason why I dubbed my practice Vitamin e Nutrition.
Something like 63 percent of Canadians currently take some sort of supplement, according to the Canadian Health Food Association, and – that number is only expected to rise. Good for those supplement companies. But is it doing us any good?
In researching orthomolecular medicine and the works of Linus Pauling and other vitamin advocates, its clear that many physical and mental health afflictions can be corrected through proper supplementation. If the disease has a biochemical root cause (i.e. abnormal blood lipid levels, or neurotransmitter imbalances), it makes sense that providing the right chemicals that natural occur in the body when it is healthy would help us to regain balance. The trick here is using the right dose. If nutrients are to be thought of as the natural alternative to drugs, then administering them should entail similar regimentation, i.e. 1000 mg vitamin C, three times a day with food, for one week.
The problem I see is that most of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who report use of supplements do so willy nilly with no thought to what dosage is appropriate for them, what effect they hope to achieve, and how to measure its affects. It great that the package says “supports the develop of strong bones and teeth” or “promotes healthy heart function” and provides directions as to how many capsules are considered a safe dose, but is it an effective dose? You won’t know without consulting a natural health professional.
At the end of day, the simply answer to this question is, yes, vitamins play a role in health. What role they play in your health is between you and your nutritionist.
Would you take a prescription drug without asking a doctor or pharmacist about it first? Vitamins can be seen as “nutraceuticals” and should be taken under the professional guidance of a naturopath or holistic nutritionist.