Vitamins Introduction

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Vitamins: Introduction

Vitamin Bottle

The human body needs a multitude of vitamins for a variety of essential biological processes, including but not limited to growth, digestion, hormone function, and nerve function. Most vitamins cannot be made by the body and must be consumed either as part of a balanced diet or as part of a dietary supplement.

Eating a diet rich in vitamins may have a protective effect against the development of certain diseases.1 Additionally, eating a well balanced, nutrient-dense diet typically meets an individual’s daily vitamin requirements. Unfortunately, many men consume more calories than they need without taking in a sufficient amount of many nutrients, including vitamins. This deficiency occurs because typical diets contain a considerable amount of refined food products, which are stripped of essential vitamins and minerals but are not stripped of calories.

The absolute best way to achieve the recommended daily intake of vitamins is by consuming a wide variety of nutrient-dense whole foods. (See Nutrition Guiding Principles) A large body of evidence shows that a diet rich in vitamins and minerals protects against the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, premature aging, and various cancers, including colorectal, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.2,3,4,5 Based on randomized, controlled studies, vitamin supplementation does not have much of the same effect.Supplementation with vitamins is not a substitute for a healthy diet because vitamin supplements, while useful, are not as effective at preventing disease as a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet. Nevertheless, vitamin supplements can be useful in filling a nutrient gap that is not being met by an individual’s diet.

Read On

The following articles provide a dietary supplementation strategy with daily recommended vitamin intakes, vitamin “overdosing” side effects, and causes of vitamin deficiency. Additionally, the difference between two classes of vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble, is discussed.

EMG Nutrition Homepage: Nutrition Introduction

1. Lunenfield B, Gooren LJG, Morales A, Morley JE. Textbook of Men’s Health and Aging. 2nd ed. London, UK 2007.
2. Erhardt JG, Meisner C, Bode JC, Bode C. Lycopene, beta-carotene, and colorectal adenomas. Am J Clin Nutr. Dec 2003; 78 (6): 1219-1224.
3. Michaud DS, Spiegelman D, Clinton SK, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of bladder cancer in a male prospective cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst. Apr 1999; 91 (7): 605-613.
4. Ripple MO, Henry WF, Schwarze SR, Wilding G, Weindruch R. Effect of antioxidants on androgen-induced AP-1 and NF-kappaB DNA-binding activity in prostate carcinoma cells. J Natl Cancer Inst. Jul 1999; 91 (14): 1227-1232.
5. Weisburger JH. Approaches for chronic disease prevention based on current understanding of underlying mechanisms. Am J Clin Nutr. Jun 2000;71 (6 Suppl): 1710S-1714S; discussion 1715S-1719S.