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Many Not Meeting Numerous Vitamin Requirements

Vitamins, by definition, are essential and it's undisputed that they play a crucial role in health. However, modern lifestyles may lead to suboptimal intakes even in affluent countries. So the researchers of this recently study aimed to review vitamin intakes in Germany, the UK, The Netherlands and the USA and to compare them with respective national recommendations.

For Germany, the UK, and The Netherlands, data on adults from the most recently published national dietary intake surveys were used. For the US, data for adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 to 2008 were used.

Results showed that, although inter-country differences exist, intakes of several vitamins are below the recommendations for a significant portion of the population (in all the countries studied). The most critical vitamin deficiency appeared to be vitamin D and the least critical was niacin (B3).

This gives added weight for ensuring that you're taking a good multivitamin on a daily basis. This doesn't mean, however, that you can slack on your diet and lifestyle. I see a multivitamin as only augmenting a healthy diet and lifestyle. It doesn't give anyone a free pass to neglect the most important aspects of health--and in fact, some previous studies have shown that multivitamins may not offer a great deal of protection from illnesses and premature death.

Why? Because of what's been called the "Superman effect" (and other names). This is a possible theory why some studies find those who take multivitamins have a higher rate of illness than those who don't. Many take a multivitamin to make up for the fact that they live unhealthy lifestyles and eat an unhealthy diet. They think taking a multivitamin protects them from the effects of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, which it won't. On the flipside, those who actually have a healthy lifestyle/diet may not feel they need to take a multivitamin, hence the paradoxical results in some studies.

A multivitamin can't undo a lifestyle conducive to sickness, and the studies are showing this (which you've probably noticed the media picks up to mean multivitamins are a waste of money...but not so, IMO).

Source: Dietary surveys indicate vitamin intakes below recommendations are common in representative Western countries

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  1. I just read today that calcium and vitamin D are linked to kidney stones! I was hoping you'd cover this today too.

    1. Wow, must be bigger news than I thought. You're the second person to contact me through this blog today regarding this calcium-kidney stones study.

      My take on the study is that it's the same old story (with a different cover) I've been discussing since I started this blog early last year.

      It's more an issue of vitamin K deficiency (which results in inactive nephrocalcin, a vitamin K-dependent protein that is involved in kidney stone formation).

      Cut and paste the following URL (sorry, links are disabled in the comments section), and you'll be able to read my coverage of a very similar study that was published almost exactly one year ago.


      I'd also highly recommend you take time to read other relevant posts (links at the end of the article) to fully understand why vitamin K is so important whenever taking calcium supplements. This will vaccinate you against future hoopla over calcium's potential negative effects.


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