When More Isn't Better

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It’s impossible to pick up a magazine, walk through a retail store or go online and not find an advertisement for the latest miracle vitamin supplement that promises to help you lose weight, grow thick, lustrous hair, give you more energy and stamina for your workout, or help ward off cancer, heart disease or ED.  Certain combinations of vitamins and minerals are supposed to be the next secret to longevity, beauty or eternal youth.  No longer relegated to health food stores, a vast array of vitamin supplements are available at grocery stores, discount big-box stores, and the local convenience store.  Food now comes in categories, with “super foods” supposed to be the healthiest with their own magical powers.

An article in Yahoo suggests certain vitamin supplements are actually recommended for people in certain careers.  The article suggests that doctors, nurses and orderlies should take a Vitamin B supplement to give them the energy and stamina for long hours and the stresses of dealing with patients.  An extra dose of vitamin C each day is recommended to protect healthcare workers from the infections and exposure to germs in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices. 

Vitamins are in the foods we eat.  Why down a lot of vitamin supplements, too?  More people are taking healthcare into their own hands, and taking the latest supplement to stay healthy is too much to pass up.  But too much of a good thing can be bad for you, even dangerous.  At least that’s what a Forbes article reported.  Five particular vitamins, when taken in excess, can be bad for you.

Too much vitamin C can cause kidney stones.  Taking excessive vitamin E can increase the chance of some types of cancer.  B6, vitamin A and that standby, multi-vitamins are all on the do-not-take list.  The warnings come from taking mega doses of the vitamins.  With such enticing health benefits of some supplements, the faulty reasoning is if one is good, two or three have to be better.  Not so.  While you can get too much vitamin A or C from eating too much spinach, you’re less likely to eat two or three bags of spinach than pop one too many supplements.

Healthcare professionals should do what they can to stay healthy.  After all, who would trust a doctor who smokes or is overweight?  Or an out-of-shape fitness trainer?  Whether taking vitamin supplements in any dosage will make a difference is debatable.  Healthcare providers are regarded as experts.  How should you counsel patients who ask about supplements to replace or supplement traditional medications? 

Healthcare careers offer a lot of variety, but also require a wide range of expertise and knowledge.  You may not be a nutritionist or expert on vitamin supplements, but patients and their families will expect you to give them an intelligent and expert opinion on just about any topic.  Become knowledgeable about a wide variety of healthcare issues, and know when to refer to another expert resource. 


Photo Source:  stock.xchng: delazon


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