Do Vitamins Cure Ailments?
Do we need Supplements?
Vitamin Claims and Cures
I’ll never forget when I was little, my dad worked for the military, and when he got stationed in California we moved there from a small town. The old saying goes that “Everything is bigger in Texas” but I think “Everything is bigger in Los Angeles (LA)”. I will never forget going into a LA grocery store for the first time, but the thing that really shocked me was the size of their drug store. It was Hugh! In my hometown, our medicine was kept in one isle in our small grocery store. The medicine and pills filled up a couple of bends. We all stood in amazement walking down isles and isles of pills for different remedies: vitamins, food supplements, and medical equipment. It was a life changing experience I will always remember with awe. People thought we were odd, as we stood with our mouths open in amazement. Of course, the “movie stars” live in LA, so we supposed that is why the stores were so much more "advanced” with so many more products than our hometown.
Times were different then, and we were among the first generation to have the vitamin and food supplement super advertisement campaigns tossed at us. Originally, vitamins were given to people by their doctors because they lacked a specific element that was causing a medical imbalance, or "making them sick". The first big "rage" I remember was for Vitamin B12. Grandma got involved in providing OTC (over-the-counter) injections. Claims of Vitamin B12 stating that it improved mental alertness was the big pull. It didn't hurt that it also prevented or healed pernicious anemia. We were all worried about anemia. It was the sign of the times. But, hoaxes and gimmicks about medicine didn't start with my generation. They have been used on the general public ever since the days of the “Medicine Wagon.” Now days there is more communication opportunities and we are bombarded in the news, in magazines, on billboards, and on Infomercials with fantastic claims about vitamin as food supplements and miracle cures. Some of these “cure all” programs and “cure all” vitamin tonics are costly. And many of the alleged vitamin remedies can be harmful to your health.
Vitamin C remains the most heavily promoted vitamin. I remember when I was just a kid in school, the evening news reported a horrible story. A grandma who had been reading all the hype and agentive promotions about the health benefits of Vitamin C began to provide Vitamin C to her granddaughter to help her grow strong. Grandma gave her granddaughter a dose of Vitamin C everyday. Unbelievable, but Vitamin C overdose killed her granddaughter. That child’s death was a wake up call for everyone. The term "overdose" applies to OTC medicine as well as illegal drugs. Vitamin C, the wonder drug, promoted as a treatment to cure the common cold and cancer, was investigated. Scientists saw no scientific evidence that it does either. Wake up calls tell us that it is not always possible for the everyday citizen to determine facts from exploitation about the use of vitamins. But even today, people like me keep Vitamin C in our medicine cabinet to take if I start to get sick, because I think it helps to stop or shorten the common cold. But I know what dose to use.
There was a real problem with doses and vitamins. How much is too much and how much is too little to take. To remedy our lack of knowledge, authors began to promote megavitamin books filled with vitamin and supplement remedies for all the human conditions. Authors and inventors make lots of money selling people on their vitamin supplements, most as a “cure all” But do vitamins really cure all ailments? By using common sense, you have your best guide when reading or listening to advertisement abouts the wonders of vitamins and supplements that are advertised. That being said, here are the main vitamins and the “hype” on what benefits they can provide. I personally continue to take a multiple vitamin everyday because it is supposed to “regulate my metabolism.” That tablet may or may not contribute to my overall good health, but it is a habit.
Vitamin Claims and Food sources:
Vitamin A – Fights birth defects; improves dental health; treats infection, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), wounds, and ulcers; improves vision, plus helps in cancer treatment.
Food source: apricots, tangerines and tomatoes to name a few.
Vitamin B1 – Fights shock; used by gardeners.
Vitamin B6 – Fights heart disease, memory problems, PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome); plus relieves asthma symptoms, depression, insomnia, and heals cold sores.
Food source: Figs, greens, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B12 – Fights anemia, bursitis, and MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Relieves depression, carpal tunnel, migraines, nerve pain, numbness, and stress; Increases mental alertness and is used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Food source: Meat, vegetables and Shellfish.
Vitamin C – Fights arthritis, bruise reduction, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, herpes, scurvy; under eye circles; yeast infection; prevents cataracts, fatigue, and Parkinson’s Disease; cures the common cold; speeds gum-healing; slows aging; and causes wrinkle reduction.
Food source: Artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chili peppers, lemons, limes, oranges, peas, rhubarb, pineapple, shellfish, squash, sweet potatoes, watercress and many more.
Vitamin D –Absorbs Vitamin C to fight cancer, fights colds, rickets, and strengthens bones; alleviates back pain; reduces fall risks; and aids in healing.
Food source: Sunshine, milk.
Vitamin E – Fights cancer, cataract formation, diabetes, fibrocystic breasts, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease. And muscle soreness; strengthens the immune system, and is said to “nourish” your face and body when you rub it on, and reduce the reaction caused by inhalation of 2nd hand smoke.
Food source: Cherries, nuts, wheat, and wheat germ
Vitamin K – Fights against excess bleeding, treats osteoporosis by strengthening bone density.
Food source: Broccoli, leafy green vegetables, Kale, and turnip greens.
Whatever you believe or read about vitamins, the natural alternative to tablets is your food sources. The problem today is that many people believe that the processing of fruits and vegetables has depleted the natural minerals and vitamins from the foods we eat. The best suggestion is to get a referral to a nutritionist and chat about supplements with them.