font size

Prevention (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Vitamins and minerals to maintain health

Vitamins and mineral supplements are important both in preventing deficiency states as well as in preventing diseases. Most diseases resulting from vitamin deficiencies such as scurvy (vitamin C deficiency), blindness (vitamin A deficiency), and beriberi (thiamine deficiency) occur mainly in third-world countries and are almost nonexistent in the United States. But certain special populations in the United States can develop vitamin or mineral deficiencies, and thus require dietary supplements. For example,

  • severely malnourished alcoholics can develop nerve damage from thiamine deficiency;
  •  individuals lacking sun exposure can develop bone disease from vitamin D deficiency;
  • pernicious anemia is a condition associated with nerve damage, which can result from vitamin B12 deficiency; and
  • people with celiac sprue can also develop vitamin deficiencies, as well as iron deficiency.

For these special populations, vitamin supplements are important to prevent these deficiencies.

Vitamin supplements to prevent diseases

Vitamin supplements are used to prevent deficiencies and also to prevent diseases. Certain vitamin supplements (such as folic acid, vitamin B6, and B12) have been used to lower blood levels of homocysteine, which may help prevent heart attacks. Folic acid fortification in cereals and vitamin supplements has been found to decrease the risk of birth defects in women of childbearing age.

Diets to control and/or treat diseases

Diets low in simple sugars are important in controlling blood glucose levels in people with diabetes mellitus. When the condition cannot be adequately controlled by diet alone, medications (sometimes including insulin) are required.

  • The DASH dietis recommended to lower blood pressure. If dietary measures alone are not sufficient, medications are frequently prescribed by doctors (sometimes in combination) to lower blood pressure.
  • A gluten-free diet is the primary treatment for celiac disease (celiac sprue). Since people with celiac sprue may have difficulty absorbing nutrients and vitamins, some people with this condition may also need calcium, iron, and vitamin supplements.
  • Therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) are important treatments for high blood levels of cholesterol, especially the "bad" ( LDL) cholesterol. When TLC are not sufficient, then medications are usually indicated to lower blood lipid levels.

Medically reviewed by James Rotchford, MD; Board Certified Preventive Medicine with subspecialty in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine

REFERENCE:

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/MyPyramidTracker.htm


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/15/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Prevention - Taking Vitamins and Minerals Question: Which vitamins and minerals do you take to stay healthy?
Prevention - Supplements Question: Why do you take a vitamin or supplement? Were you tested for a vitamin deficiency? If so, what?
Prevention - Special Diets Question: Have you tried a gluten-free or DASH diet? Please discuss the diets you've tried and if you would recommend any of them.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/prevention/article.htm

Weight Loss Wisdom

Get tips, recipes and inspiration.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD

From WebMD