The Benefits of High Dose Multi-Vitamins
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on July 25, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
In fact, researchers at the National Institute of Health conducted a study where they examined the end segments on DNA strands. Referred to as telomeres, these segments actually shorten a bit every time a cell divides itself. The researchers believe that the length of a telomere may be an indicator for aging, especially considering the fact that short telomeres have been associated with a greater risk of death and chronic disease, such as heart disease and cancer. Reason being, is that as a telomere becomes shorter, the cells either stops dividing altogether or it divides with many DNA errors.
Female participants in the NIH study, who were instructed to take a daily multivitamin, had nearly 5.1% longer telomeres, which is roughly the equivalent of 9.8 additional years of life.
Researchers believe that the multivitamin helps because it reduces oxidative damage and inflammation. However, for the most part, telomeres are rather susceptible to oxidative stress; inflammation is the chief inducer of oxidative stress and also decreases the activity level of the telomerase, the enzyme which is responsible for sustaining the telomeres. However, certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, E, B (especially vitamin B12 and folic acid), actually work to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Therefore, consuming these vitamins can help maintain the length of the telomere. There has even been evidence proving that C and E vitamins slow down the shortening of the telomere, thereby increasing its cellular life span, in cell cultures.
Vitamin D, resveratrol (a compound found in wine and grapes), astragalus (an Indian tonic), and exercise have also all been shown to help preserve the length of the telomere.
Taking all this into consideration, it is easy to understand why a good quality multivitamin can and will act as your main defense again disease and aging.
According to the American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) and its European equivalent, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), most people are not consuming enough vitamins and minerals, even with the addition of a multivitamin. Their studies have revealed this to be as a result of incorrect dosing of multivitamins. These studies proclaimed many benefits of consuming multivitamins and other nutritional supplements in high doses.
However, the problem comes in when other contributors to the medical community over exaggerate the risks of taking multivitamins in high doses. Both the AAHF and the ANH strongly believe that the method that is commonly used to determine the ‘correct’ dosage is faulty and does not specify the many benefits of high doses of multivitamins.
The Archives of Internal Medicine published three relevant studies, that all established the fact that high doses actually contributed towards better results. The research mainly focused on how the B vitamins worked towards thwarting off macular degeneration due to age, and how vitamin D helps to reduce the possibility of contracting an upper respiratory infection, and lastly, how Calcium plays an important role in the prevention of cancer.
The Legislative Director of AAHF, Tami Wahl, stated that:
“Vitamins and supplements, combined with other healthy habits, play an integral role in the prevention of many medical conditions and diseases. Our concern is that the dosage amounts currently recommended are simply not adequate to yield protective effects.”
Likewise, the Executive and Scientific Director of ANH, Robert Verkerk, PhD, explained in a similar statement that such studies actually prove that there is:
“an increasing body of science that shows high doses of supplements are both safe and effective. To get some perspective on it, the levels found to be most beneficial in preventing macular degeneration were over 12 times the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of folic acid, 25 times the RDA of vitamin B6, and 1,000 times the RDA of vitamin B12.”
However, these findings should not be seen as a precursor for self-diagnosis which ultimately leads to self-supplementation of higher doses of multivitamins and minerals.
The old adage, ‘more is not necessarily better’, should always be kept in mind. If you are in any doubt as to the proper dose of any vitamin, you should first consult a natural health care practitioner for advice.
Photo Credit: Lintilla
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan