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Christian DuVall
Mrs. DeBock
English IV
18 March 2015
Nutritional Supplementation
Today, over half of Americans take vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements
routinely. As these supplements become readily available to consumers and the public grows
progressively health conscious, nutritional supplement sales intensify. In addition, this increased
prevalence has generated countless research studies on dietary supplementation. However,
contradictory data is frequently streamed through the media, leaving the public divided on the
issue. Some argue that nutritional supplementation promotes exceptional health, as well as
reduces the risk of developing diseases. Others insist that dietary supplements are unnecessary,
harmful, and even dangerous, encouraging individuals to seek nutrients through a varied diet.
However, this argument rests upon the questionable assumption that the standard diet is perfectly
balanced. Vitamin and mineral supplementation is advantageous to the public, because
additional nutrients correct discontinuities in diets, ultimately improving health and wellbeing,
reducing risk of disease, and defying aging.
In discussion of nutritional supplementation, those in opposition denounce vitamins and
minerals as overpriced and ineffective. Furthermore, critics claim that supplements are worthless
and that their benefits are unproven. According to Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements, supplements do not defend against diseases or death, are
unnecessary, and should be avoided (Guallar et al.). While most argue that supplementation is

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Inadequate and unwarranted, others contend that supplements are also potentially degrading and
detrimental. According to Cathy Gulli vitamin and mineral supplements are conceivably more
destructive than productive. The article goes on to exemplify specific consequences of taking
nutrient pills, as Gulli identifies several prevalent vitamins and minerals, and implies a
correspondence between these supplements and specific deficiencies and diseases.

For

instance, the article states that profuse doses of Vitamin A induces significant liver damage,
causes birth defects, and effects hair loss. Also, the article claims that excessive use of B6
promotes permanent nerve damage (Gulli). This argument is ungrounded, as it rests upon the
depiction of dietary supplement overdoses and deleterious effects as an issue of immense
prevalence and urgency. In sum, this position is overly exaggerated, consequently
misrepresenting the dangers of vitamins and minerals. While dangers may arise in instances of
vitamin and mineral overconsumption, overdosing on nutritional supplements is preventable.
Common sense seems to dictate that the value and relevance of vitamin and mineral
supplementation is determined by personal circumstances. Despite existing controversies, even
those in opposition agree that supplements benefit nutrient deficient individuals, ultimately
encouraging these specific groups to consider nutritional supplementation. Do I Need Vitamin
Supplements? generally recommends nutritional supplements to pregnant or breastfeeding
women, all children aged 6 months to 5 years, people older than 65, and all individuals with
other specific health problems. Conversely, experts urge the public to avoid dietary supplements
and promote healthy, well balanced diets. The article Vitamins and Minerals intends to
encourage individuals to seek essential nutrients through the consumption of food, rather than
through dietary supplements. Supplements are designed to add to diets and not to act as a
substitute for nutrients necessary to the human body (Vitamins and Minerals). Conventional

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wisdom has it that balanced, varied eating is the most efficient way to obtain essential vitamins,
minerals, and nutrients. Certified nutrition specialist, Johnny Bowden refutes this popular
perception, arguing that nutrients were once abundant in our "factory-specified" diet, but are
now increasingly difficult to get in therapeutic and protective amounts from our current food
supply (Bowden). Furthermore, this supposition is misleading in the way that it perceives
specific groups as the only nutrient deprived individuals. According to top national nutrition
expert, Blumberg, the average diet is poor when it comes to meeting recommended intakes of
vitamins and minerals, as only about 3% of Americans adhere to the dietary guidelines
(Hellmich). Although vitamins and nutrients prove to serve a greater role in the growth and
development of specific groups, dietary supplements are beneficial to more than just the vitamin
deficient.
The standard way of thinking about nutritional supplements has it that vitamins, minerals,
and nutrients are harmless and beneficial. These dietary supplements act as guidance towards
achieving the recommended intake of nutrients. To avoid adverse effects, experts emphasize the
importance of consuming appropriate dosages, and the seriousness of using supplements to
enhance diets rather than as an alternative to healthy eating. As the certified nutrition specialist
Jonny Bowden puts it, overwhelming amounts of research have shown that vitamins and
minerals in therapeutic dosages can reduce the risk for a multitude of diseases. Evidence of
multivitamin related reductions in the fortuity of disease development, as well as the increasing
prevalence of nutrition deficient diets uphold the argument that nutritional supplements are
valuable and serviceable to everyone.

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Works Cited
Bowden, Jonny. "Vitamin Supplements Are Beneficial." Health. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego:
Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Vitamins and Minerals Are
Essential to Life." Total Health (2001). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 16 Mar.
2015.
"Do I Need Vitamin Supplements?" - Health Questions. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.
Guallar E, Stranges S, Mulrow C, Appel LJ, Miller ER. Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money
on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. Ann Intern Med. 2013.
Gulli, Cathy. "Dietary Supplements Can Be Dangerous to One's Health." Nutrition. Ed. David
Haugen and Susan Musser. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt.
from "How Vitamins Can Be Hazardous to Your Health." Maclean's 121.15 (21 Apr.
2008). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.
Hellmich, Nanci. "Are vitamin supplements healthful -- or harmful?" USA Today n.d.: Points of
View Reference Center. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.
"Vitamins and Minerals." Vitamins and Minerals. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.

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