April 12, 2004 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Vitamin dosage is a much debated issue. Is there any real difference between the minimal and the optimal? There are the public standards, and then there are other perspectives. Given the potential impact on public health as new RDIs are adopted, what do you think we should take?
posted by ewkpates (7 comments total)
I don't know from minimal vs. optimal but please be aware that for certain vitamins which aren't water-soluble, for example Vitamins A and B6, too much can cause serious health problems. It's also important to note that many of the foods we eat already have vitamins artificially added or naturally occurring.
posted by callmejay at 11:10 AM on April 12, 2004

I've been taking Cod Liver Oil which is high in A and D (fat soluble) at doses 3 to 4 times the RDA. Never had a problem. Native cultures such as Eskimos who maintain native diets eat 10 to 15 times the RDA of A and D and they don't have most of the chronic health problems we have. Indeed Dr Weston Price found that all native cultures of the world that have robust health shared one common trait and that is a diet very high in Vitamin A and D.

Also note that Vitamin A from carrots and other vegetables is not the same as Vitamin A in animal products. The FDA calls it the same thing but they are different chemicals.
posted by stbalbach at 11:32 AM on April 12, 2004

I forget who said it, but someone once characterized the Western world this way: "they've got the most expensive urine in the world"

...much of the vitamins ingested in single megadoses will simply pass straight through the body. Dosage over time is usually the important factor, not mere dosage.
posted by aramaic at 12:21 PM on April 12, 2004

the truth is starting to out about the dangers of supplements, though...
posted by badstone at 12:25 PM on April 12, 2004

Eventually, there is going to have to be a gigantic database of medical treatments and effects. Everything, the whole nine yards: nutrition, pharmacopeia, exercise, body type, age/sex/race-genetic factors; along with alternative medical treatments; toxic agents and risk factors, etc., almost without end.

And then, a person will have to plug in their own database of a complete medical history, plus current blood, urine, stool, DNA, and scans (x-ray/CAT/MRI) *into* the main database, AND THEN we will start really learning what's going on.

With an embryonic version of such a system in place, using just Doctors and Nurses, in huge studies, the AMA has discovered incredible things.

And every time something totally unexpected comes along...
posted by kablam at 4:19 PM on April 12, 2004

Native cultures such as Eskimos who maintain native diets eat 10 to 15 times the RDA of A and D and they don't have most of the chronic health problems we have.

That doesn't really suggest causality does it, it could simply mean that they're not stuffing themselves with lard, sugar and shite every day of the year.
posted by biffa at 5:34 PM on April 12, 2004

I have nothing like a rational answer to this, but I genuinely feel better when I take large doses of C and B complex. This may be a placebo effect, but that's fine with me.

This is because to a degree I subscribe to the idea that one's state of mind has a strong effect (in the absence of serious malady, perhaps) on one's physical wellbeing (or lack thereof). If I feel well, even through a placebo effect, I think I will actually be more well, again, in the absence of illness.

This is very close to airy-fairy handwaving, I am aware. But it works for me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:40 PM on April 12, 2004

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