Entries in Vitamins (6)


Vitamin Infusion: The New Hollywood Fad and How It Works

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Taking vitamins orally might soon fall out of favor as more Americans opt to drip them straight into their veins.

More exhausted people are heading to private clinics and getting hooked up to a vitamin I.V. for their energy-boosting cocktail infusion.

The technique was fueled, in part, by a photo that pop star Rihanna tweeted last month with her arm hooked up to an intravenous drip. Turns out she was enjoying the so-called "party-girl drip."

Other A-list celebrities that have reportedly jumped on the liquid vitamin bandwagon include Simon Cowell, Cindy Crawford and Madonna.

It's not just stars who are following Rihanna's lead. Music executive Carmen Key gets her 45-minute session once a week at a clinic in Los Angeles. Everything from vitamins C and B to minerals like zinc and chromium are pumped straight into her arm: "Instead of feeling energized, you feel alive," Key said.

Eating a salad, taking a nap and traditional vitamins don't compare, Key said. "That would probably do four percent of what this does," she said.

The session is pricey and can run $175 to $275. Critics call it extreme and wonder whether it actually offers anything nutritious that food or traditional vitamins can't.

Doctors and patients at Patient's Medical, a holistic wellness center in New York City, swear by it.

"I.V. is pretty much instant gratification," Dr. Kamau Kokayi said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Improve Significant Other’s Listening Skills with a Vitamin?

Cultura/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new survey shows 63 percent of Americans take a vitamin or supplement, but many wish the manufacturers would come up with a vitamin that would improve their significant other’s listening skills.

A survey commissioned by The Vitamin Shoppe finds 50 percent of respondents wish there was a pill that could improve their partner’s listening.  Forty-three percent wish there was a vitamin that would improve their significant other’s cleaning skills, while 31 percent expressed a desire for a vitamin that would improve their partner’s “bedroom” skills.

Respondents were asked: “If your significant other could take a vitamin to improve upon any of the following areas, which would you choose?

  • Listening, 50 percent
  • Cleaning, 43 percent
  • Physique, 37 percent
  • Cooking, 35 percent
  • “Bedroom” Skills, 31 percent
  • Dancing, 24 percent
  • Don’t know/Refused, 20 percent

Additional findings from The Vitamin Shoppe survey:

  • 93 percent of Americans feel more confident about their health when taking a vitamin or supplement.
  • 72 percent of respondents take multivitamins on a regular basis.
  • 56 percent believe vitamins and supplements are necessary to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Respondents were also asked: “What would put you in a better mood – good sex or a good workout?

  • Good sex, 57 percent
  • Good workout, 35 percent
  • Don’t know/Refused, 8 percent

The Vitamin Shoppe survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted by Wakefield Research.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Vitamin Intake Might Lead to Risky Behavior

Paul Tearle/Thinkstock(KAOHSIUNG CITY, Taiwan) -- Dietary supplements could have unintended consequences because people who take them might believe they are healthier and therefore immune to the effects of risky behavior such as casual sex, excessive drinking, and unhealthy food consumption, according to a recent study.

Researchers at Taiwan’s National Sun Yat-Sen University conducted two separate experiments, giving 150 study participants a placebo pill, with half of them believing they were taking a multivitamin.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, found that those who believed they had taken the vitamin expressed less of a desire to exercise and a stronger desire to take risks, such as having casual sex, drinking, sunbathing or going to wild parties. They were also more likely to prefer a buffet meal than a healthier, organic meal.

“Because dietary supplements are perceived as conferring health advantages, use of such supplements may create an illusory sense of invulnerability that disinhibits unhealthy behaviors,” the authors wrote.

They hypothesized this series of behaviors resulted from the effects of a phenomenon called “licensing,” meaning in this case that the positive choice of taking a vitamin gave the study participants “license” to partake in pleasurable activities.

“Hence, people who rely on dietary supplements for health protection may pay a hidden price: the curse of licensed self-indulgence,” they wrote.

The use of vitamins and other dietary supplements has increased dramatically in the past decade, and the study authors believe consumers should be taught about the licensing effect in order to avoid the negative consequences of risky behaviors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Women Taking Diet Supplements Should Think Twice, Study Says

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, Minn.) -- For the nutrient conscious, a daily caplet of vitamins and minerals might seem like a sure way to get all the necessary nutrients you could miss in your diet. But a new study reports that those supplements may not be helpful, and in some cases, could even be harmful for older women.

The study looked at more than 38,000 women age 55 and older who participated in the Iowa Women's Health Study since the mid-1980s. The researchers found that when it came to reducing the risk of death, most supplements had no effect on women's health.

In fact, women who took certain kinds of dietary supplements -- vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron and multivitamins -- faced a slightly higher risk of death than women who did not. Only women who took supplemental calcium showed any reduction in their risk of death.

The study was published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Jaakko Mursu, the study's lead author, said the findings add to a growing collection of research showing that people who take dietary supplements are getting few health benefits in return.

News about the benefits and risks of dietary supplements seems to change by the week. Buzz about potential health boosts from antioxidants like beta carotene and vitamin E was squelched by recent studies showing that these supplements can actually be harmful. Some studies, like the current one, have touted the benefits of added calcium while others have shown that it carries potential health risks.

Dr. Donald Hensrud, chair of preventive medicine at the Mayo Clinic, said the conflicting evidence seems overwhelming, but the new study helps to clarify the overall message.

"It can be confusing for the public when something isn't entirely black and white," Hensrud said. "But based on this new study, people should be even a little more cautious now about taking these supplements."

Experts noted that supplements are beneficial for people who have some kind of nutritional deficiency, like anemia or osteoporosis. But many people who take dietary supplements are healthy and just want to be healthier.

Experts say the best way to ensure that you're getting all the nutrients you need is still to eat a well-balanced diet.

Connie Diekman, director of nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, said women who want to take additional vitamins and minerals should consult with their doctors to make sure those supplements are safe and necessary.

"Supplements should be viewed as ways to boost intake when food does not meet need," she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Vitamins and Vitamin Supplements: Use Increases in America

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(HYATTSVILLE, Md.) -- Do you take vitamins every morning? The numbers are growing. A new government study found that more than half of American adults take at least one dietary supplement. But despite their popularity, many experts remain skeptical of their effects.

"Although we were not surprised, it is interesting to note that not only did supplemental calcium use and vitamin D use increase for all women aged 60 and over from 1988 to 1994 to 1999 to 2002, but there was also an increase from [between] 1999 [and] 2002 to 2003 to 2006," said Jaime Gahche, a nutritional researcher with the National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the study.

Supplements can contain high amounts of specific nutrients, and are often used to increase nutrition in a person's diet. They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Because so many Americans use vitamin supplements, researchers hoped to assess people's use of them in order to get an accurate picture of the population's dietary intake.

The study, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, found that more than 40 percent of Americans used supplements from 1988 to 1994, and more than one half took vitamins from 2003 to 2006. Multivitamins were found to be the most commonly used supplement.

Of particular interest to the researchers were vitamin D, calcium and folic acid supplements.

ABC News contacted several experts on the subject. While none was surprised by the increased use of vitamins, nearly all of them agreed that a healthy diet is a better alternative to nutrients in pill form.

"People are looking for help with what they believe is a problem but trying to solve it the wrong way," said Dr. Darwin Deen, clinical professor in the department of family and social medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "Our diet contains too many processed foods that do not have the nutrients we need to keep us healthy -- soda and chips -- so people respond by taking vitamins."

Deen said he usually advises his patients to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables to boost their vitamin count, rather than take a pill.

"The pill is a nice idea, but we have no reason to think this one-size-fits-all dose makes any sense for each individual," said Deen.

Lead author Gahche said the report makes no recommendations on whether or not a person should or should not use dietary supplements. And if individuals are taking supplements, they should be sure to the tell their doctors what those are and why they're taking them.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Supplements Cost Much and Are Not Necessary for All, Experts Say

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Entire stores, grocery store aisles and websites are dedicated to helping you find the right combination of vitamins and supplements -- the kinds you swallow, the kinds you chew and the kinds you drink. Although 44 percent of Americans say they use supplements every day -- helping to create the $25 billion dollar industry -- many don't understand why they take them or whether they need to take them at all.

Some supplement labels claim that what's inside the products will help guard against illness. Others boldly claim that you're not getting enough nutrients in a day. But for many, supplements may not be the answer to staying healthy.

"If we really look at the data on vitamins and minerals, there isn't a whole lot there," said Dr. Donald Hensrud, associate professor of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. 

"If you have a varied diet and you're eating fruits and vegetables, you should get all the vitamins through your diet," said Dr. Jill Silverman, primary care physician to ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser. "Otherwise, I just think you're just wasting your money if you're taking anything extra, and potentially doing some harm."

While some supplements are marketed to work for a variety of ailments, there's no scientific data to back all of the claims. Only three-to-four percent of Americans follow all of the dietary guidelines, according to 2009 position paper published by the American Dietetic Association.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio