The Great Vitamin Debate - FOX 35 News Orlando

The Great Vitamin Debate

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

There's no doubt nutrients play a key role in our health, but should you be getting them from a pill? Half of adults in the U.S. take a multivitamin, contributing to a more than $20-billion-a-year industry. So are supplements really worth it?

"I take a daily vitamin everyday -- one of the big horse pills," Morgan told Fox 35.

You pop them in the hopes of getting a healthy boost.

"When I don't take it I feel a little sluggish," Cecilia says.

But are vitamins really doing your body good?

"[It's] not something I do," Steve says. "If you have a well-balanced diet, you should be getting most of the nutrients you need anyways."

Fran Hamilton, owner of The Longwood Herb Shop, says vitamins make up where our diets lack.

"We're eating empty calories," Hamilton explains. "We're taking these things in, but we're taking them in in sort of an altered state."

But the research isn't so black and white. A recent study found women who take a daily vitamin are more likely to die of cardiovascular disease and cancer (Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, October 2011). So we asked Dawn Napoli, a registered dietician at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, for her opinion.

"I personally believe that everybody should take a multivitamin -- a standard multivitamin," Napoli says.

Napoli says stay away from antioxidants and herbal supplements, and remember, more isn't always better.

"The water soluble ones, if you take too much of them, there's not going to be much harm, because you will just urinate them out," she explains. "However, with the fat soluble ones, those are stored in your fat cells so if you take too much you actually can overdose on those."

Vitamins B and C are water soluble, while A, D, E and K are fat soluble.

Also check the label to make sure the registered daily intake (RDI) isn't more than 100 percent. And Napoli says vitamins should never be used as a substitute for good nutrition.

"We always recommend to try to get all your vitamins and minerals first from your diet before you're going to your supplements," Napoli says.

And by choosing the right foods, it's not difficult. Greens like kale and spinach are packed with vitamins C, K and A. Salmon is loaded with Omega 3s, vitamins D and B-12. Chocolate contains antioxidants and vitamins B and E, and that's definitely a sweeter pill to swallow

Since vitamins aren't regulated by the FDA, Napoli says be sure to purchase vitamins from reputable companies. In a recent review of supplements, ConsumerLab.com found 30 percent contained significantly more or less ingredients than what the label claimed. Some even contained lead.

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