News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Better balance needed in vitamin and mineral deabte

Media coverage over potential health threats arising from vitamin and mineral consumption could ironically be doing consumers more harm than good according to Natural Products NZ Chief Executive Alison Quesnel.

“Natural Products NZ (NPNZ) and our members welcome discussion and debate that creates better-informed consumers, but unbalanced coverage of one-off studies suggesting potential problems could backfire by scaring consumers off taking supplements that benefit their health.

“It is important that people discuss any concerns with their health professional rather than simply stopping or changing the supplements they are taking,” she says.

Ms Quesnel referred to the current debates about the potential pros and cons of using vitamin D and a study that raised questions about fish oil.

Although occasional studies questioned fish oil’s benefits, the vast majority have shown that fish oil in supplements and/or food can help to lower high levels of triglycerides (unhealthy blood fats).

She also notes many studies show that, when combined with calcium, vitamin D helps to maintain good bone health and protect against osteoporosis.

Significantly, The Lancet medical journal recently recommended large clinical studies are undertaken to properly assess vitamin D’s effects on other health conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, dementia and inflammatory diseases.

NPNZ welcomes robust evidence that increases understanding about vitamin and mineral supplements’ roles in promoting good health.

Although it is always best to meet one’s nutritional needs through a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle, this is not always possible.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have severe and potentially life-threatening effects, which is why supplements such as folate (to prevent spina bifida) and iodine (to prevent conditions associated with poor thyroid function) are routinely added to food products.

Ms Quesnel comments that many media articles about the potential risks associated with particular nutritional supplements are based on selected excerpts from studies that do not actually conclude the extent to which the supplement affects health conditions.

“In reality, many of these studies simply demonstrate the need for more research.”

Consumers understandably may be feeling anxious and confused about some of the supplements they are taking.

NPNZ advises that more is not necessarily better and taking excessive amounts of any substance - whether it is a prescription-controlled drug, a vitamin supplement or water – may carry a degree of risk. People are strongly advised to read labels thoroughly and consult with a health professional beforehand.

“We also advise those taking supplements to be wary of sensationalist and negative media reports that undermine advice they have been given by their health professional,” she says.

Why the focus on vitamin D and how to boost levels naturally?

Vitamin D deficiency is becoming increasingly common in New Zealand and the Ministry of Health believes that around 5 per cent of Kiwi adults are deficient and a further 27 per cent have below the recommended vitamin D blood level.

People with low vitamin D risk developing a range of conditions, including rickets (bone deformation), weak bones and heart disorders.

Vitamin D can be boosted through sensible sun exposure or by choosing foods that contain it, for example: oily fish (e.g. salmon, tuna, sardines, eel and warehou), milk and milk products, eggs and liver.

Some foods may also have vitamin D added, including: margarine and fat spreads, some reduced-fat dairy products (e.g. milk, dried milk and yogurt), plant-based dairy substitutes (e.g. soy drinks) and liquid meal replacements. Remember to check the ingredients lists on these foods to see if extra vitamin D has been added.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Francis Cook: Gallipoli: The Scale Of Our War – First Look

Te Papa today allowed media access to their new exhibition Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War . The exhibition was curated with help from Weta Workshop to deliver an immersive, realistic and even disorienting experience. More>>

ALSO:

Bats Theatre: Letters From The Front Brings ANZAC Letters Alive

Inspired by centenary commemorations, improv troupe Best on Tap is producing a show based on real-life letters sent to and from New Zealand soldiers in the First World War. More>>

ALSO:

Publishing: Unity Books On Plan To Close Te Papa Press

Unity Books is alarmed that Te Papa is proposing to suspend publishing by Te Papa Press for 4 or 5 years. Te Papa Press has proven time and time again that it has both award and bestseller capability and fulfils its kaupapa. More>>

ALSO:

Cinema: ‘The Desk’ Featuring Paul Henry To Have NZ Debut

The Documentary Edge Festival is thrilled to announce The Desk as a late entry to its 2015 Programme. The film, featuring local broadcaster Paul Henry, will have its international premiere on May 21 at 10pm at Q Theatre (book now at qtheatre.co.nz) with limited screenings also on offer in Wellington and Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Art: Considering Feminisms In Aotearoa New Zealand: Two Projects

Feminism is something that has changed our lives. Recently, the activist Marilyn Waring reviewed the impact of feminism in Aotearoa New Zealand and reminded us that just 40 years ago banks wouldn’t lend women money without the guarantee of a man, ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news