Times of India
11 April 2009
We don’t think twice before popping a multivitamin pill, neither seem to doctors while prescribing it. According to a study on use of vitamin and mineral combinations by National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, which is a part of Indian Council of Medical Research, 54% of doctors in cities and 68% in rural areas prescribe vitamin pills which are irrelevant to the disease concerned.
‘‘People take vitamin pills indiscriminately as they are not aware of their side effects. We found that doctors based in cities are irrationally prescribing vitamin pills. According to our findings, almost 40% of the vitamin and mineral combinations prescribed were irrelevant to the disease, while 14% were relevant. The situation is even worse in rural areas,’’ said Dr Dinesh Kumar, scientist with NIN and general secretary of Indian Pharmacology Society.
The often prescribed vitamins and minerals are B,C,D,E,A,
iron and calcium. Vitamin B
are water soluble, hence their excess amount is flushed out in urine. But excess of vitamin A,D and E, which are fat soluble, can result in formation of toxic elements inside the body. It can result in long term damage to many organs. ‘‘Overnutrition is also emerging as a big problem. Doctors
Prescribe vitamins along with drugs to treat diseases but they don’t take into account their side effects. Anaemia is a serious problem among Indian women but excess of iron can result in kidney failure,’’ said Neeta Kumar of ICMR. Overuse of Vitamin
According to an ongoing study at National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR, Hyderabad, dietary supplements are the third most sold medical products in India. The study found that 54% of vitamins prescribed in urban areas are irrelevant to the disease. Irrational use of vitamins is more in the rural setup as 68% of vitamins prescribed are irrelevant
Most used Vitamins
| Vit A, D, C, B, E
Natural sources of vitamins and dietary supplements Vit A
| Carrot, sweet potato, spinach, liver (chicken, pork, beef) Vit B
| Whole grain, potatoes, banana, liver oil Vit C
| Organs and all colourful fruits Vit D
| Sunlight, egg, cheese, fish Vit E
| Vegetables, oils, peanuts Calcium | Milk and milk products
are water soluble and hence don’t have any harmful side effects
Vit A, D, E, K
are fat soluble and excess of these vitamins gets absorbed in the fat and can result in vitamin toxicity
Symptoms Of Vitaminosis
Nausea and vomiting Constipation Abdominal pain Muscle weakness Numbness in limbs Lethargy and fatigue Serious consequences of hypervitaminosis.
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