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Vitamin Overload

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Nutrition scientists at Purdue University are concerned that additional vitamins put into drinks on supermarket shelves are not only unnecessary, but also potentially harmful, according to the New York Times.“I never pay attention to what they say in the labels. I don’t care about what vitamins they added in the drinks; I just like the tastes. I think those added nutrients are good, but not natural. I agree with the idea that those vitamins are unnecessary for our body,” said Rachel Cottle, a sophomore in business finance from Utah.Mridul Datta, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, said to New York Times, “You have vitamins and minerals that occur naturally in foods, and then you have people taking supplements, and then you have all these fortified foods, it adds up to quite an excess. There’s the potential for people to get a lot more of these vitamins than they need.” A study published by Datta and M.Z. Vitolins in July also found, today more than ever, people’s nutrient intakes are beyond the safe limits set by the Institute of Medicine. Experts say antioxidants, which are artificially put in commercial drinks, are used by the body to eliminate free radicals that can damage cells. However, the body also relies on free radicals to resist infections and cancerous cells. Excessive amounts of antioxidants make the body unbalanced. Taylor Long, a junior from Idaho majoring in business finance, shared her opinion about this phenomenon: “I think vitamin drinks are a good concept, but we should keep in balance in drinks or eating. Too much of anything will not be good.”A study from the University of Toronto published Feb. 2015 analyzed 46 beverages sold in supermarkets. They found most of them contained vitamin B6, B12, niacin and vitamin C, in amounts well past the average daily requirements for young adults. Valerie Tarasuk, the lead author of this study, said, “It’s very hard to figure out the logic the manufacturers are using to do this fortification. There’s no way that the things that are being added are things that anybody needs or stands to benefit from.” People can absorb most of their daily nutrients through their diet, she said. However, added vitamins undoubtedly may aid some people, including women who are pregnant or lactating, and those who lack nutrients. “I don’t think those added vitamins are necessary for the people who have a healthy diet, but not everyone always eats healthy, especially the students here on campus,” said Bechy Demartini, a Reference Librarian of eight years in the BYUH library. She continued, “Yes, it must be much better to absorb natural nutrients from an average diet. For those who have problems to do this, the vitamin drinks may be helpful.” Demartini said she was uncertain of the studies’ findings. “I am wondering about this research. So far, they couldn’t affect me too much. I need do more of my own researching in order to make sure about it,” Demartini said. Uploaded Feb. 19, 2015.
Writer: Siyang Chen