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Vitamins and minerals ARE essential for the maintenance of health

The Health Supplements Information Service (HSIS) notes: “Vitamins and minerals are essential for the maintenance of health; they are not intended to be used for the prevention of chronic conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

“Vitamins and minerals perform critical functions in the body. They work with enzymes to help release energy from food and help to maintain the health of every organ and cell in the body. These essential nutrients work together to maintain our health and the body cannot function without them. A lack of vitamins and minerals can lead to poor health, both in the short and longer term. The key role of these essential nutrients lies in helping to maintain our health not in preventing chronic disease.

“It is therefore not surprising that the UPSTF report makes no recommendations on the use of multivitamins or single or paired vitamins for the prevention of cancer or cardiovascular. These conditions are multifactorial and their development is associated with a range of factors, such as smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, low intake of fruit and vegetables and other poor dietary habits.

“The National Diet and Nutrition Surveys (NDNS), Britain’s high quality dietary surveys established in 1992 continue to show problems with the British diet, in particular poor intake of vitamins and minerals in relation to government recommended amounts. These surveys continue to show a lack of essential nutrients to some extent across population groups but particularly in young women whose mineral intakes may be severely compromised and in children and older people where vitamin D intakes fail to match recommendations. 

“Given this significant dietary gap of essential nutrients among the British population, vitamin and mineral supplements are an important method of topping up vitamins and minerals. A vitamin and mineral supplement containing the RDA of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals can ensure that people achieve recommended amounts of these essential nutrients. In fact if more people were recommended to take such a vitamin and mineral supplement, fewer people would suffer the vitamin and mineral gap. In helping to ensure that vitamin and mineral intakes reach recommended levels, supplements contribute to the maintenance of good health.”

Last updated: 27-02-2014