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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Vitamin Supplements
March 2000

Q. Should I take a vitamin supplement?

A. While I believe that as a rule a good diet is better than supplements, there are several other considerations. First, if your diet is not good, work hard to get a balanced diet. If that is not possible, a good multivitamin may be important.

Second, if you are menstruating, iron supplementation is a good idea. Iron is lost when you lose blood, and chronic iron loss (such as with menses) can lead to anemia.

Finally, consideration should be given to taking a calcium supplement, especially if you have light coloring or a family history of osteoporosis.

A good source for vitamin information is difficult to come by because most people are trying to sell you vitamins. You have to be careful with those sites. One possible place to get a general overview of what vitamins do is http://www.realtime.net/anr.

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