(CBS Charlotte) — In the United States, the vitamin industry generates around $27 billion in revenue — but just how safe are vitamins, and are they worth taking?
Today, roughly half of Americans take some form of vitamin supplement to help maintain and promote health, however, not all doctors agree that taking vitamins is wise.
There are two sides to the argument: Many doctors feel that taking vitamin supplements could be dangerous, as most people would not eat 10 oranges in one sitting, and yet, consuming higher doses of vitamin C can be the equivalent to eating large quantities of fruit. Other doctors feel that nutritional supplements are indeed good for your body and promote health, perhaps even more than medications.
In fact, a North Carolina doctor experimented with Vitamin C Therapy for 40 years and as a result, many of his patients were cured from common diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and hepatitis.
Depending on your doctors beliefs, he/she will either recommend vitamin therapy to promote health or may prescribe medication to treat various symptoms or diseases.
Is there a right or wrong remedy to treat illnesses or to supplement nutrition?
A recent study indicates that nearly 70 percent of people in our country are on at least one medication, and nearly 50 percent are taking multiple prescription drugs.
When comparing vitamins and prescription medication, statistically vitamins are much safer than medications.
In 2010, there were around 70,000 reports of vitamin overdoses. Around 15 or so of those overdoses were severe, but not a single American died from a vitamin overdose that year. On the other hand, that same year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that over 22,000 people in our country had died from overdosing on prescription medication.
While every situation is different, you should discuss your medication and vitamin consumption with your doctor. For additional advice or a second opinion, doctors who specialize in nutrition can be very helpful in determining if vitamin therapy or diet changes could be a better alternative to medication.
Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte