The debate on whether or not you should be taking vitamin supplements has been going on for years. In the past decade, the discussion has greatly heated, with people on either side of the line lobbying for position. Ultimately, you must decide whether or not they are needed for your health, but here are a few of the pros and cons of each side.

Vitamins are Useless

On one side, there are healthcare professionals and scientists stating that the vitamin supplement corporations are just scheming to make more money. According to a study in 2013 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, experts believed vitamins made no difference in their patients in terms of chronic disease prevention. Following the results of this study, experts determined that vitamins had no value to society and could actually harm your health.

Vitamins Harm Your Health

Experts from the 2013 study found that supplemented vitamins like vitamin E or beta-carotene could heighten the risk of lung cancer in individuals who were already at risk. There was also some concern that forcing your body to accept a synthetic vitamin could actually hurt your body’s ability to process natural vitamins and nutrients from naturally derived sources.

One of the primary vitamins taken to prevent or slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, lutein, has been proven to actually accelerate the progression in former smokers.

Vitamins Have Been Proven to Help

The jury is still out on whether all vitamins are necessary but there are a few supplements that have been proven invaluable in some instances. For example, if you take high levels of pharmaceutical drugs, your body may become depleted in vitamins and minerals and require supplementation.

There is also evidence that up to 85 percent of people are deficient in vitamin D and need direct supplementation. A folate supplement, or folic acid, has been proven to reduce birth defects in pregnant women and magnesium and CoQ-10 supplements have been shown to optimize certain vitamin and nutrient levels that are directly related to congestive heart failure and other conditions.

Vitamin Crazy

It is obvious that some health-conscious members of society have gone overboard in their vitamin wealth. There is still no long-term, concrete evidence to prove that vitamins will lower your risk for certain chronic diseases if taken over time.

However, there are certain vitamins that have proven valuable if you are already struggling from a condition or are pregnant. All experts agree that vitamins are not the cure-all they were believed to be originally. No vitamin can take the place of an active, healthy lifestyle with a plant-based diet.

In conclusion, the best thing you can do for your health is to be active and eat a nutrient-dense, vitamin-rich diet. If you struggle from any chronic conditions, are deficient in any vitamins or are pregnant, there are supplements that can help you maintain optimal health. As with any health supplements, it is advisable to contact your physician before altering your regimen.