Dietary Supplements: The Health Benefits of Pumping Up Your Diet

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1 Argumentative Prompt: Read the texts below regarding the use of dietary supplements. Write an argumentative essay either in support of the use of dietary supplements or against their use. Your essay must include relevant (be based on) ideas, concepts, and information from the passage set (both texts/passages). Manage your time carefully so that you can read the passages; plan your response; write your response; and revise and edit your response. Be sure to include a claim; address counterclaims; use evidence from multiple sources; and avoid overly relying on one source. Type your response in the space provided. You have one class period to read, plan, write, revise, and edit your response. Passage 1: Dietary Supplements: The Health Benefits of Pumping Up Your Diet With the popularity of fast and inexpensive processed food, many of us struggle to get all the nutrients we need out of our diets. As a result, dietary supplements are growing in popularity and are now a multi-billion dollar industry. Still, many of us remain either confused by what to take or skeptical of what the actual benefits of these supplements might be. There are six essential nutrients that we need to get each day, explains Kelli M. Ward, DO, an osteopathic family physician from Lake Havasu City, Ariz. These are proteins, carbohydrates,

2 fats, vitamins, minerals and water. The best source of these nutrients is a healthy, balanced diet, comprised of fresh, whole foods and an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Dr. Ward notes, however, that even people who strive to eat a healthy diet can sometimes miss essential nutrients. Therefore, nutritional supplements, when taken appropriately, can be beneficial to almost anyone s diet. Multivitamins The first supplement to consider adding to your diet is the multivitamin, says Dr. Ward. There are many essential vitamins and minerals found in multivitamins that can be difficult to attain solely through one s diet. The health benefits of these nutrients are hard to ignore. Calcium makes your bones stronger. Vitamin B12 gives you more energy. Vitamin D boosts your immune system. Overall, the multivitamin is the single most diverse supplement you can add to your diet, says Dr. Ward. However, not all multivitamins are made equal. Many multivitamins contain synthetic nutrients instead of natural ones, which are harder for the body to absorb, explains Dr. Ward. She recommends taking an all-natural multivitamin derived from actual food sources so the body can absorb a much larger percentage of its nutrients. Healthy Fats Another important nutrient we should be supplementing our diets with is fat. According to Dr. Ward, it is a common misconception that fat is bad for us when, actually, quite the opposite is true. The body uses fat to do everything from building cell membranes to performing key functions in the brain, eyes, and lungs. Fats also play a vital role in our cardiovascular health as well as in the maintenance of our skin and hair. The problem with fat is that people eat too many trans fats, often found in processed food, that

3 not only raise cholesterol, but also increase the risk of heart disease, says Dr. Ward. Dr. Ward points out that healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and the super-healthy fats omega 3 fatty acids, can actually improve the overall health of the heart. When combined with exercise, taking an omega 3 supplement can also combat the problem of high triglycerides and low, good (HDL) cholesterol - another common medical problem caused by diets high in trans-fat, says Dr. Ward. Therefore, it is important to make sure our diets include a good amount of these healthy fats. Fish oil, which contains concentrated omega 3 fatty acids, is perhaps the best nutritional supplement for healthy fats, adds Dr. Ward. Protein Another good dietary supplement to consider is protein. Protein is one of the body s main building blocks for muscle, bone, skin, and other tissues, says Dr. Ward. Often found in the form of powders or shakes, protein supplements repair muscles and help the body recover from exercise. If your diet is low in protein-rich foods, such as fish, poultry, beans, nuts and whole grains, then you may want to consider adding a protein supplement. Dr. Ward warns, however, that protein supplementation can be harmful to certain populations, especially those with diminished kidney function. Before adding protein, or any other nutritional supplement to your diet, you should check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you. Taken from: The American Osteopathic Association Website Passage 2: Risks of Taking Dietary Supplements People take dietary supplements to obtain essential nutrients that may be deficient or missing in their diets. Supplements may contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and herbs. Yet, they may have risks. Research by epidemiologists at the Food

4 and Drug Administration and published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2006 reports that more than 13 percent of adults in the United States who take multivitamin, multi-mineral supplements report adverse events. Drug Interactions A higher proportion of people reporting adverse reactions when taking dietary supplements, particularly multivitamin multi-mineral supplements, concurrently take prescription or overthecounter medications that supplement users without adverse events. Taking supplements that contain vitamin A while also taking Accutane, a prescription drug that contains isotretinoin and is indicated for treatment of cystic acne, can increase the toxic effects of the medication. Vitamins C, E and K can interfere with blood thinning medications, such as warfarin, that are used to treat and prevent blood clots. Supplements containing herbs may also interfere with medications. St. John s wort is a herb that may help you improve your mood when depressed. It can also lower blood concentrations of the painkiller oxycodone and decrease the effectiveness of chronic pain treatment, according to research scientists in the Department of Anesthesiology at Turku University Hospital in Finland and published in the European Journal of Pain in Megadoses Megadoses of nutrients can lead to liver and kidney toxicity and other potentially severe adverse reactions. Taking megadoses of 1,000 mg or more of vitamin B-6, also called pyridoxine or Pyridoxal-5 -phosphate, can cause neuropathy, or damage to your nerve cells, according to research at the Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences in the Netherlands and published in "Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde" in Megadoses of vitamin A can cause toxicity, also called hypervitaminosis A, with symptoms that include nausea, dizziness, and headache, loss of appetite, dry skin, joint pain and increased water in the brain. Taking more than 2,000 IU of vitamin D can cause excessive thirst, tiredness, sore eyes, bone pain, vomiting and

5 diarrhea. Contamination Contamination from harmful substances is a big risk from taking dietary supplements. The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, investigated the safety of supplements and found that nearly all herbal supplements are contaminated with heavy metals, such as mercury, cadmium and lead and 40 percent of dietary supplements tested have residues from pesticides. Also, 25 percent of more than 2,000 dietary supplements from 300 manufacturers lack the quantities of substances listed on the product labels and many contain heavy metals. Toxicities from heavy metals are potentially life threatening and can cause birth defects in women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Unknown Risks Scientists are discovering new things about nutrition every day. Taking dietary supplements may have health risks not yet discovered. It's generally best to keep consumption of supplements within or near the limits set by health authorities. Consult your doctor about your health status and about taking dietary supplements. Taken from: Livestrong Website

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