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Episode 24: Are Vitamins Really Useful?

This year the world will be spending over a $100 billion on vitamins and supplements. Are they really effective?

SBS Italian news, with a slower pace. This is Slow Italian, Fast Learning, the very best of the week’s news, read at a slower pace, with Italian and English text available.

Italian

Quest'anno nel mondo si spenderanno oltre 100 miliardi di dollari per l'acquisto di vitamine e integratori alimentari, grazie ai quali le persone sperano di trovare una soluzione facile a problemi di salute.

La dietologa di Adelaide Anne Schneyder non è convinta che la maggior parte della gente abbia bisogno di assumere regolarmente vitamine sotto forma di integratori per stare bene.

"I think that you can obtain the vitamins and minerals that you require from food and good healthy eating. I think that a range of foods from all of the food groups is able to give you what you need without relying on supplements. There are probably a few people who have got particular medical problems or particular issues that might need a supplement but by and large the majority of us don't need to take anything extra."

Regole diverse potrebbero essere applicabili a persone anziane e a coloro che per via di problemi medici sono suscettibili a deficienze vitaminiche. La stessa Anne Schneyder assume regolarmente olio di pesce Omega-3 per via dell'artrite, ma cita anche altri esempi in cui un integratore può rivelarsi utile.

"So a person that might have medical problem - that means that they're not eating a good range of foods. So, let's say, for example, a person who is quite a bit older, their appetite might have decreased, they might be living alone, they might not be cooking meals for themselves adequately, then they might benefit from a multivitamin. Someone who's a strict vegetarian might need a B12 supplement. A person that doesn't eat much red meat might need an iron supplement, but, by and large, we can get everything that we need from foods whether you're a vegetarian or not."

Ma qual è il ruolo degli integratori vitaminici? L'Australia è tra i maggiori consumatori al mondo, ed è facile perdersi tra le oltre 85,000 tipologie di vitamine e integratori disponibili qui.

Sally Brooks, una farmacista al Peter MacCallum Cancer Research Centre, spiega che integratori come olio di pesce, zenzero e té verde possono rivelarsi più dannosi che benefici, in quanto talvolta inteferiscono per esempio con i farmaci convenzionali.

"There are concerns associated with taking some supplements or vitamins in patients over the age of fifty or any age who have cancer. Although many supplements or complementary medicines may be safe when they're taken by themselves, there are some which may interfere with conventional cancer treatments."

A suo parere, consultarsi con il proprio dottore, farmacista o nutrizionista prima di assumere un nuovo prodotto è importantissimo.

Per evitare danni alla salute, il divulgatore scientifico, dottor Derek Muller, incoraggia tutti ad adottare un atteggiamento critico nei confronti dell'assunzione di integratori.

"When you are trying to ask the question which pills should I be taking I would say, 'stop' and first ask yourself, 'What food should I be eating? What lifestyle changes can I be making to achieve this without adding something to my diet?"

 

 


 

English

This year the world will be spending over a $100 billion on vitamins and supplements as people increasingly seek a quick fix in these nutrient-dense products.

Adelaide dietician Anne Schneyder is not convinced though that most people need a regular intake of vitamins from supplements.

"I think that you can obtain the vitamins and minerals that you require from food and good healthy eating. I think that a range of foods from all of the food groups is able to give you what you need without relying on supplements. There are probably a few people who have got particular medical problems or particular issues that might need a supplement but by and large the majority of us don't need to take anything extra."

Different rules may apply to ageing people and those with medical issues who are more prone to a vitamin deficiency.

Anne Schneyder routinely takes Omega-3 fish oil to manage her arthritis.

"So a person that might have medical problem - that means that they're not eating a good range of foods. So, let's say, for example, a person who is quite a bit older, their appetite might have decreased, they might be living alone, they might not be cooking meals for themselves adequately, then they might benefit from a multivitamin. Someone who's a strict vegetarian might need a B12 supplement. A person that doesn't eat much red meat might need an iron supplement, but, by and large, we can get everything that we need from foods whether you're a vegetarian or not."

But what then is the role of vitamin supplements?

One of the world's largest health consumers, it's easy to get lost in the over 85,000 varieties of vitamins and supplements available in Australia.

Sally Brooks is a senior pharmacist at Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Research Centre.

She explains that some supplements such as fish oil, ginger and green tea may cause more harm than good.

"There are concerns associated with taking some supplements or vitamins in patients over the age of fifty or any age who have cancer. Although many supplements or complementary medicines may be safe when they're taken by themselves, there are some which may interfere with conventional cancer treatments."

Checking with your doctor, pharmacist or nutritionist before taking on a new product is vital.

To avoid unnecessary health consequences, Dr Derek Muller encourages everyone to take a critical approach to vitamins and supplements.

"When you are trying to ask the question which pills should I be taking I would say, 'stop' and first ask yourself, 'What food should I be eating? What lifestyle changes can I be making to achieve this without adding something to my diet?"

Reports by Amy Chien Yu-Wang

For other Italian stories and articles, follow us on Facebook.

Italian

 

 

Quest'anno nel mondo si spenderanno oltre 100 miliardi di dollari per l'acquisto di vitamine e integratori alimentari, grazie ai quali le persone sperano di trovare una soluzione facile a problemi di salute.

La dietologa di Adelaide Anne Schneyder non è convinta che la maggior parte della gente abbia bisogno di assumere regolarmente vitamine sotto forma di integratori per stare bene.

 

“I think that you can obtain the vitamins and minerals that you require from food and good healthy eating. I think that a range of foods from all of the food groups is able to give you what you need without relying on supplements. There are probably a few people who have got particular medical problems or particular issues that might need a supplement but by and large the majority of us don't need to take anything extra.” 

 

Regole diverse potrebbero essere applicabili a persone anziane e a coloro che per via di problemi medici sono suscettibili a deficienze vitaminiche. La stessa Anne Schneyder assume regolarmente olio di pesce Omega-3 per via dell'artrite, ma cita anche altri esempi in cui un integratore può rivelarsi utile.

 

“So a person that might have medical problem - that means that they’re not eating a good range of foods. So, let’s say, for example, a person who is quite a bit older, their appetite might have decreased, they might be living alone, they might not be cooking meals for themselves adequately, then they might benefit from a multivitamin. Someone who’s a strict vegetarian might need a B12 supplement. A person that doesn't eat much red meat might need an iron supplement, but, by and large, we can get everything that we need from foods whether you’re a vegetarian or not.”  

 

Ma qual è il ruolo degli integratori vitaminici? L'Australia è tra i maggiori consumatori al mondo, ed è facile perdersi tra le oltre 85,000 tipologie di vitamine e integratori disponibili qui.

Sally Brooks, una farmacista al Peter MacCallum Cancer Research Centre, spiega che integratori come olio di pesce, zenzero e té verde possono rivelarsi più dannosi che benefici, in quanto talvolta inteferiscono per esempio con i farmaci convenzionali.

 

“There are concerns associated with taking some supplements or vitamins in patients over the age of fifty or any age who have cancer. Although many supplements or complementary medicines may be safe when they’re taken by themselves, there are some which may interfere with conventional cancer treatments.” 

 

A suo parere, consultarsi con il proprio dottore, farmacista o nutrizionista prima di assumere un nuovo prodotto è importantissimo.

Per evitare danni alla salute, il divulgatore scientifico, dottor Derek Muller, incoraggia tutti ad adottare un atteggiamento critico nei confronti dell'assunzione di integratori.

 

 

“When you are trying to ask the question which pills should I be taking I would say, ‘stop’ and first ask  yourself, ‘What food should I be eating? What lifestyle changes can I be making to achieve this without adding something to my diet?”

 

 

 


 

English

 

 

 

 

This year the world will be spending over a $100 billion on vitamins and supplements as people increasingly seek a quick fix in these nutrient-dense products.

 

Adelaide dietician Anne Schneyder is not convinced though that most people need a regular intake of vitamins from supplements.

 

 

 

 

“I think that you can obtain the vitamins and minerals that you require from food and good healthy eating. I think that a range of foods from all of the food groups is able to give you what you need without relying on supplements. There are probably a few people who have got particular medical problems or particular issues that might need a supplement but by and large the majority of us don't need to take anything extra.”

 

 

 

Different rules may apply to ageing people and those with medical issues who are more prone to a vitamin deficiency.

 

Anne Schneyder routinely takes Omega-3 fish oil to manage her arthritis.

 

 

 

 

“So a person that might have medical problem - that means that they’re not eating a good range of foods. So, let’s say, for example, a person who is quite a bit older, their appetite might have decreased, they might be living alone, they might not be cooking meals for themselves adequately, then they might benefit from a multivitamin. Someone who’s a strict vegetarian might need a B12 supplement. A person that doesn't eat much red meat might need an iron supplement, but, by and large, we can get everything that we need from foods whether you’re a vegetarian or not.” 

 

 

 

 

But what then is the role of vitamin supplements?

 

One of the world’s largest health consumers, it’s easy to get lost in the over 85,000 varieties of vitamins and supplements available in Australia.

 

 

Sally Brooks is a senior pharmacist at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Research Centre.

 

She explains that some supplements such as fish oil, ginger and green tea may cause more harm than good.  

 

 

 

 

“There are concerns associated with taking some supplements or vitamins in patients over the age of fifty or any age who have cancer. Although many supplements or complementary medicines may be safe when they’re taken by themselves, there are some which may interfere with conventional cancer treatments.”

 

 

 

 

Checking with your doctor, pharmacist or nutritionist before taking on a new product is vital.

 

To avoid unnecessary health consequences, Dr Derek Muller encourages everyone to take a critical approach to vitamins and supplements.

 

 

 

 

“When you are trying to ask the question which pills should I be taking I would say, ‘stop’ and first ask yourself, ‘What food should I be eating? What lifestyle changes can I be making to achieve this without adding something to my diet?”

 

 

Reports by Amy Chien Yu-Wang

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