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How safe are vitamin supplements and antioxidants?

Q: I want to know about calcium supplements. Mostly females after 40 to 45 years of age complain of joint pains and much is talked about osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Is it true that calcium after 40 is beneficial and prevents osteoarthritis or osteoporosis? It is said that females bones are brittle and fragile at this age and calcium helps in the process. The same thing with regard to Soy isoflavone as much publicity is given to this drug like estovon Menoease etc what is the fact? Antioxidants are another thing prescribed invariably along with the other medicines. It is also available OTC. Do antioxidants really help the middle aged people and make them energetic? Another one is methycobalmin Q-10 which is in limelight and much publicity is being given to it. I wish to clarify my doubts?

A:Most unfortunately, because of commercial interests and aggressive promotion, lots of benefits are attributed to tonics in India. In general, nutritional supplements are required only when there is proven deficiency; otherwise they are capable of causing harm. The development of Osteoporosis in females is a complex issue involving, age-related changes and hormones. Similarly osteoarthritis is a degenerative process complicated by obesity, lack of physical activity over preceding years. These issues and problems can not be resolved by just taking calcium supplements, which in excess, can cause renal stones. Except for lycopin (Trade name: LycoRed), other anti-oxidants are mainly of vitamin origin (such as vitamin E). Normal diet contains adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals and hence supplements are not required. Methylcobalamine is also a B-complex factor vitamin. Short supplements need not be taken routinely unless there is documented deficiency.

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