Recent front page articles have appeared in the popular press, loaded with quotes from authorities, downgrading the importance of using multivitamins and other supplements for children, and people in general. One, “The ABC’s of Missing Vitamins,” on vitamins for children, was the lead article on the front page of the Personal Journal section of the May 4, 2010 Wall Street Journal.
I agree with the statements in the article that vitamins are no substitute for a healthy diet, and that healthy foods have a spectrum of nutrients that may be missed in isolated supplements.
Unfortunately, however, the authors and authorities seem to have either forgotten or do not know that our food has changed over the last several decades, and no longer contains the same nutrients it had before. For example the article stated the need for supplementing with Omega-3 fish oils has “often been overhyped”. By importing foods from warm weather climate, and hydrogenating oils, we have systematically reduced the amount of omega -3 fatty acids in our diet and in our bodies.
Cold water fish used to contain omega-3 oils because they ate the omega-3 rich krill found in cold ocean waters. By feeding farmed fish grain instead, we have reduced the levels of these anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids in what used to be the best sources of this vital nutrient.
As a result, measurements of the ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in people today have dropped dramatically. Could it be that parents feeding their children fish oil are more up on the practical science involved than the author of these articles?
To your health,
Dr. Alan M. Dattner
New York, New York
As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.