David Hilden, M.D., is an internist at Hennepin County Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota medical school. He also hosts Healthy Matters, a talk-radio program on WCCO and WLTE. Here, he explains vitamins.
I encourage people to eat better before they take a multivitamin. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. Stay away from canned, frozen, and boxed foods.
Vitamins are not as proven as other avenues of preventive care. It’s a reasonable addition, if you are doing things that are helpful: Don’t smoke; exercise; alcohol in moderation. Control blood pressure and cholesterol. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how many vitamins you take.
Some vitamins are stored in fat and some are stored in water. Vitamins stored in fat—A, D, E, and K—store up, and if you’re deficient, it could help to take them.
Your body doesn’t store Vitamin C and B vitamins– you urinate the excess. It doesn’t make sense to take them.
But I admit I have taken Vitamin C when I felt a cold coming on. No downside, but cost. But if we had a cure for the common cold, we would know about it.
There have been so many Vitamin D studies. There could be benefits in a variety of areas, but none are conclusively proven. These studies need more studies; they’re just suggestions.
Vitamin D does improve osteoporosis in women.
Most people run low on Vitamin D in this part of the country. We get it from sunlight—it’s one of the only vitamins manufactured in your body. You need 30 minutes a week in sunlight without sunscreen. If you drink milk regularly that will probably cover your need.
Hear more from Hilden on Healthy Matters, airing Sundays at 7:30 a.m. on WCCO and WLTE. Podcasts are available at hcmc.com