Canadians happy to take their vitamins
Millions of Canadians take vitamins to improve their health. So many, in fact, that the Vancouver Sun reports medical students are studying vitamins and other so-called alternative therapies in order to better know what to expect from their patients.
"All medical schools recognize that a big proportion of our patients - a third to one-half - are using complementary and alternative therapies outside the mainstream of medicine," says Dr David Rayner, associate dean of undergraduate medical education at the University of Alberta. "There's no way we're going to change that, so we have to take the standpoint that students have to know about complementary therapies and they have to know something about the interface between regular biomedical theory and the complementary and alternative approaches."
How effective vitamins are remains open for debate. In the 1990's, vitamin E
was touted as nothing short of a wonder drug, but enthusiasm for it has ebbed to more reasonable levels. The current hot vitamin is vitamin D
, which has been linked to mental health, cardiovascular health, and cancer prevention.
Health Canada warns people to be prudent, as with all health products, saying, "When used appropriately, Natural Health Products can be an integral part of an individual's health management."