Vitamins might prove powerful weapons against invading flu bugs or provide great enrichment for bones, but don't look to them for weight loss, a CSU dietician said.
"A lot of times within strongly organic stores or nutrition supplement stores there are a lot of vitamins that claim that it'll speed up your metabolism," said registered dietician Kyle Burger. "There really isn't anything proven as far as that goes."
Although the flu season has so far been mild, the bug is about to hit its prime. For that, Burger recommended a cocktail of vitamins – most easily found in standard multi-vitamins commonly sold in grocery stores for about $10 a bottle.
"It's especially important this time of year to ensure you have adequate vitamins," Burger said, "because if you're a little bit deficient it'll make you a little immune compromised, where you might be more apt to get the flu or catch a cold or just not feel as well."
Signs of vitamin deficiency are dry, stringy hair and unhealthy nail beds. The body is also not as efficient in protecting itself against diseases, repairing itself or growing. A multi-vitamin could help a person suffering a deficiency feel more energized, sleep better and protect against diseases, he said.
He also stressed that taking 100 percent of the daily allowance of any vitamin accomplishes the task and that excess vitamins will do nothing more for the body.
Burger also advises college-aged females to take calcium and Vitamin D supplements on top of the daily multi-vitamin to ensure adequate bone mass. Vitamin D helps the bones absorb calcium. Bones stop building in density around age 30 and start losing mass later in life, so calcium in the early 20s helps bones reach their peak mass.
Strict vegans or people who do not intake many animal products also have specific vitamin needs, such as Vitamin B-12.
Krissy Chavez is a vegetarian who took vitamins for three months so she could donate blood. When she went the first time, she wasn't allowed – she found out she was anemic, she said.
"I had more energy," she said. "(The vitamins) helped. … They let me give blood after that."
She stopped because she ran out and has yet to buy more. But there are other benefits to using vitamins, especially for travelers combating jet lag, she said.
"It keeps your body clock going," she said. "That's what my mom told me. She's a nurse, so she knows what she's talking about."