February 17, 2011

What Vitamins & Medications Do You Unknowingly Take?




     About two out of five adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness because of too much fluoride, a surprising government study found recently. In some extreme cases, teeth can even be pitted by the mineral — though many cases are so mild that only dentists notice it…(the condition) fluorosis—is unexpectedly common in children twelve to fifteen years old. And it appears to have become much more common since the 1980s… The problem is generally considered cosmetic.*

     Only cosmetic? The article later points out that A scientific report five years ago said people who consume a lifetime of too much fluoride — an amount over EPA’s limit of 4 milligrams — can develop crippling bone abnormalities and brittleness.

     Although I don’t take fluoride supplements, as many people do—nor do I use store-bought toothpaste , as most people do, I’ve often wondered just how much fluoride has been added to my diet through the use of store-bought foods. I also wonder how much unknown vitamins, minerals and medications I’m taking simply by eating these store-bought foods and drinking from the community water supply.  

     Peruse the labels of items you purchase from the grocery shelves and you will notice how many items are fortified with vitamins—from cereal to canned goods to dairy products. Water supplies used to prepare these foods are often fluoridated. We not only eat these products, we drink and cook with our community water supplies, which more likely than not are supplemented with fluoride.


     Vitamin and mineral fortification is supposed to be a positive thing—isn’t that why the container design fonts yell out to customers “BUY ME because I’m fortified?” But is it positive if you have no idea what amount of these additives you and/or your child is ingesting? In the case of fluoride, children are over-vitaminized. What other oversupply of vitamins/minerals are they being exposed to? And what are the long-term effects of this overexposure?


     Drinking from the community water supply poses another dilemma. Excess vitamins, minerals, and medications are excreted in urine, and flushed down the toilet into the community water supply. Furthermore, community members have been told to flush excess medications down their toilets. Water plants do not remove these things from the water supply.


     Another dilemma. Hormones added to food for farm animals, to hasten their growth, is ingested by non-vegetarians—which is most of the population, from infancy to elderly. It’s been noted that girls are maturing earlier these days than they did even two generations ago. What long-term effects will these hormones have on our population?


     Ingesting unknown vitamins, minerals, and medications can pose unknown risks to our population. Do they contribute to some of the problems our society is experiencing—a dramatic increase in autism, for example? I wonder.

     Supplementing our diets with vitamins and minerals we don’t consume in our normal eating is definitely a positive thing. Overdosing is not.

     The cumulative effects of all these unknown and unidentified overdoses raises a concern our society should confront. But will it? Are we and our children considered sufficiently valuable that this issue will be examined, and necessary changes will be made?

     I hope so.





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