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What Is Vitamin Therapy?

Article Details
  • Written By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 21 May 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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In its broadest sense, vitamin therapy is any use of vitamins for medical or physiological purposes. To a certain extent, simply taking a multivitamin each day can be considered a vitamin therapy, as it involves intentionally ingesting vitamin compounds as a part of an overall wellness plan. Most of the time, however, the word “therapy” is only used to refer to a vitamin regimen that focuses on one specific element and its effects on a particular ailment or condition. Humans need a balance of vitamins and minerals to survive, but most vitamin therapy literature teaches that there are benefits to be had by taking extreme quantities of certain compounds.

Some doctors and natural medicine practitioners believe that a vitamin’s benefits can be enhanced through what is known as a megadose” — basically, doses that provide extreme amounts of a single compound at once. Megadoses are usually meant to be repeated for a set period of time. This sort of "enhanced benefit" therapy can involve supplements tat are swallowed, powder that is mixed into a drink, or concentrated injections performed by a physician.

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Vitamin therapy is sometimes also believed to cure or treat conditions that have nothing to do with the vitamin’s primary function. Both vitamins C and B have been prescribed as therapy for cancer, for instance, as well as for depression. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential for the synthesis of collagen, as well as for immune health. The B family of vitamins is key to ensuring proper metabolic function. Therapies with these compounds have been touted as being able to fix almost anything, from pain in childbirth to rheumatoid arthritis.

The medical efficacy of vitamin therapy treatments is widely debated within the medical community. Some people claim to have had diseases cured and pain all but disappear while using various vitamin therapies. Actual scientific evidence backing up these claims is scant, however. There are usually a lot more people who get no results than there are those who find success.

Megadosing can also pose serious risks, particularly if repeated over a long span of time. Governments and public health organizations in many parts of the world have published recommended dosage amounts for most of the more common vitamins and minerals. These recommendations, which are called either the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) or Recommended Nutritional Intake (RNI), represent the dosage which will meet basic nutritional needs without jeopardizing health.

What RDAs and RNIs have that most types of therapy do not is the backing of laboratory testing and scientific safety tests. It is hard to overdose on most vitamins, but it can happen. Most therapies involve dosages of upwards of ten times the recommended amount. This can lead to slow health degradations over time, as the body is forced to adapt.

To avoid health risks or complications, people are generally encouraged to meet with their primary care physicians before beginning any sort of vitamin therapy or homeopathic remedy. Discussing therapies with a medical professional can clarify the risks and possible outcomes. It can also help people come up with the therapy regimens most appropriate to their specific ailments or conditions.

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