Nursing Research Paper Sample on Vitamins and Supplementary Medicines

Vitamins and Supplementary Medicines

Current situation

            A vast majority of people living in today’s society are well acknowledged of the availability of a wide array of different Vitamins and supplementary medicines. Many have further included them in their daily nutritional diet due to the very fact that they are of more benefit to the body and would probably lead to impressive and miraculous effects to the body.  A few people have only come to know the key importance of taking vitamins and supplementary medicines only after health circumstances and the advice of the erudite medical practitioners that deem them to  include the vitamins or the supplementary medicines in their nutritional diet.          While a few have been directed by the medical practitioners, many have been made aware of the use of the vitamins or dietary supplements through word of mouth from allies, family, relatives, pear groups among other people. Many would be dumb folded when told to explain the real reason as to why they are taking the vitamins and supplementary medicines in the first place. As much as the vitamins and supplementary medicines are known for their vast benefits, there is an impending problem that has been caused by overusing the said vitamins and supplementary medicines. The term ‘vitamins’ has been defined as substances that are necessary in sustaining one’s nutrition and health(Combs, 2008).  They are exclusively obtained from foods and then made vitamin doses due to the primary fact that they are never made in the body. Their use has been known to affect one’s health as lack of its uptake may lead to incomplete metabolisms, fatigue, health problems which in severe cases may lead to deficiency diseases. On the other hand, supplements are known to provide the body with essential minerals that work efficiently for body maintenance and regulatory function. Supplements are described and elucidated as any pill, capsule, tablet, liquid or powder that contains vitamins, minerals, herbs or amino acids that are intended to increase the dietary intake of the said substances (Whitney & Rofles, 2008). Both vitamins and mineral supplements are known to provide the body with macronutrients since they are only required in trace amounts. The most important group of supplements is  known to be the vitamin mineral combinations.  Examples of these supplements include multivitamins, Vitamin C, vitamin E, B complex, calcium and magnesium (Reavley, 1998). However, as much as the use of vitamins and mineral supplements provide its victims with a myriad of health benefits, they may lead to other illnesses when taken in exaggerated amounts. According to research, excess uptake of vitamins and minerals are known to have an adverse effect on the person’s health as they are highly related to some of the fatally known chronic illnesses. Amid the current population who are more on gambling for the effects of these supplements and vitamins, many have ended up suffering from chronic illnesses. It is with this profound reason that I did this project so as to convey the information related to the importance of taking vitamins and mineral supplements in small dosage as prescribed by the erudite medical practitioners.

Evidence to support the problem

            Today, a larger percentage of the world’s population is taking vitamins and mineral supplements with intent of enhancing their health instead of their original use that is to prevent the common deficiencies. Research studies that have been carried out indicate that almost one third of the United States’ population is under vitamins and mineral supplements (Kava & America, 2000). In fact, many are unaware of the specific use of the vitamins and mineral supplements as a vast had not been prescribed by the available medical practitioners. Large intake of vitamins and supplements are not only very expensive but can pose as a health hazard to the victim’s body. For the most part, people have been known to self-prescribe their own supplements and vitamins after taking advice from friends, advertisements, websites or books that may have otherwise provided them with vague or incorrect information. Certain vitamins such as Vitamin A are known to be dangerous when taken in high doses. While an overdose of some vitamins has mild side effects, other vitamins and mineral supplements have more severe side effects when they are taken in large amounts. Some of the immediate symptoms resulting from an overdose of vitamins and mineral supplements include difficulty in breathing, oedema which is the swelling of the face, lips and tongue and urticarial rashes among many other mild symptoms. Fat soluble vitamins are known to stay in the body for a prolonged period of time as compared to the water soluble vitamins when they are taken in large amounts (Tenus & Broiher, 2001). For instance, Vitamin A and Vitamin D when taken in excess amounts end up having toxic health effects on the victims. Temporary or permanent damage may also be caused by overdosing on different types of vitamin B. Also, when some of the mineral supplements are taken in high dosage, there is a large likelihood of them leading to the deficiency of other different types of minerals that are needed by the body. For instance, excessive intake of zinc supplement can result in iron and copper loses; thus if the daily zinc intake is doubled from 20 mg to 40 mg, then the daily iron intake ought to be also doubled from 15 mg to 20 mg so as to maintain the ratio (Reavley, 1998).. Mineral supplements are known to contain active ingredients that have strong effects in the body. Thus, over intake of the mineral supplements may cause undesirable severe effects such as cancer (Groot et al, 2009).

Expert support

            Vitamins and mineral supplements are regarded as a relatively inexpensive form of nutritional assurance. In many cases, nutrient needs are known to increase during certain stages of life. For instance, women who lose a lot of blood during their menstrual period require a lot of iron in form of iron supplement so as to prevent cases of anemia (Groot et al., 2009). Girls of child bearing age also require foliate supplements so as to reduce the risks of neural tube effects (Combs, 2008). Newborns are routinely given a single dose of vitamin K at birth so as to prevent abnormal bleeding. The elderly who are more so regarded as belonging to the group of immunocompromised people require the vitamins and mineral supplements. This is more so because of the fact that they are unable to feed on all foods that are part of a complete nutritional diet. They thus become more susceptible to different types of life threatening diseases that are currently leading as the cause of high rates of elderly mortality. It is with this profound reason that the elderly need to take the vitamins and mineral supplements as part and parcel of their normal diet so as to boost their health from the common deficiencies. Besides this, the older group of people has a higher likelihood of having less appetite with loss of smell and taste together with the denture problems that makes them to be best suited as people who need to include vitamins and mineral supplements in their diets. Due to their reduced absorption and metabolism of the digested food, they are most often prescribed to vitamin and mineral supplements such as vitamin D, vitamin B and vitamin B 12 (Groot et al., 2009). Victims who are strictly vegetarians may only obtain vitamin B12 through supplements since vegetarians are not able to access vitamin B12 that is usually found in meat and dairy products (Reavley, 1998)These are just but some of the common reasons as to why vitamins and mineral diets are essential as part of the normal nutritional dietary.

            However, before the medical practitioners prescribe one to take the vitamins or the mineral supplements, one has to be thoroughly medically accessed.  The medical tests are usually done in a bid to access the vitamin and mineral status of the victim. This is due to the fact that a detailed medical history and physical examination makes it possible for the medical practitioner to clinically detect the vitamin and mineral deficiencies that are in more advanced stage (Reavley, 1998). Physical examination and laboratory tests of samples such as blood, tissues and urine aid in the detection of mineral or vitamin deficiencies in a person. Due to this reason, the medical practitioner becomes equipped with the real facts concerning their patient’s vitamin and mineral status. The medical practitioners thereby becomes more enlightened and equipped with the required knowledge that he later uses to prescribe the correct and most efficient vitamin and mineral supplements to their victims.

            In the quest of promoting and boosting one’s health, the experts involved in the manufacturing of the vitamins and mineral supplements have clearly written out the required dosage to be partaken by the victims. This is usually present on the label that is present on the supplement labels. Hence, if one strictly adheres to the required dosage of vitamins and mineral supplements, he or she would not have any problems that are associated with the excess uptake of the vitamin and mineral uptake.

Research support

            According to several research done in concern with the negative effects and consequences of taking up excess vitamins and mineral supplements, the following was found out;

            Vitamin A is one of the most essential vitamins that functions to stimulate proper growth and development of the body. Having been the first vitamin to be discovered, vitamin A is widely known for its purpose of maintaining the normal eye vision. Vitamin A is mainly involved in the production of a chemical known as visual purple that aids in improving eye vision even in areas with little light (In Eldemann et al., 2014). Vitamin A is also required for the growth and repair of teeth, collagen, cartilage and bones. Besides this, vitamin A greatly assists in the process of cell differentiation in which unspecialized cells are modified to perform specific body functions. Aside from the plethora of health and body benefits that Vitamin A offers, it may also pose a serious adverse  health issue if the vitamin A supplements are taken in excess dosage. According to researchers, over intake of vitamin A is likely to lead to several adverse conditions because they are fat-soluble and can be stored for longer periods of time in the liver. Damage to the liver is thus the most severe effect resulting to over dosage of the Vitamin A supplement. Besides this, the mild consequences of taking too much Vitamin A supplements include fatigue, emotional instability, vomiting, weight loss, anorexia and increased poor appetite.

            Vitamin C supplement is usually taken to avoid cases of scurvy disease. Daily dose of vitamin C is normally taken in a range between 600 – 800mg for approximately one and a half weeks (Nevarra, 2004). Due to the current availability of flavored doses of vitamin C supplements, many end up abusing the supplement by taking the supplement in excess amounts. According to the medical research that had been carried out in the previous years, it was found that the excess uptake of vitamin C may lead to the formation of renal stones or kidney stones. Dehydration may also be a resultant effect of excess intake of vitamin C. This is because the excess vitamin C acidifies the body fluid leading to metabolic acidosis (Tenus & Broiher, 2001).

            Over dosage of iron in form of iron supplements may also have its own adverse effects to the health of the victim. This is because iron is a micronutrient that is required in the body in limited amounts and may become toxic to the body when it is taken in excess amounts. Excess uptake of iron supplements is known top lead to cases of iron poisoning in the body whilst also being responsible for the fibrotic situation of the liver that is scientifically known as Hemochromatosis (Nevarra, 2004). Besides this, adverse effects such as liver cirrhosis, cancer and kidney stone may later occur as a result of  excessive intake of iron supplements. On the other hand, excessive intake of potassium supplements may result to a severe condition that is commonly known as Hyperkalemia. This is a condition that may lead to heart block and ultimately heart attack that may later on lead to the death of the person. Over dosage of calcium supplements was also found to lead to formation of gall stones or kidney stones. According to In Eldemann, 2014, the early side effect of taking excess calcium supplements may be abdominal cramps, constipation and cardiac problems. Excess dosage of magnesium is also known to lead to symptoms such as diarrhea.

Description of the project

Possible options to solve the problem

             In order to control the cases of health hazards that usually arise from excessive intake of vitamins and mineral uptake, people need to only seek prescriptions from the various professional medical practitioners. This is because, a vast number of victims seek information from the websites, magazines, friends and family who have little knowledge and information regarding the different types of vitamins and their required dosage. The importance of the medical practitioners is that they are able to test for the vitamins and minerals that are deficient in the victim’s body. This involves the medical practitioner who carries out the necessary physical examination tests that would act as a foundation in determining which type of vitamin or minerals that the patient is lacking. Further tests that are usually done are the laboratory tests that involve the blood, urine or tissue samples from the patients. The laboratory tests are more efficient as they are able to give out precise results on what vitamins and minerals are truly missing in the patient’s body.

            Another factor that is of importance when it comes to the possible way of controlling over dosage of vitamins and mineral supplements involves the patient’s effort in reading the instructions written on the cover of the bottle containing the supplements. Reading of instructions is one way that can significantly help the patient in the avoidance of taking excess supplements. The instructions are always clear and precise thereby only requiring the patient’s attention, keenness and adherence to the medical instructions.  People are also advised to purchase the vitamins and mineral supplements from licensed pharmaceuticals, chemists and medical institutions. Though this, the medical professionals serving in such areas will be able to equip the victim with the necessary vital knowledge on when to take the supplements and the exact dosage that is required for the victim to take. This will curb such cases of excessive intake of the vitamin and mineral supplement.

            Another possible way is by creation of awareness programs. These awareness programs assist in providing people from all walks of life with the necessary knowledge concerning the use of the vitamins and mineral supplements together with their implications on one’s general health. Through this, the victims are taught on the benefits with regard to the use of the vitamin and mineral supplements. Besides this, people are also taught on some of the valuable factors that they ought to consider before acquiring the supplements. In addition, people are also made aware on some of the adverse consequences that result to the over intake of the vitamins and mineral supplements.

Proposed solution

            Creation of awareness will truly help in decreasing the current high rate of people suffering from illnesses related to excessive uptake of some of the vitamins and mineral uptake. Through this, a vast majority of people will be equipped with the necessary knowledge in regard to the do’s and don’ts concerning the vitamins and mineral supplements. A vast majority will thereby be more aware of the benefits and side effects of taking the vitamins and mineral supplement and would thus be able to make sound decisions in regard to this matter.

Description of solution

            Creation of the awareness programs requires people who are well versed and have a good knowledge foundation on the benefits and effects of vitamins and mineral supplements. Carrying out advertisements on social medias, television programs and through radio is significant in passing the necessary information to the vast population. Road trip and door to door activity will help in properly conveying the necessary information to people on a face to face basis. All these practices requires enough funds so that the awareness program may ultimately become a success in its objective of making people understand more on the various vitamins and mineral supplements.


Combs, G. F. (2008). The vitamins: Fundamental aspects in nutrition and health. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.

Groot, L. C. P. G. M., Staveren, W. A., & Raats, M. (2009). Food for the ageing population. Cambridge, England: Woodhead Publishing.

In Edelman, C., In Mandle, C. L., & In Kudzma, E. C. (2014). Health promotion throughout the life span.

Kava, R., & American, C. S. H. (2000). Vitamins and minerals: Does the epidemiologic evidence justify general supplementation?. New York: American Council on Science and Health.

Navarra, T. (2004). The encyclopedia of vitamins, minerals, and supplements. New York: Facts On File, Inc.

Reavley, N. (1998). The new encyclopedia of vitamins, minerals, supplements & herbs. New York: M. Evans.

Ternus, M., & Broihier, K. (2001). The Everything vitamins, minerals, and nutritional supplements book /: All the information you need to make the right choices for your health. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media.

Whitney, E. N., & Rolfes, S. R. (2008). Understanding nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.