Vitamins are organic chemicals that are required for metabolic activities necessary for tissue growth and healing. Under normal conditions, only a small amount of vitamins—which are provided by eating a well balanced diet—are necessary.

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However, larger amounts of vitamins should be taken if the patient is pregnant, undergoing rapid growth or has a debilitating illness.

Likewise, patients who do not have a well-balanced diet (such as the elderly, alcoholics, children, and those who go on fad diets) might also develop a vitamin deficiency. That would require the patient to take vitamin supplements to assure there are sufficient vitamins to support his or her metabolism.

Expect to provide vitamin supplements for patients who have:

• Conditions that inhibit absorption of food.

• Infection and fever.

• Inflammatory diseases.

• Inability to use vitamins.

• Undergoing hemodialysis.

• Hyperthyroidism.

• Growing children.

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