Measuring vitamin levels not urgent
“Assessing vitamins’ true effect on health” [News, May 1], for the most part, is well balanced, but I take issue with Tara Allen when she said, “Nearly everybody is vitamin] deficient or insufficient” and that they should undergo testing to determine their vitamin levels.
While vitamin supplementation can be helpful (in pregnancy and certain medical conditions), illness attributable to vitamin deficiency or insufficiency is not common in the developed world.
Measuring vitamin levels routinely is not recommended by any medical society because there is little evidence that vitamin deficiencies are common, but also because not a lot is known about the optimal level for many vitamins. Doing tests of unproven value also increases health care costs for everyone.
Vitamins are not an “insurance policy” against health problems. For the most part, we do not currently have evidence to support routine vitamin testing or supplementation for most Americans, so routine vitamin testing is not something people should seek.
Dr. Michael Melgar, Great Neck
After reading “Assessing vitamins’ true effect on health,” I think it’s important to clarify the difference between a nutritionist and a registered dietitian. Many people use the terms interchangeably, but there are important differences.
A registered dietitian has received a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university, has completed at least 900 supervised practice hours, has passed a national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration and completes continuing professional education requirements to maintain registration. A registered dietitian provides medical nutrition therapy (usually covered by insurance) for various health conditions.
On the other hand, the term “nutritionist” is not regulated. No formal education or credentialing is needed, and a person can start calling oneself a nutritionist after as little as a three-week program. The information provided is not eligible for coverage under health insurance. It can be dangerous to take nutrition advice from a nutritionist without credentials who may lack expertise and training.
It is important to make sure the person providing you with nutrition counseling is qualified to do so.
Melissa Flick, Farmingdale
The writer is a registered dietitian.
All vehicle lights aren't easy to repair
Many letter writers appear to believe that motorists are being given $250 to make repairs that they can perform themselves by buying a bulb for less than $5 [“Fixed light vouchers stir readers,” Letters, April 28]. The vouchers pay a mechanic for parts and labor up to $250 — the motorist receives no money. Anecdotes from readers who buy bulbs for $5 and install them themselves overlook the fact that not all cars use incandescent bulbs. Center high-mounted stop lights haven’t been reparable by a simple bulb replacement for more than a decade.
Also, many late-model cars integrate the light sources and the lenses into a single unit. They also don’t mention that faulty lights are a danger to all motorists, not just the operator with faulty lights. In a perfect world, all motorists would keep their cars in perfect running condition, but if vouchers reduce the number of unsafe cars, we are all safer.
Stanley Kalemaris, Melville
I thank Steven Castleton for his support of the fallen police and firefighters, veterans and the needy, and the Republican community [“Why I donated to the Light On! program,” Letters, May 1]. However, I am against this latest program of handing out $250 vouchers instead of summonses for nonworking vehicle lights.
If a summons is issued and the driver gets the repair done, get a signed form indicating that. The operator takes the form and summons to court, and the case is usually dismissed. The voucher does not make sense to this driver, who checks his vehicle lights and repairs them for $5 as needed.
Charles Gyss, Dix Hills
Kudos for Pelosi's remarks in Ukraine
I left the Democratic Party with the rise of left-leaning members of Congress and their supporters. I had been uncomfortable with the Democrats for years, as it appeared that people on the left destroyed independent thinking. I became an independent voter.
However, I must applaud the trip and remarks of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Ukraine [“Pelosi visits Kyiv, meets with Ukraine’s president,” News, May 2]. She displayed courage, values and independence of mind.
Steven Ross, Kew Gardens