The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements
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Nutrition experts state that we only need what's typically found in a routine diet.
Industry representatives argue that we need supplements as foods don't contain enough.
Yet, studies show that vitamin supplements increase the risk of cancer and heart diseases and shorten lives.
Linus Pauling is hailed as one of the greatest scientists ever. When Pauling was 65 years old, he mentioned at a talk how much pleasure he took in reading about scientific discoveries and hoped he could live another 25 years.
A biochemist, Irwin Stone, who had been at the talk, wrote to Pauling that if he took 3,000 milligrams of vitamins C, he would probably live more than another 25 years. Pauling followed Stone's advice and began to feel livelier and healthier.
In 1970, Pauling published Vitamin C and the Common Cold, urging people to take 3,000 milligrams of Vit C daily.
In 1942, a study concluded that there is no indication that vitamin C alone, an antihistamine alone, or vitamin C plus an antihistamine have any important effect on the duration or severity of infections of the upper respiratory tract.
Other studies followed and also concluded that vitamin C didn't prevent colds. At least 15 studies have now shown that vitamin C doesn't treat the common cold.
Other studies showed that the use of high-dose vitamin C doesn't treat cancer.
The most likely explanation of why studies show that supplemental antioxidants are harmful is that free radicals aren't as bad as people believe.
While free radicals can damage DNA and disrupt cell membranes, it's not always bad. Free radicals kill bacteria and new cancer cells. Large doses of antioxidants interfere with the balance between free radical production and destruction, causing the immune system to be less able to kill harmful invaders. This is known as "the antioxidant paradox."
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