The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements - Deepstash
The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements

The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements

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The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements

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Vitamins cause damage

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.

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The man who won two Nobel Prizes but was spectacularly wrong

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.

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Studies on Vitamin C

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.

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Studies on Vitamin E and beta-carotene

  • In 1994, researchers found that subjects that took vitamin E and beta-carotene were more likely to die from lung cancer or heart disease.
  • A 1996 study found that vitamin A and beta-carotene increased the risk of dying from cancer and heart disease.
  • A 2004 study found that vitamin A, C, E, and beta-carotene seemed to increase overall mortality.
  • Several other studies came to the same conclusion.

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Why studies show supplemental antioxidants are harmful

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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