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Why vitamin pills don't work, and may be bad for you

Not a miracle cure

The idea that antioxidant supplementation is a miracle cure is entirely redundant. 

For instance, excess Vitamin C can become, in itself, a free radical by accepting an electron and in turn, damage cell membranes, proteins, and DNA.

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Why vitamin pills don't work, and may be bad for you

Why vitamin pills don't work, and may be bad for you

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20161208-why-vitamin-supplements-could-kill-you

bbc.com

6

Key Ideas

Vitamins and free radicals

In the 90s, vitamins were touted as treatments for cardiovascular diseases, cataracts, and even cancer. Sales in multivitamins and other dietary supplements boomed.

But over the years, vitamin C, and many other dietary supplements, have found little backing from scientific study. In fact, they were proven to be more harming rather than helping our bodies.

Added antioxidants

In the 1970s and into the 80s, research was done where mice were given a variety of supplementary antioxidants in their diet or via an injection straight into the bloodstream.

The result showed that an excess of antioxidants didn't stop the onset of disease or extended lifespan.

Antioxidant supplementation

  • In 1994, one trial followed the lives of 29,133 Finish people in their 50s who all smoked. Some were given beta-carotene supplements. The group that supplemented with Beta-carotene had a 16% increase in lung cancer.
  • Another study shows a breast cancer increase of 20% for postmenopausal women who supplemented with folic acid.
  • One study with 100 heavy smokers had a 28% increase in lung cancer after just four years of beta-carotene and vitamin A supplementation.

Not a miracle cure

The idea that antioxidant supplementation is a miracle cure is entirely redundant. 

For instance, excess Vitamin C can become, in itself, a free radical by accepting an electron and in turn, damage cell membranes, proteins, and DNA.

The work of free-radicals

Free radicals are essential for our health. They are used as molecular messengers that send signals from one region of the cell to another. Without free radicals, cells would continue to grow and divide uncontrollably, also known as cancer.

Free radicals also increase when our bodies are infected with an unwanted bacterium or virus. Free radicals act as a warning method to our immune system.

Vitamin supplementation

Administration of antioxidants is only justified when it is evident that there is a real deficiency of a specific antioxidant.

It is far better to get antioxidants from food because it contains a mixture of antioxidants that work together. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides a healthy balance of pro-oxidants and other compounds whose roles aren't fully understood.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Individual Supplement Studies

Looking at individual studies won't determine if vitamin supplementation is good for you. They're scientifically dense and the conflicts of interest can be very hard to spot.

"Systematic revi...

Research Reviews’ Results
  • If you are healthy, and have a modern balanced diet, taking multi-vitamins and high-dose antioxidants may shorten your life.
  • There’s no evidence to support antioxidant supplements for primary or secondary prevention of diseases.
  • Beta-carotene and vitamin E seem to increase mortality, and so may higher doses of vitamin A.
  • Antioxidant supplements need to be considered as medicinal products and should undergo sufficient evaluation before marketing.
  • The functions of minerals and vitamins are understood largely by their deficiency diseases so there’s no certainty what they all do or how they interact.
  • Antioxidants soak up toxic, chemically-reactive by-products of metabolism called free radicals. These free radicals, left unchecked, can cause damage to DNA and may be linked to cancer.
  • Your body's immune system fights infections by using free radicals to kill bugs. Several of the minerals and vitamins in excess can cause damage.
Supplement Usage Recommendations
  • Folic acid for the women thinking of having a baby and pregnant women up to week 12 of the pregnancy.
  • Vitamin D for all pregnant and breastfeeding women, those aged six months to five years or over 65 and for people who are not exposed to much sun.
  • Vitamins A, C and D supplementation are recommended for all children aged six months to four years, especially those not eating a varied diet.
  • If they are prescribed to you for a medical condition.

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False Remedies
False Remedies

Much like a hundred years ago when Spanish Flu killed millions, questionable medicinal concoctions and folk remedies have surfaced across the world, claiming to boost the immune system.

S...

Immunity-Boosting Is A Myth

Pills, superfoods, and other wellness habits do not boost our immunity as the 'symptoms' which we get when infected are in fact measures taken by our immune system to respond to the foreign pathogen.

Many allergies that people have are a misguided response from the immune system that treat harmless foreign bodies as harmful pathogens.

The Symptomatic Treatment

While over-the-counter medicines provide us with a so-called ‘relief’ by suppressing our fever, runny nose and other ‘symptoms’, these are in fact necessary for the body to get well. The symptoms we want to be stopped are not our enemy:

  • The mucus is helping flush out the pathogen.
  • The fever(heat) makes the body impalpable for it to survive and replicate.
  • The body pain is actually the inflammatory chemicals in your veins, guiding the immune cells like an air traffic controller.
  • The brain is provided with a signal to slow down and let the body recover.

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Results On Multivitamins
  • In studies testing the four common supplements of multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and vitamin C, there was no reduction in the incidence of heart disease, stroke or premature death.
  • ...
Multivitamins Research Review
  • There’s some evidence for taking folic acid for the prevention of heart disease and stroke, and also for taking B-complex vitamins that include folic acid for stroke.
  • As there was no reduction in early death from taking supplements, it does not work against poor dietary habits.
  • Taking supplements is very different from eating whole foods. The latter rarely causes complications and the former may lead to the consumer missing out on healthy phytonutrients found in the former.