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How Vitamins Went From Medical Marvel to Marketing Scam

The danger of taking too many vitamins

As applied to any other subject, when it comes to vitamins people should be careful too. Taking too much of a certain vitamin might lead to disequilibrium in your immune system and not only. 

So, better safe than sorry, make sure to check with a doctor before starting any diet based on vitamins.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How Vitamins Went From Medical Marvel to Marketing Scam

How Vitamins Went From Medical Marvel to Marketing Scam

https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/03/vitamins-careof-marketing-not-necessary-wellness-evidence.html

slate.com

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Key Ideas

The need to vitaminize

Nowadays, vitamins are often perceived as being essential to humans' daily diet. Therefore, there is a variety of regimens based on them and provided by numerous companies that promise to ensure an improved functioning of our organism.

The danger of taking too many vitamins

As applied to any other subject, when it comes to vitamins people should be careful too. Taking too much of a certain vitamin might lead to disequilibrium in your immune system and not only. 

So, better safe than sorry, make sure to check with a doctor before starting any diet based on vitamins.

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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Research Findings On Supplements
  • Pharmaceuticals undergo extensive testing to prove they're effective and safe before they can be sold, but dietary supplements can be sold without proof of claims, effectiveness or safety.
Supplements And Doctor Prescriptions

Because of the potential risks and unclear benefits of supplements, most doctors advise against them. However, doctors often recommend specific vitamin and mineral supplements to their patients, such as calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis and iron for people with iron deficiency.

When Buying Supplements
  • Consider only single-ingredient supplements. Multi-ingredient supplements make it hard to identify which substance is having an effect and they are more likely to be adulterated with banned drugs.
  • Tell your doctor about any supplement you take, so they can check it will interact with any of the medicines you're on.
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.
An old concept

Beauty supplements aren’t a new concept. We've been able to buy hair and nail formulas for decades at the drugstore.

The supplements, from vitamin ingredients like biotin, zinc, folic ac...

The beauty supplement market

Although beauty supplements were a small part of the beauty industry previously, they are now becoming increasingly popular. The global beauty supplement market is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $6.8 billion by the end of 2024.

A survey of buyers revealed that supplement brands, not skin care or makeup brands, are most likely to be picked up by retailers, as

beauty supplements have become hope in a bottle.

Marketing supplements

The concept may not be new, but the techniques used to market supplements are.

In 2013, companies realized they could make use of social media to promote their supplements as youthful and fun.

One of the attractive qualities for supplements is a strong engagement on social media, with packaging designed to be super-shareable.

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The Reality Behind Supplements

Studies demonstrate that multivitamins don't improve outcomes on a number of health measures, from staving off cognitive decline to preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer. The health b...

Beware Of Supplements’ Claims

In the US, supplements are regulated like food — and not drugs — under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, pill makers can basically put whatever claims they want on their bottles.

One analysis of supplement websites found 81 percent made at least one health claim — and more than half of those promised to treat, prevent, diagnose, or cure specific diseases. But a quick thought exercise will tell you that if these pills were truly panaceas, the FDA would have to treat them like drugs, not foods.

Resist The Urge For a Quick Fix

Back when undernutrition and vitamin deficiencies were widespread, supplements made some sense. But now one of the more urgent health problems is obesity and overnutrition while a growing body of studies shows that supplements’ effects are minimal or negative. 

Remember that you can’t know for sure what's really in your supplement bottle. And that the pills probably won't make you any healthier (unless you have a medically diagnosed deficiency). And they might even be hurting you.

Big business, little evidence
Big business, little evidence

More than 90,000 products generate about $30 billion every year in the United States. 

But even though supplements are popular, there is limited evidence that they offer any signi...

Supplements don't replace a healthy diet

Supplements are never a substitute for a balanced, healthful diet.

And they can be a distraction from healthy lifestyle practices that confer much greater benefits.

Dietary supplements

This is an umbrella term that includes everything from vitamins and minerals to botanicals and biosimilar products. 

For the most part, though, people use "supplement" to refer to an individual vitamin or mineral preparation or a multivitamin. 

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Over-The-Counter Pills
Over-The-Counter Pills

About 25 percent of adults above 50 years of age try to improve their brain health and memory by taking supplements.

These pills claim to enhance memory, attention and foc...

Powdered Nutrients: The Facts
  • Most pills are a combination of vitamins and minerals, along with omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Scientific studies show the natural forms (like fish in case of omega-3 fatty acids) contain the real benefits, and popping supplements do not have the same effect.
  • Vitamin E supplements can help to a limited extent but high doses can increase the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Vitamin B supplements are only to be used if one’s normal diet is not enough for them, or in case of a deficiency.
  • Taking time to do some exercise and having a plant-based diet is a better long term health solution.
Multivitamins

Several scientific reviews have shown daily multivitamins to have a weak effect on preventing heart attacks and improving cognition. Instead of taking one pill that can't possibly fit every person'...

Fish Oil

Often linked to good heart health, it’s been recently suggested by studies that those with the lowest levels of fish oil (specifically EPA and DHA) have the highest risk of heart disease. Research also suggests that it helps with brain development and also mental illnesses.

Given its safety, price, and potential benefits, the odds are that this is a product worth taking. Algae oil is a good vegetarian alternative for fish oil.

Vitamin D

Essential for bone and mineral metabolism, it has been found to affect other systems, including the cardiovascular, muscular, endocrine and nervous. But only for those with genuine deficiency, vitamin D supplementation have significant benefits.

A blood test will show your vitamin D levels, and from there you can make an informed decision. 

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Best foods don’t have labels
Best foods don’t have labels

Because they are just one ingredient: avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

There is no "best diet"

The “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. 

That can be with or without seafood; with or without dairy; with or without eggs; with or without some meat; high or low in total fat.

The "Age" of vegetables
The best vegetables are likely to be fresh and locally sourced, but flash frozen is nearly as good (as freezing delays aging). Those “fresh” vegetables that spend a long time in storage or transit are probably the least nutritious.

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Veganism

Veganism is one of the fastest-growing millennial trends. In the United States, it grew by 600% between 2014 and 2017.

Recent concern about the nutritional gaps in plant-based diets ha...

Testing the impact of the vegan diet

One study supplemented Kenyan schoolchildren with three different types of soup (meat, milk and oil) as a snack over seven school terms. 

The children who ate the soup containing meat each day had a significant edge: they outperformed all the other children on a test for non-verbal reasoning. The children who received meat soup or soup with added oil did the best on arithmetic ability.

Important brain nutrients

Several essential nutrients are not available from plants or fungi. Creatine, carnosine, taurine, EPA and DHA omega-3, haem iron and vitamins B12 and D3 generally only occur naturally in foods from animal products.

The nutrients found in vegan foods are minimal. To get the minimum amount of vitamin B6 each day from the richest plant sources, you'd have to eat about five cups worth of potatoes.

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