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Unread 07-22-2013, 04:46 PM   #1
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Vitamin Supplements: More Harm Than Good?

I was reading this article today:
The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements - Paul Offit - The Atlantic

And it made a lot of sense to me when I compared it to what I know now about health, especially spending time now to formulate my thought and opinions on what I will recommend my patients in the future. Mainly, it does seem like vitamin supplements absolutely are being oversold and overdosed to millions and millions of Americans. While this seems justified in the case of a specific vitamin deficiency or potential deficiency (for example, folic acid for pregnant women, all for that one), the "daily multivitamin [for no reason]" doesn't seem like it should be very effective.

But was surprising to me was the new studies that show that they might even significantly increase the chances of developing cancers.

In 2005, researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine evaluated nineteen studies involving more than 136,000 people and found an increased risk of death associated with supplemental vitamin E. Dr. Benjamin Caballero, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said, "This reaffirms what others have said. The evidence for supplementing with any vitamin, particularly vitamin E, is just not there. This idea that people have that [vitamins] will not hurt them may not be that simple." That same year, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association evaluated more than 9,000 people who took high-dose vitamin E to prevent cancer; those who took vitamin E were more likely to develop heart failure than those who didn't.

In 2007, researchers from the National Cancer Institute examined 11,000 men who did or didn't take multivitamins. Those who took multivitamins were twice as likely to die from advanced prostate cancer.

In 2008, a review of all existing studies involving more than 230,000 people who did or did not receive supplemental antioxidants found that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disease.

On October 10, 2011, researchers from the University of Minnesota evaluated 39,000 older women and found that those who took supplemental multivitamins, magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron died at rates higher than those who didn't. They concluded, "Based on existing evidence, we see little justification for the general and widespread use of dietary supplements."

Two days later, on October 12, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic published the results of a study of 36,000 men who took vitamin E, selenium, both, or neither. They found that those receiving vitamin E had a 17 percent greater risk of prostate cancer. In response to the study, Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, said, "The concept of multivitamins was sold to Americans by an eager nutraceutical industry to generate profits. There was never any scientific data supporting their usage." On October 25, a headline in the Wall Street Journal asked, "Is This the End of Popping Vitamins?" Studies haven't hurt sales. In 2010, the vitamin industry grossed $28 billion, up 4.4 percent from the year before. "The thing to do with [these reports] is just ride them out," said Joseph Fortunato, chief executive of General Nutrition Centers. "We see no impact on our business."
Thoughts? Does anyone have a clear opinion about vitamin supplements?

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Unread 03-01-2014, 01:29 PM   #2
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A supplement taken or given to address a defined health issue is still a good idea because I know from my own experience they work when a high quality supplement is used. A Doctor of Naturapath would well qualified to answer your questions. Doctors of medicine are too much condition to dismiss the role of things like diet and run to prescribing a drug. There are blood test that can be used as tool to aid in the recommendation to take a supplement or not.

As far as these studies do they for take into account that very healthy people very seldom even think about supplement?
That those who have health issues more often reach for a supplement. So I don't pay a lot of attention to these studies. Sometimes I think they are paid for by the big prescription drug companies because there is more profit in prescription drugs than off the shelf vitamins.

Number one people need to change their diets away from so much carbs and into more fruit and vegetables. Meat is not the problem. Fat is not the problem especially the right types like olive and fish oils. Simple carbs are bad especially for the less active.

Then when the diet change still leave a health problem a supplement can be taken for that issue. Multiple Vitamins are like a low quality shotgun approach when a pinpoint is needed.
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