Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Most Daily Vitamins Are Worthless

Photo: The Washington Post
According to the latest medical research, most of the daily vitamins we take are useless; and certain common vitamin supplements are, in fact, harmful. That is surprising! I don't know about you, but I have taken a multivitamin since early childhood ... even by dropper before I could swallow pills. If there's no real benefit, that's a ton of money down the drain!

Business Insider wrote an article on vitamins -- listing ones to take, as well as, ones to skip, based on what science tells us to do. Let me sum up the recommendations for you:

Vitamins to take:

1) Vitamin D - It keeps our bones strong by helping us absorb calcium, but it's hard to get all our requirements from food alone. In the summer, we get vitamin D from being out in the sun. In the winter, not so much. The people who took Vitamin D supplements in a large 2011 medical study lived longer then those who didn't.

2) Zinc - It's the only supplement proven to shorten colds. The mineral seems to interfere with the reproduction of cold viruses.

3) Folic acid - Take folic acid if you are pregnant, or if you might get pregnant. Studies show it reduces birth defects of the fetus' brain, spine and spinal cord.

Vitamins to skip:

1) Multivitamins - You get everything you need in a balanced diet. Consuming an excess of vitamins like A, Bs and C can harm you. In the 2011 study, women who took multivitamins over a long period of time died sooner than the women who didn't take multivitamins! So at the very least, multivitamins didn't keep the study group healthy.

2) Antioxidants - Get your antioxidants from berries.๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ’ (Technically, a cherry is a drupe, due to the pit.) When taken in excess as supplements, vitamins A, C and E have been linked to an increase of certain cancers, especially among male smokers.

3) Vitamin C - Eat citrus fruit ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿ‹ instead of taking vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C has not been proven to shorten a cold, plus it raises the risk of painful kidney stones.

4) Probiotics - We can get probiotics from yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles and other fermented food at a fraction of the cost of probiotic pills. The science is lacking to support the benefit of taking a more expensive pill supplement.

5) Vitamin B3 - Better to get vitamin B3 by eating salmon, tuna and beets.๐ŸŸ The study subjects who took vitamin B3 pills developed infections, liver problems and internal bleeding.

6) Vitamin E - Get vitamin E from food like eggs ๐Ÿณ and spinach. Vitamin E supplements increased the risk of prostate cancer in men.

The bottom line is, Mother Nature rules, and many of us may want to change our thinking. It is always better to get vitamins by eating food. Food gives your body all the vitamins it needs in the right form and amount. Supplements just don't cut it. Science can't prove the benefit of taking many of them, so most likely, we are spending lots of money for nothing. Arrghh!

At no time, have I ever gone vitamin supplement overboard, but for years have taken a (drugstore brand) multivitamin pill. Alas, I'm already doomed!๐Ÿ™‚
Photo: Flickr/Michelle Dyer
Nonetheless, I do take the latest data seriously (before future studies change the advice again, bringing back the need to take multivitamins). Certainly for now, I will be vigilant about taking a vitamin D supplement ... and zinc, if I'm trying to ward off a cold. What will you do my smart, savvy readers?

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  1. Every now and then the medical profession tell us this. And yet.... I take Vitamin D for my calcium deficiency, and also a pro-biotic. I feel much better when I take it, and much worse when I don't. I am more a fruit and vegetable person than a multi-vitamin girl though. An interesting topic.

    1. Recently, I heard this advice on the nightly national news. I notice my doctor is just pushing vitamin D lately also. Sounds like you are following common sense, Trish. I think the argument against taking probiotic pills is just an economic one. Unlike some of the vitamins, people weren't hurt by taking probiotics in the large studies, they just didn't get any benefits that aren't available by eating and drinking fermented food -- which is pennies compared to about $1 per bill.

  2. I have been taking a calcium supplement w/Vitamin D for absorption, recommended by my gynecologist after my hysterectomy. Beyond that, every time I tried a supplement, it upset my stomach, so no vitamin supplements, but I eat a healthy, balanced diet. I happen to love all the healthy stuff (spinach, beets, veggies, fish, fruit).

    I'm absolutely wild about artichokes (globe) and have been since I was a child. They are so good for you and are a natural anti-inflammatory and diuretic.

    Great post, Debra.

    Cheers, M-T

    1. Marie-Thรฉrรจse, I'm with you. I also love most healthy foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables. I've only eaten artichokes a few times for some reason. I do like them! Tonight, I had cabbage with potatoes and carrots - delicious in a savory beef broth. I also threw in one plum tomato for good measure.

  3. I take VitaFusion hair, skin and nail gummies and they work!!! I also take Biotin so that my hair won't shed.

    1. Angie, I've never heard of them. See, I learn something every day. I thank you for sharing!