Vitamins and Supplements May Not be as ‘Healthy’ as You Think

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    Dec 20, 2013 9:21 PM GMT
    A vitamin a day… does not keep the doctor away.

    In 2011, Americans spent nearly $30 billion on vitamins and supplements. This isn’t surprising since for decades, vitamins were promoted as part of a healthy regimen. But now a dissenting opinion has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

    “Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided,” said the authors of the editorial, who included researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a British researcher, and one of the journal’s senior editors.

    Researchers also caution that taking supplements can be harmful due to their high dosage amount, particularly high doses of beta carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin A may increase chances of death.

    Well, which supplements are effective? The recommendation of folic acid for childbearing and pregnant women still stands, and more research is needed on vitamin D. But everything else, according to Dr. Cynthia Mulrow, senior deputy editor of the journal and one of the authors, “We have so much information from so many studies. We don’t need a lot more evidence to put this to bed.”

    Case closed.

    Or is it?

    The Council for Responsible Nutrition says supplements are still an option for those who do not get enough nutrition from food. According to its website, Steve Mister, president and CEO of the trade organization, says of supplements, “They have proven to be safe, and now there is the potential of additional benefits, one of the studies actually show benefit for reducing the risk of cancer and cataracts. Why wouldn’t you take a multivitamin?”

    The Council for Responsible Nutrition was founded in 1973 and is based in Washington, D.C. It is the leading trade association representing dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers, according to its website.

    http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/12/20/vitamin-supplements-may-healthy-think/
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    Dec 21, 2013 7:48 AM GMT
    When mom's ability to function started becoming impaired by Alzheimer's the big thing then was basically overdosing with Vit E. Mom was always into the science of the day and followed the directives of the latest "knowledge". Only years later, the next set of studies came out. So we didn't find out until after much deterioration that over dosing Vit E might have exacerbated the conditions of her Alzheimer's. Damn it.

    So I'm I bit nervous when it comes to this stuff. Being mostly vegetarian, I do supplement minimally with a multi, some extra B's, as a B deficiency can be bad for the brain, and B's are water soluble so if I understand it right, what the body doesn't use it basically just pisses out like C's though I'm not sure if that's correct.

    I do Omega-3 because I only eat fish a few times a year. And then I do another one for the brain which mom did not use (aside also from coffee which neither mom nor her dad drank and AD comes down that one line in my family). That one is Alpha Lipoic Acid. Not sure now where I heard about it originally but I have confirmed their use with some studies (well, at least I haven't seen one yet that claims harm), and I've discussed it with a professor of aging studies who specializes in the ageing of the brain.

    Here's on that:

    http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/alphalipoic-acid
    Because alpha-lipoic acid can pass easily into the brain, it may help protect the brain and nerve tissue. Researchers are investigating it as a potential treatment for stroke and other brain problems involving free radical damage, such as dementia. So far, there’s no evidence to say whether it works or doesn’t.

    But mostly I'm highly skeptical of the health food/supplements industry and just the other week I was invited to a conference by some cousins who are in the biz and believe in that stuff like a religion. I told them they're inviting the wrong guy. But they said they wanted my take on it.

    For some of the stuff I couldn't even say anything, particularly with some of the people involved because my cousins are so into it. But I did some research when I got home and I did not like what I found. But it's their religion so I can't say anything. They have their own lives to live. The amount of pills they pop is astonishing. I remember going into shock one day when she opened her kitchen cabinet.

    Like knowing Newhart beds down with Santorum. Sometimes knowing the truth sucks.
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    Dec 23, 2013 10:50 PM GMT
    Omg I am a vegetarian and I take vitamins everyday!! Am I going to die now? D:
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    Dec 23, 2013 11:45 PM GMT
    No supplement (or supplement regime) can be as good as a nutritional diet.
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    Dec 24, 2013 12:22 AM GMT
    Gabriel_Munoz saidOmg I am a vegetarian and I take vitamins everyday!! Am I going to die now? D:

    The clock is ticking. Better get your last testament and will in order.
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    Dec 24, 2013 2:45 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    Gabriel_Munoz saidOmg I am a vegetarian and I take vitamins everyday!! Am I going to die now? D:

    The clock is ticking. Better get your last testament and will in order.


    but I'm too young to die hahahaha
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    Jan 02, 2014 3:43 AM GMT
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303453004579292721621637710
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    Jan 02, 2014 3:51 AM GMT
    Organic fruit and veggies will give you all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you body will ever need.
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    Jan 02, 2014 6:30 AM GMT
    nycusa15 saidOrganic fruit and veggies will give you all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you body will ever need.

    Yeah, if there's anything left after the bugs have munched on them.
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    Feb 17, 2014 4:18 PM GMT
    I call bullshit, drug companies usually fund these studies. Merck and Pfizer want to regulate this industry cause they get no piece of the action.

    They rather sell you some crappy drug when you're half dead
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    Feb 17, 2014 4:19 PM GMT
    I've taken different supplements since I was a teen, but currently only take a multivitamin and try to eat a balanced diet. The supplement industry is worth billions and I don't think they're going to lose money any time soon.
  • frogman89

    Posts: 418

    Feb 17, 2014 4:45 PM GMT
    Gabriel_Munoz saidOmg I am a vegetarian and I take vitamins everyday!! Am I going to die now? D:

    nycusa15 saidOrganic fruit and veggies will give you all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you body will ever need.

    I partly agree. You don't need to substitute any vitamins. Organic fruit and veggies will supply you with enough of them. But minerals are another story. Vegetarians and vegans should substitute iron to avoid anemia. Usually they lack iron because their meals don't supply enuough.

    somersault saidI call bullshit, drug companies usually fund these studies. Merck and Pfizer want to regulate this industry cause they get no piece of the action.

    They rather sell you some crappy drug when you're half dead

    No, an overdose of vitamin e for example has been proven to raise the chance of getting colon cancer. Basically it's not very healthy to overdose the lipophilic vitamins (A, D, E, K) because the body can't easily get rid of them and they accumulate.
  • frogman89

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    Feb 18, 2014 9:51 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    frogman89 said You don't need to substitute any vitamins. Organic fruit and veggies will supply you with enough of them.


    Question for you (or anyone else with any knowledge about this): I had heard that in terms of nutrition there is absolutely (and the person being interview stress ABSOLUTELY) no difference between "conventional" and "organic."

    Myth or truth?

    That's actually a very controversial topic. Some say there's no difference, some say the difference is huge.

    I can only tell you how it is administered in the EU. The EU says fruits and veggies are organic, when they are produced without plant protection agents, fertilizers (especially nitrogenous fertilizers) or admixtures. It had been shown that these fruits and veggies contain less harmful substances than conventional fruits and veggies. Many of which we don't even clearly know if they are hazardous or not.

    But the regulations don't make a statement about genetic engineering. So organic fruits and veggies are often genetically modified. And we know even less about the hazard of that.

    As for me, I don't believe that the harmful substances in conventional fruits and veggies have a great effect on our health. I think most of the positive effects of organic nutrition is a placebo. On the other hand, the use of plant protection agents and fertilizers harm the environment. They mess with the atmosphere and the ecological system as many insects suffer from it.
    I, personally, just go for the taste and in my opinion most organic fruits and veggies taste better than their conventional counterparts. Maybe that's a placebo, too, who knows, but that's my impression.




    Can anyone explain how the regulations are in the US or how "organic fruits and veggies" are defined there?
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    Feb 18, 2014 9:07 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said^
    I have read in numerous articles that there is no 100% truly organic produce in the U.S. Farmers can still use pesticides (either certain types or in limited quantities) and still claim their produce to be organic.

    In addition to that the plants can absorb bad stuff that's already in the soil. For example, the FDA has posted warnings about arsenic in brown rice (it's in the rice bran). It's highest in rice from Texas, lower in rice from California, and rice from Asia has little to none (whatever the norm is for unpolluted soil). The arsenic in the soil that the US rice is picking up is from prior use of insecticides (DDT?).
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    Feb 19, 2014 5:25 AM GMT
    Meh. It's disingenuous to lump everything together.

    Some supplements have proven effects. Others don't.
  • camfer

    Posts: 892

    Feb 19, 2014 6:28 AM GMT
    frogman89 said
    southbeach1500 said
    frogman89 said You don't need to substitute any vitamins. Organic fruit and veggies will supply you with enough of them.


    Question for you (or anyone else with any knowledge about this): I had heard that in terms of nutrition there is absolutely (and the person being interview stress ABSOLUTELY) no difference between "conventional" and "organic."

    Myth or truth?

    That's actually a very controversial topic. Some say there's no difference, some say the difference is huge.

    I can only tell you how it is administered in the EU. The EU says fruits and veggies are organic, when they are produced without plant protection agents, fertilizers (especially nitrogenous fertilizers) or admixtures. It had been shown that these fruits and veggies contain less harmful substances than conventional fruits and veggies. Many of which we don't even clearly know if they are hazardous or not.

    But the regulations don't make a statement about genetic engineering. So organic fruits and veggies are often genetically modified. And we know even less about the hazard of that.


    No organic food is genetically modified.

    --------
    Here's the EU regulation:

    TITLE III
    PRODUCTION RULES
    CHAPTER 1
    General production rules
    Article 8

    General requirements
    Operators shall comply with the production rules set out in this Title and with the implementing rules provided for in Article 38(a).
    Article 9

    Prohibition on the use of GMOs
    1. GMOs and products produced from or by GMOs shall not be used as food, feed, processing aids, plant protection products, fertilisers, soil conditioners, seeds, vegetative propagating material, micro-organisms and animals in organic production.
    ---------


    Here's the US regulation defining excluded methods:
    ---------
    Excluded methods. A variety of methods used to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes and are not considered compatible with organic production. Such methods include cell fusion, microencapsulation and macroencapsulation, and recombinant DNA technology (including gene deletion, gene doubling, introducing a foreign gene, and changing the positions of genes when achieved by recombinant DNA technology). Such methods do not include the use of traditional breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, or tissue culture.
    ----------
  • camfer

    Posts: 892

    Feb 19, 2014 6:58 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said^

    I have read in numerous articles that there is no 100% truly organic produce in the U.S. Farmers can still use pesticides (either certain types or in limited quantities) and still claim their produce to be organic.



    Organic is just a production standard. If you grow to the standard and get certified by a bona fide certifier, your produce is 100% truly organic, by definition.

    It is true, organic farmers can use some pesticides with advance permission, if listed in your organic system plan, and only as a last resort, but they cannot use any synthetic or persistent pesticides. Generally what we can use is soaps, oils, and natural extracts. The organic standard thinks of soap as a pesticide. The average person thinks of pesticides like neonicotinoids or organophosphates, which no organic farmer can use. And no, you can't cheat or you go to jail and get fined. There is residue testing and inspections to verify what's happening on every organic farm, that no synthetic pesticides are used. Buffer zones are required between organic fields and conventional fields to eliminate contamination from adjacent areas.

    Given the extremely limited options an organic farmer can spray, we tend to use other strategies for pest control. We create habitat for beneficial insects, we do mixed alley cropping instead of mono cropping, we grow 'trap crops' that are more enticing for the bugs than our intended harvest crop, we release additional beneficial insects, we use beneficial fungi and bacteria (non GMO), and we use barrier methods so the bad bugs cannot physically access the crops.

    Nutritional claims are anecdotal at best. There are better and worse organic farms. I could point out some studies showing much higher phytonutrients in organic produce, but when it's on your plate, the age of the food and how it was treated post harvest is key. Probably the best bet is to buy from a farmers market for the freshest, most nutritionally dense food.

    Interestingly, conventional produce today has a fraction of the nutrition it had in the first half of the 20th century:

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/nutritional-content-zmaz09jjzraw.aspx

    Some examples from the above article:
    In wheat and barley, protein concentrations declined by 30 to 50 percent between the years 1938 and 1990.
    Likewise, a study of 45 corn varieties developed from 1920 to 2001, grown side by side, found that the concentrations of protein, oil, and three amino acids have all declined in the newer varieties.
    Six minerals have declined by 22 to 39 percent in 14 widely grown wheat varieties developed over the past 100 years.
    Official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data shows that the calcium content of broccoli averaged 12.9 milligrams per gram of dry weight in 1950, but only 4.4 mg/g dry weight in 2003.