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Vitamins: More Harm than Good

Posted on 10/18/2011

Vitamins are suppose to be good for you...right? Well, often times they end up doing more harm than good.  I've always been of the mindset that you should get your total nutrition from whole foods and not through pills, vitamins or supplements of any kind.

Nutrition Through Food, Not Supplements

Recently, news has come out that proves my "old-fashioned beliefs" are right. I feel a bit vindicated after all these years going against the grain. I knew all along in my heart that I was right.

Kelly, my dear husband, never prescribed his patients vitamins in all his years of practicing medicine. I guess my beliefs were formed in part due to his beliefs. He was (and still is) in my opinion, the best doctor!

One recent study found that taking vitamins may do more harm than good and suggests taking supplements may have health risks. Yes, the innocuous pills you pop every day as "insurance" to a healthy diet actually may be harmful to you.

Researchers at University of Minnesota studied data from nearly 40,000 women and found women who took supplements were on average 2.4 percent increase risk of dying sooner compared to women who didn't take supplements.

The study, as well as smaller studies, points out little evidence that supplement use helps prevent chronic diseases. The study authors suggest people consider if they need to use them and put the money to better use instead...like a healthy, balanced diet!

Supplements are big business in the U.S....at a tune of $25 billion a year and growing every year. I'm all for business, but not at the sake of ripping off consumers and committing fraud. That is what I think this industry has been doing for as long as its been around. I am not a believer in big government, but the FDA really needs to take a closer look at this virtually unregulated industry that has done so much harm.

Don't Take More Vitamins and Supplements!

There's another side to supplement use that many do not acknowledge, but this study sheds light on, is possible death from taking them. Most compounds, including vitamins and supplements, are toxic in high doses and long-term use can be detrimental. People tend to believe if some is good, then more is better. Well, not so, that sort of behavior can and does kill people!

Something else to consider when pondering if you need supplements is that often they do not contain the levels or amounts noted on their packaging. The reason being is that the FDA does not regulate them, as they do prescription drugs that are dispensed by a pharmacist.

A Balanced Diet Does the Trick

Why not eat a healthy, balanced diet instead of relying on a pill that contains who knows what...you know, not too long ago, there were several studies that indicated that supplements and vitamins often contain harmful ingredients, things you'd never think of putting in your body, like arsenic. They also have inconsistent levels of ingredients that did not match their labels. That puts you at great risk. Slap a label on it, call it a vitamin or supplement and people will pay hard-earned money on them! It's big business with big money lobbyists pushing their special interest in Washington, D.C. What a sham...the industry is just like modern day snake oil salesmen in my opinion.
However, there are some people who have to take certain supplements that their doctors prescribe to them due to a chronic medical condition. I do not suggest in any way that they stop taking them. They should follow their doctor's advice as it relates to their own health.

Vitamin E and Prostate Cancer

Men, I'm sorry to report that you are not immune to vitamin risks either...a recent study found a link between vitamin E and prostate cancer risk. It found that taking high doses of the vitamin for five years increased a man's chance of prostate cancer. The levels of vitamin E found in most pills on the market today are 20 times higher dosage than recommended for an adult's daily consumption.

So, pills are out if you want to live a long, healthy life. What's one to do? Studies have shown time and again that diet is a key contributor to a long and healthy life. Here are a few helpful suggestions to eating a heart-healthy diet, which in moderation is recommended:

  1. Fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
  2. Whole grains provide B vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and fiber.
  3. Nuts -- in moderation -- are high in unsaturated fats, the kind that can help protect against heart disease.
  4. Fish twice a week is good for your heart.
  5. Dark chocolate in moderation appears to lower blood pressure.

Don't forget that activity is also key in a long, healthy life!

At a loss at how to start eating a healthy, balanced diet? Let us do the work for you. We would love to help you learn how to eat better, including the right size of portions and correct mix of foods.

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Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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