Many people are looking for an edge when it comes to fitness and health. As a child, we remember our parents pushing a chewable multi-vitamin upon us and saying, “here’s your vitamin!” Mine were Flinstones. We of course took it and went on with our day. Kids still got sick despite taking the vitamins. So, why do we take it? Are kids who take vitamins getting less sick than those who take vitamins? Fair question. As adults, we follow a similar pattern as we set out to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The question about vitamins has long drawn criticisms and studies to attempt to prove their effectiveness. On top of regular vitamins, we also have herbal supplements these days. The sales of vitamins and supplements is a very big business.
Nature Made mineral supplements nets over $305 million a year. Nature Made’s one and two letter vitamin sales come in at $297 million. Airborne, the one-stop-shop to prevent illness, racks in over $118 a year. Emergen C, the powder multi-vitamin brand comes in at nearly $115 million a year. Clearly, the business is thriving as consumers have a built-in need to take vitamins. We believe vitamins are the way to go and that they will somehow impact our lives in a positive way. It’s what we’ve been told all our lives. It’s been drilled into our heads. However, as more and more studies come to light, it is becoming more evident that vitamins aren’t nearly as productive for our immune systems as we once thought.
These are 10 Facts That Suggest Vitamins Are Useless.
We take multi-vitamins in hope of filling in some key nutrient gaps we are not getting due to our lousy diets. This self-troubleshooting method of health isn’t the best way to go. Study after study has begun to show that multi-vitamins are useless. More than half of adults in the United States are currently taking some kind of multi-vitamin. Doctors and scientists have confirmed that eating fruits and vegetables is a much better way to go than ingesting multi-vitamins. Multi-vitamins can adversely affect your body’s functions. As with anything, too much of something is never a good thing. There is no evidence that currently supports that the intake of multi-vitamins helps prevents strokes, heart attacks or illness. But overdosing on vitamin intake can cause a lot of trouble to people’s immune systems and daily functions.
9. Hard V Soft
Studies are abound that show compressed hard vitamins are almost worthless. First off, if you think about a giant hard pill you will know right away it is very difficult to break with your fingers. Just hold it in your hand. They are like tiny bricks. And if you hold a soft gel or capsule in your hand, you can see they are easy to press and break. Well, your stomach has just as hard a time breaking a compressed solid form pill down as your own fingers. It’s just common sense. However, vitamins are floated onto the market with regularity that are compressed and studies are showing the human body is only able to break down a small percentage of the product’s claims. In fact, these pills also do damage to the stomach lining. If you do want to take a supplement or a vitamin, definitely go the rout of a soft gel or capsule. Hard pills are nearly worthless and not worth your time. The body absorbs less than 10% of those big hard pills. Essentially, you are paying the company selling the product 90% more than you should.
Beta-carotene and other carotenoids generally make up about 50% of the vitamin A needed in an average American diet. Beta-carotene is predominately found in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Beta-carotene is also made in laboratories. Many people use beta-carotene to decrease asthma symptoms, certain cancers, heart disease, cataracts and age-related degeneration. It also can help in treating AIDS, alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, epilepsy, headaches, heartburn, high blood pressure, infertility, Parkinson’s disease, etc. It sounds like a super pill! Beta-carotene and Vitamin A are huge boosts to our health, however, studies have found a big increase in lung cancer amongst smokers who consumed beta-carotene via supplements.
7. Folic Acid
Folic acid is in the vitamin B family and is found in foods like dried beans, peas, lentils, oranges, whole-wheat products, greens (like broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprout, and spinach) and is found in liver. Folic acid is essential to your body producing and maintaining new cells. It also can help prevent DNA that tries to cause cell mutation that leads to cancer. However, used as a processed pill, high dosages of folic acid may lead to an increase in colon cancer or breast cancer. Certainly, if you chow down on a ton of green and whole-wheat foods, you will be fine with the natural folic acid enhancing your body’s functionality.
6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that naturally occurs in nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables. People with certain diseases need extra vitamin E to help their body function normally. It’s all well and good ingesting vitamin E until you realize that overdosing on the pill form of the supplement can lead to an increased risk of prostate cancer in men. Another bad side effect can be the increase of a stroke. Now, if you eat a lot of green leafy vegetables, you are all good. There are no side effects in natural versions (especially when you buy organic). However, when you take the supplements version, prostate cancer and stroke come into play. This is another instance where it’s much better to chew than swallow. Consuming your vitamins from foods yields far better results than swallowing them.
The vitamin and supplement industries are a $28-billion juggernaut. The constant belief is that if you consume vitamins they will keep you healthy and help you live longer. Unless you are in your 60s, these vitamin supplements only cause harm when taken in large doses during the course of your life. In addition to the health detriments, the cost of supplements hit people hard in their wallets. Americans use supplements in the same way they use fast food. They attempt to bridge the gap between cost and health by buying crappy processed foods and then taking vitamins to make up their nutrient shortcomings. As more studies arrive, the truth about vitamins and supplements is becoming glaring. Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group of independent doctors, now does not recommend the use of multivitamins and herbal supplements and advises consumers to steer clear of mass-produced pills such as beta-carotene and vitamin E. Currently, 10 cents a year is spent per every adult American residing in the United States.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D has been pegged as a great aid to increase exercise and stamina while at the same time reducing heart disease. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the modulation of cell growth, immune function and reduces inflammation in the body. Foods such as fatty fish and fish liver oils carry the highest abundance of Vitamin D. Certain other foods like milk and orange juice have been fortified with Vitamin D. Vitamin D can help prevent colon, prostate and breast cancers. However, too much concentrated Vitamin D (as found in supplements and vitamins) can cause heart arrhythmias, skin cancer and cause damage to the kidneys and heart. Again, large intake of Vitamin D, much like all other supplements, cannot replace a poor diet.
3. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 has a very positive effect on our metabolism and energy levels. Foods such as pork, turkey, beef, bananas, chickpeas, potatoes and pistachios all contain heavy doses of the vitamin. These food ideas can be part of a healthy lifestyle. But if someone isn’t eating very healthy, they may turn to high dose vitamins to make up for their losses. If you are consuming too much Vitamin B6 it can cause any number of issues to come about. Here is a list of side effects from too much Vitamin B6: abnormal heart rhythms, acne, allergic reactions, breast enlargement or soreness, changes in folic acid levels, decreased muscle tone, drowsiness or sedation, feeling of a lump in the throat, feeling of tingling on the skin, headache, heartburn, loss of appetite, nausea, rash, recurrence of ulcerative colitis (an inflammatory bowel disorder), stomach discomfort or pain, sun sensitivity, vomiting, and worsened asthma, according to patient.info.
Probiotics are being pitched as regulating our health. The pills themselves can cost as much as $1 per swallow. As companies make millions off of customers who actively seek probiotic pills, tests have been completely inconclusive over their effects on the human gut. In fact, probiotics have been touted by some marketers as a pill that promises to clear all of your ills. The idea is simple: probiotics are trillions of bacteria in our gut that manages our health as we eat and digest things. Advertisers are selling probiotics as the helpful supplement to maintaining daily health. Probiotics are also naturally found in yogurt. Instead of swallowing a pill, go Greek and get the real stuff. Or, better yet, eat a parfait and add some fruit to those probiotics and get a ton of everything you need in one great natural dose of food!
1. Vitamin C
One of the most popular supplements to take is Vitamin C. Vitamin C is key in aiding our immune system and doctors in the past have always said to take high doses in order to battle colds and viruses. But now, new studies are arriving that contradict the old way of thinking. Adults taking synthetic versions of Vitamin C have serious side effects. People who took doses of 1000 mg or more a day suffered impaired vision and suffered energy drops that significantly hampered their endurance capacity. Synthetic vitamin C is also reported to have adverse effects on people’s antioxidant system. The gist: drink some juices and eat some fruit to get your vitamin C boost.