to investigate whether supplements reduce risk of cancer suggests
risk is increased by 30%
2004; 364: 1219-28 A review of 14 studies with over 170,000
people was done to investigate whether supplements affected
gastrointestinal cancers. No protective effect was found.
Supplements with beta
carotene and vitamin A together increased cancer risk
could not find evidence that antioxidant supplements can prevent
gastrointestinal cancers; on the contrary, they seem to increase
2003; 361: 101-06 "In 1998, 11 poison control centres
in the USA recorded details of 2332 telephone calls about
1466 ingestions of dietary supplements, in 784 of which patients
had symptoms."... "A third of events were of greater
than mild severity. We noted both new and previously reported
associations that included myocardial infarction, liver failure,
bleeding, seizures, and death."... "Dietary supplements
are associated with adverse events that include all levels
of severity, organ systems, and age groups."
into hazards and risks of dietary supplements should be a
long after Rhino Fitness
posted an article on how ergogenic supplements
deliver more hype than results, and another on the misgivings
food" stores that in fact sell primarily supplements
and not food, out comes a report published in the Lancet that
suggests the consumption of vitamin supplements that combine
vitamin A and beta carotene may increase the incidence of
cancer by a whopping 30%.
these results were found in a study that was meant to investigate
the efficacy of vitamin supplements ability to reduce risk
of cancer, but in fact the opposite was found.
1996 the CARET study (Beta Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial)
looked at smokers who took beta carotene and vitamin A supplements.
The study found that out of 18000 people studied, 28% more
lung cancers were diagnosed in those whose took the beta carotene
and vitamin A pills.
in 1995, The Physicians Health Study, a 12 year study, found
no positive or negative effects after 12 years of beta carotene
supplementation. Only 11% of the subjects were smokers.
important to note
that those who consumed foods rich in beta carotene did not
suffer any of the ill effects of those who consumed the supplement
form. Smokers should not avoid foods with beta carotene, but
according to research, should; 1) quit smoking, and 2) avoid
beta carotene supplements if they continue smoking.
carotene was investigated as a potential anti cancer agent
because it contains anti oxidants that can prevent cell damage.
are many studies that suggest the consumption of fruits and
vegetables promotes health by providing the body with nutrients
that reduce the risk cardiovascular disease and cancer. It
seems supplement companies make the overly simplistic conclusion
that therefore a pill with the same vitamins in it will also
prevent disease. Apparently not.
problem seems to be the bioavailability of the pharmacologically
derived vitamins is lower in supplements than it is in food
meaning we don't absorb vitamins from supplements as well
as we do from foods. Also, as we don't yet fully understand
how antioxidants go about their business and what specific
ratio's of vitamins are needed to produce a positive effect,
it seems dangerous to assume that a mega dose vitamin pill
is going to be a panacea. The concentration of vitamins in
supplements is between 10 and 100 times greater than found
in foods. The "more is better" approach is not always
better - how many times have we learned this?
know that the dose of vitamins found in foods has the positive
health-protecting effect we are after. We know that the physical
consumption of lots of nutrient dense vegetables and fruits
is the most effective way to deliver these vitamins to our
body. Why is this so confusing? Eat the food!
suggest that people who eat healthily are also likely to have
other healthy habits such as regular exercise and it is this
combination that results in fewer incidences of cancer and
other disease in the "healthy living" population.
This seems quite reasonable.
about this: We discover that eating vegetables is healthy.
Some nut-brain then decides that to get the health benefits
of vegetables, instead of simply eating the vegetables, we
need to chemically reproduce the vitamins found in vegetables,
make it into a pill, and then eat the pill. Would it be so
terribly difficult to put a carrot in the hand, move it to
the mouth, chew, and swallow? Does it not make sense to by-pass
the low quality facsimile and go for the real thing?
and minerals don't come from pills,
they come from plants. We get the vitamins by eating the plants
or other things that eat the plants. Pills are a poor quality
knockoff of the original.
have gradually progressed to the state where most people will
automatically think of pills first when they think of vitamins,
instead of thinking of an orange or of eating healthy.
may walk right past the produce department on the way to the
pharmacy to get our vitamins.
HEALTHY FOOD! I wish I could type more loudly because
when I talk about diet and exercise I sometimes get that dumb
feeling where you think you have to talk louder in order to
have someone understand what you're saying. Of course it turns
out they hear you just fine, they just don't agree with you.
This study in the Lancet is another dose of "I told you
so" in the argument for why healthy living doesn't require
a pill or potion, just some common sense. I hope readers hear
we're healthy and eat a balanced diet we'll get all the vitamins
we need and can throw most of our supplements in the garbage
or never buy them in the first place. Could there be a legitimate
case for some vitamin and mineral supplementation? Yes.
tell you I'm uncomfortable talking about legitimate needs
for supplements because I don't want this in any way to fan
the fires of support for pro-supplement groups. But that's
my problem and I don't want to make it yours. The fact is
there are some legitimate circumstances where vitamin and
mineral supplements in the correct dosage are warranted.
well known that athletes, specifically runners, tend to have
low iron levels. In fact this is even dubbed "runners
anemia". This typically occurs in runners with poor dietary
iron intake who run too much. Female athletes are at a greater
risk of developing low iron levels. Interestingly the impact
of running crushes red blood cells in capillaries on the bottom
of the foot contributing to low iron levels (iron is bound
to red blood cells).
those who don't consume dairy products it can be challenging
to get 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium per day, so a calcium supplement
may be indicated in this scenario. Some people have an illness
or condition that interferes with eating and/ or vitamin and
mineral absorption and they may need supplements. Regardless,
it's better not to self diagnose. If you are not certain of
your vitamin and mineral intake talk to your doctor or dietitian.
you eat a balanced diet,
it is highly unlikely that any vitamin supplement will be
needed, and in light of recent research, there is not likely
any real benefit and a possible serious health risk with taking
supplements. Since supplements are not absorbed well by the
body, they really amount to nothing more than expensive urine,
as you pee out the unabsorbed portions.
addition to vitamin supplements not providing any advantage
over vitamins in food, the supplement industry has a long
storied history of deceit. Over and over again supplement
companies make completely unsubstantiated claims regarding
the effects of their products, and over and over again they
are successfully sued, fined, and shut down for their nefarious
antics. I don't want to create paranoia towards supplement
companies, there are reputable ones, but the industry isn't
exactly known for it's integrity.
a look at this laundry list from the US Federal Trade Commission,
then consider this new research published in the Lancet. Next
time you think of vitamins, think "fruits and vegetables",
don't think "pill".
the FTC web site:
1st 2000 Marketers of "Vitamin O" Settles FTC
Charges of Making False Health Claims; Will Pay $375,000 for
Consumer Redress "ads claimed that "Vitamin O"
could treat or prevent serious diseases such as cancer, heart
disease, and lung disease by enriching the bloodstream with
- Turns out "Vitamin O" is nothing more than salt
4 1990 FTC CHARGES MILES INC. MADE UNSUBSTANTIATED
AD CLAIMS FOR "ONE-A-DAY" VITAMINS;
COMPANY AGREES TO SETTLEMENT
3, 1995 FTC CHARGES HOME SHOPPING NETWORK WITH
DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING OF VITAMIN SPRAYS, STOP-SMOKING SPRAY
Home Shopping network was charges with not being able to substantiate
Way Vitamin C and Zinc Spray sprayed in the mouth
heals mouth lesions, cold sores, and cracking of lip corners
and prevents common colds;
Way Vitamin B-12 Spray treats hangover symptoms and
increases energy; and
Way Anti-Oxident Spray ensures proper function of
the immune system, reduces risk of contracting infectious
diseases, and prevents facial lines.
2, 1997 ABBOTT SETTLES FTC CHARGES OF DECEPTIVE CLAIMS
FOR ITS "ENSURE" NUTRITIONAL PRODUCTS
FTC Action Challenges "Doctor Recommended" Claim
6, 2002 Wonder Bread Marketers Settle FTC Charges
Claims That Bread with Added Calcium Could Help Brain Function
and Memory Alleged to be Unsubstantiated
FTC advertising cases - Children's
FTC advertising cases 1984
- July 15 2003
vitamins from a reliable source? Visit your local grocery
store. Vitamins come in multicolored packages that look suspiciously
like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org
2003-2004 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness