Efficacy regarding Vitamin D and calcium supplementation for bone from a previous article:
You Can’t Always Get What You Want!
When I was in college, my friends and I would take many different types of nutrients. Figuring that more is better, we began mega-dosing supplements. Mega-dosing is taking amounts way above what is generally recognized as the “safe” RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) to maintain health.
Collectively, we started experiencing diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea and flatulence.
My group relied on me as the “expert.” As a 19-year-old, I thought I knew everything there was to know about nutrition. I had been reading Prevention Magazine since I was 11 years old. Truth is, I didn’t know jack.
Knowledge is powerful, if used correctly. Too much information used without common sense, can be dangerous. Being young, we felt immortal. The reality was that we were just plain stupid. Me, the “nutritional guru” thought I knew things that even the “experts” were arguing about among themselves.
Finally, after no longer being able to tolerate the side effects, we quit supplements cold turkey. A united effort was made to start consuming quality foods. We never looked back on those pills.
Supplementing is not usually a good thing to try on your own. That is, unless a Nutritionist or well versed healthcare professional gives you reason to act otherwise.
To understand the present, we need to look at the past, for evidence that supplementation benefits individual health status.
Originally, Vitamin C was the miracle nutrient of the 70’s. Consumers were buying out all the tablets, capsules and powders thinking it would protect against cancer and colds. It didn’t pan out.
The next big thing was Vitamin E. It was like a tsunami of jelly like capsules hitting the shores of health food stores throughout the world. Everyone was taking that greasy oil, in the hopes of preventing heart disease and strokes. Research later showed that it would accelerate cardiovascular disease in patients already experiencing these problems. In normal patients, most studies showed no positive effects.
Studies came out showing that multiple vitamin/mineral supplements did not prevent diseases. In fact, some consumers on those preparations showed a higher rate of disease.
Now Vitamin D is touted as the newest “natural” cure to all our maladies. The thinking is that supplementing with this vitamin would prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
Research publish in Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology online 24, Jan.2014, suggests that Vitamin D does not improve disease outcomes. The study was a culmination of previous research that concluded the benefits from the nutrient were inconclusive. Ongoing research will show if the results above repeat themselves to nail another coffin in the latest nutritional “magic pill.”
The body works in synergy. When eating whole foods, nutrients are distributed in natural ratios that the body assimilates to help ensure health. This is completely altered when man starts manipulating what little he knows about nutrition making large doses of single nutrients available for supplementation. An oversupply of one nutrient(s) means you may have an under supply of other “buddy” nutrient(s).
Take an orchestra. Musicians playing various types of instruments come together to result in a harmonically beautiful song. What if we added 12 more tuba players to the band? The song not only will sound different but it may come out quite horribly.
The same goes for nutrients. Unless your deficient in a particular vitamin or mineral, singular supplementation may throw everything in the body out of sync. In effect, if you have too much of one nutrient, you may require more of the other nutrients. Case in point, the B-Complex family is composed of 8 essential members. Supplement too much of one member, and your body requires much more of the rest of the party.
America spends in excess of 30 billion dollars a year on supplements. If everyone utilized that cash to purchase fresh produce, imagine the health benefits. Inside these fruits and vegetables are an untapped treasure trove of yet undiscovered antioxidants. Unlike pill packaged vitamins and minerals, food’s nutrients team up together to provide a synergistic effect for quality of life. Supplements don’t come close to providing this type of positive end result.
Photo credit: aSIMULAtor / Foter / CC BY-ND
Photo credit: afagen / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: The Rocketeer / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: hitthatswitch / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: Pedro Sanchez / Foter / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: Nancy D. Regan / Foter / CC BY-NC
Categories: Food, Health, Nutrition, Science-Technology
I like the orchestra/tuba analogy. Genius! I just started taking a daily multi-vitamin a month ago and have more energy. How do you feel about multi-vitamins? I also eat healthily. 🙂
Best case scenario for multi is as nutritional insurance. I wouldn’t get a supplement that has over the RDA for any nutrient in it.
Healthy is grrrrrreat!!!!!