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The Disturbing Truth about Vitamin Supplements – Sharp Science

We’ve all heard the same spiel for years. Vitamin C to treat a cold. Biotin for beautiful hair. Calcium to make your bones strong. Vitamin B12 for superhuman energy. Vitamin companies say they’re making you healthier by giving you nutrients that you probably aren’t getting from your diet. But is this just another marketing ploy intent on getting you hooked and robbing you blind? I’m looking at you, GOOP.
Just look at these, there’s so many. So this says eye vitamin and mineral supplement, it has vitamin A in it. They’re still promoting the fact that vitamin A will help you get better eyesight which is proven to not be true. Cognizin assists with attention, begins working in about 60 minutes.
Is this proven? Did you know more than two-thirds of Americans take dietary supplements each year. And according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, dietary supplements are $122 billion industry. There are even vitamin start ups now that determine whether you’re stressed or tired and give you herbal or vitamin supplements to cater to individual needs. I actually have a few friends here at Mashable who swear by their multivitamins.
Let’s go talk to them. – I actually just started taking multivitamins in the last month. I feel so much better. I actually feel better. I feel like when I would normally be getting sick. If I’m going really hard and working my butt off normally I would feel terrible. But I feel fine. – I take several multivitamins.
I have vitamin B, vitamin E. I have a energy supplement that I take. I do biotin and vitamin C, and all that fun stuff. – So, I’m pregnant right now. And so I take two things. I take a multivitamin for prenatal. And then I also take a fish oil DHA, which is supposed to promote brain health. – So I have a problem where I take like 30 vitamins a day. And I’m a huge sucker for things like this, where they package your vitamins for you.
The most frustrating question for me, as a clinician, is when patients ask me if they should be taking high doses of vitamin C to prevent the common cold. But the truth is that there’s no evidence that shows that vitamin C decreases the duration of an illness. In fact, it actually is more likely to make your stomach upset. It’s difficult to know that what you’re taking is actually what they brand it to be.
The FDA is mandated to regulate pharmaceutical drugs that are on the market as well as the food that we can buy at the supermarkets. But they don’t have strict regulations on the supplements that are on the shelves. The only thing they require is the name of the supplement and a disclaimer saying that it has not been tested or evaluated by the FDA. Right now they operate on an honor code and a lot of the time it’s not until something goes wrong that they do some inspection, find out that what they have branded the supplemental to be actually doesn’t exist.
So, there are absolutely certain conditions that I recommend my patients to take supplements, women who are around the age of menopause, if you have certain diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, women who have heavy menstrual periods should be taking supplements.
If you’re on certain medications it reduces your absorption of other nutrients. Here are some other ways you can get these vitamins without taking supplements. – Eat an orange. – Get some sunlight. – Eggs and soybeans. – Milk, cheese, butter. – Yogurt. – Lean meat. – Carrots and sweet potatoes. Trust me when I say that if you have a good diet with a lot of whole grains, greenly vegetables, citrus fruits and lean meats that you do not need to take any supplements. In fact, it has the potentials to do more harm than good.
– At the end of the day, if taking a multivitamin really does make you feel a little healthier, is it really that bad? Yes, it’s bad! Since the FDA isn’t going to do the work for us and determine if the label is correct, we really don’t know what goes in these vitamins. Supplements are one of many things that experts really you want you to do your research on because it might be a matter of life or death. -Taylor, no! -What the hell?
– So the next time you grab an Emergen-C or an Airborne, just know that if you have a healthy diet, you really don’t need it. Follow the evidence, especially with stuff that you put in your temple of a body. You deserve it.