The Fallacy of Supplements: Why They’re Wrong and What You Should Do Instead
In the world today there’s a great amount of misinformation out there. Many people believe things they shouldn’t because they don’t have enough critical thinking skills to think critically about them. Unfortunately, many people still rely on what others tell them rather than their own research or experience. That’s why I wrote this article.
There are some common misconceptions about vitamins and supplements that need to be addressed before we move forward with our discussion. These myths are often perpetuated by unscrupulous marketers who want you to buy something they sell instead of what you really need. They may even convince themselves that they’re doing a good job at convincing others!
Myth #1: Vitamin C Is Good For Your Health
Vitamins are not drugs. They cannot cure any disease. There is no evidence that taking vitamins will prevent cancer, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, osteoporosis or anything else that your doctor might prescribe you. If they did such a thing, doctors would all be selling pills made from human blood and bones! (And no one would pay them!
What is true, however, is that the body needs a certain amount of vitamins and minerals to work properly. Although some foods like breakfast cereals are fortified with extra nutrients, the majority of people do not get enough from their diet. By taking a supplement you can guarantee that you will keep your body in the best possible condition.
Vitamins are organic compounds, created by plants and animals as a way of maintaining health and sustaining life. They are vital for normal growth and for the prevention of disease.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that helps the body form collagen, which is a vital component of bones, blood vessels, cartilage, skin and tendons. It also helps the body to form adrenal hormones and acts as an antioxidant to prevent free radical damage to the cells. It also promotes the absorption of iron.
Who is likely to be deficient?
Those who have a poor diet or difficulty absorbing nutrients, such as diabetics and the elderly, may be at risk of a vitamin C deficiency. Smoking is also believed to increase the amount of vitamin C that the body excretes. Those suffering from alcoholism are also thought to be at risk of vitamin C deficiency.
A diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables should ensure that you get enough vitamin C. Vitamin C is destroyed by heat, so fresh fruit and veg are always best. Some of the best sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits such as oranges and mandarins, blackcurrants, pineapple, peppers, green vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, and tomatoes.
Vitamin C is also found in some supplements and can be taken as tablets or capsules, or in powdered form. When taken in supplement form, it is best absorbed by those with low stomach acidity.
There is no recommended daily amount for vitamin C, but the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) suggests an adequate intake of 40mg per day for adults.
It’s also worth taking a look at some of the other benefits of vitamin C.
Myth #2: If You Take a Multivitamin, You Don’t Need to Eat a well-balanced Diet
This is untrue. While it’s true that taking multivitamins can help to boost your intake of certain nutrients that you may not be getting in your diet, you should always try to eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables.
A multivitamin can only ever be a substitute for eating healthily, and they certainly can’t make up for an unhealthy diet.
While it’s true that some foods have high levels of certain nutrients, some also have high levels of sugars, fats and other additives that are detrimental to your health. Vitamins are intended to boost the nutrients you get from food, not whole foods themselves.
Sources & references used in this article:
Critical thinking in introductory psychology texts and supplements by RA Griggs, SL Jackson, P Marek… – Teaching of …, 1998 – journals.sagepub.com
Vitamin and mineral supplements in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer: an updated systematic evidence review for the US Preventive … by SP Fortmann, BU Burda, CA Senger, JS Lin… – Annals of internal …, 2013 – acpjournals.org
Industry actions to address quality issues for dietary supplements, botanicals, and other natural products by J Shenkar, JC Griffiths – Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2018 – Wiley Online Library
Relationship of thyroid disease and use of thyroid supplements to breast cancer risk by LA Brinton, DA Hoffman, R Hoover… – Journal of chronic …, 1984 – Elsevier