Vitamin Supplements And Health Benefits
How The Supplement Industry Fools You Into Thinking You’re Being Healthy
Back in the 1970s, the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Pauling (Linus Pauling Institute) believed that he had found the cure to the common cold and ageing, in the form of vitamin C. The claims were treated with scepticism at the time, but they were put to the test. Thousands of participants were given mega-doses of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, and then scientists waited to see if there were any positive results. It turned out that there weren’t, but that didn’t stop a hardcore of researchers continuing to push their agenda on the public that supplementing vitamins was something that was really important to do.
Over time, the general public got the impression that supplementing with top vitamin supplements and minerals was healthy. After all, vitamin C, along with the rest, is essential to survival, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting enough in your diet. But the idea that taking a supplement could magically improve your health was a step too far.
It wasn’t just vitamin C that was shown not to have any positive benefits for preventing the common cold or any other malady (except scurvy perhaps), it was pretty much every other vitamin or mineral you can think of too. In study after study, it was found that supplementing had practically no impact on the health of participants, even though all of the researchers working on these studies desperately wanted to prove the case otherwise.
None of this seemed to make sense to the people doing the research. They had found that people eating diets rich in vitamins and minerals tended to live longer, have healthier hearts and suffer less from the diseases of civilization. But when they isolated the vitamins and minerals from the whole foods, the benefits immediately vanished. No matter how much vitamin supplements and minerals they pumped into people, they weren’t any less likely to get cancer. The result was so shocking to the way that they see the world that diet remains an underexplored subject.
The problem has to do with the way that science was done. If something has a positive benefit, like a whole piece of broccoli, then the scientists reasoned that there must be something in the broccoli that conferred the benefit that they could put into pill form. But every time they tried to do that, they wound up failing. This created a crisis, but why did it happen?It all comes down to the fact that to get the benefits of broccoli, you have to eat broccoli. There is no one thing in the vegetable that makes it healthy: it’s all the component parts working together in concert.
This insight, however, remains lost on the supplement industry and the medical community. We constantly hear about the benefits of this supplement or that supplement, but they are rarely backed up by actual evidence. Kombucha’s health benefits, for instance, have been touted by the top 10 medicare supplement companies all over the world. But science has shown that there are no benefits.
The reason for the success of the supplement industry, despite the lack of scientific backing, seems to be more psychological than anything real. People like to believe that they can get health benefits by popping a pill, rather than having to go to the effort of eating a healthy and nutritious diet. This is a powerful motivator to believe that there must be some benefit to supplementing, even though in the long term, there isn’t.
Then there’s the fact that nutrition has traditionally been seen as a science that helps people overcome a lack of food, rather than an abundance. When the original science of nutrition was first getting going back in the early 1900s, it was constructed to deal with the problems of the day.
Food scientists back then were keenly interested in what people lacked in their diet since malnutrition was a real issue. They wanted to understand what they had to feed people to keep them alive and stop them from suffering from the diseases of deficiency. Whether or not to fortify bread flour with vitamin supplements and minerals was an important policy consideration for the government.
Today, though, our health problems aren’t so much a lack of food, but an excess. Time and time again, science shows that people who eat less processed food and fewer animal products have longer and healthier lives. Science also shows that cultures that base their diets around whole foods tend to live longer than those that don’t. No matter how much we might like it if they did, supplements can’t help up achieve our health goals.
Take good care of yourself
so far Klaudia