The Controversy Over Vitamins

10 comments

Good evening Oh She Glows healthy & fit hotties!

I’ve had a good day. I am feeling better than I was yesterday. I was feeling well enough to hit the gym for a sweat session and it always gives me some pep to my step! lol.

The workout:

  • Treadmill 2 min. warm up incline 7, 4.0 mph
  • ran 1 mile @ 6.0mph, incline 7
  • ran 0.5 mile @ 7.0 mph, incline 7
  • walking cool down, 4.0, incline 7 for about 5 mins.
  • ran 0.5 mile @ 7.0 mph, incline 7 (I was gasping for breath by about 0.3 miles on this one…it was soooo hard not to stop and rest but I set my goal for 0.5 miles at this intensity and somehow I made it through. I just kept saying…ok only 0.06 miles to go….0.04…etc.)
  • More running & walking intervals
  • Duration: 36 mins.
  • Then I did 10 mins. on the elliptical (5 forward, 5 backward) at resistance 8-9, incline 10ish?
  • Few crunches on stability ball, but I stopped because my neck is still strained from my fall :\
  • 24 flights stairs
  • Total duration: ~45 mins.

- Max heart rate: 177 bpm (91% of max)

- Avg heart rate: 150 (77% of max)

It felt great and was a good workout!!!! :D

Q: How did you get your heart pumping today?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have you heard about the recent controversy over taking vitamins?

 
Supplement use doesn’t help and may harm, study finds
By Rob Stein

Supplements that millions of Americans take to stave off disease and slow the aging process do not boost longevity and appear to actually increase the risk of dying, according to the most comprehensive study of whether popular “antioxidants” help users live longer.

The analysis, which pooled data from 68 studies involving more than 232,000 people, found no evidence that taking beta-carotene, Vitamin A or Vitamin E extends life span. In fact, the analysis indicated that the supplements increase the likelihood of dying by about 5 percent. Vitamin C and selenium appeared to have no impact — either way — on longevity.

The study does not address the question of multivitamins.

Based on the findings, published in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the researchers warned that consumers should be cautious about taking supplements containing the nutrients. At least 150 million Americans regularly take dietary supplements that often include antioxidants.

“The message is: We shouldn’t be putting anything in our mouths until we know whether it works,” said Christian Gluud of the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, who led the study. “It appears as if these substances may be harmful.”

Representatives of the vitamin industry, as well as some other researchers, disputed the findings, criticizing the study for, among other things, including people who were already sick. People tend to take vitamins to stay healthy, they said.

“There’s a large body of data that shows that antioxidant supplementation is beneficial,” said Andrew Shao of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, an industry group. “The message to the average consumer is: Don’t pay attention to this. This doesn’t apply to you. You can go ahead and continue taking your antioxidant supplements in addition to the other things you do in your life to stay healthy.”

But Gluud and his colleagues defended the findings, saying that the study used careful methods developed by the Cochrane Collaboration, an independent nonprofit effort to methodically assess medical claims.

The analysis included many large studies involving healthy people, and the increased risk was clear after accounting for factors that could confuse the findings, Gluud said.

Other researchers, while noting that supplements are useful for people who have nutritional deficiencies, said the findings should prompt people to reconsider whether to continue taking megadoses in an effort to live longer.

“This study shows that these products do not prolong life and may actually shorten it,” said Paul Coates, who directs the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “If you are taking antioxidant supplements, it would be a good idea to review the results of this study, reflect on why you are taking them and what you hope to gain.”

The findings do not necessarily apply to antioxidants found naturally in fruits, vegetables and other foods, Gluud and other researchers stressed.

But the findings are consistent with evidence suggesting that some nutrients may be harmful at high doses or could interfere with the body’s natural defenses, the researchers said.

“By taking these supplements, you might be impeding your immune system’s ability to fight off disease or risk factors for chronic disease,” said Edgar Miller III of Johns Hopkins University, who in 2004 reported similar findings about Vitamin E. “People are taking these supplements with the presumption that they will live longer or better. This shows they are not living longer and in fact may be at higher risk of dying.”

Other researchers were cautious about concluding that the substances were dangerous but said the study added to the now large body of evidence indicating that the hoped-for health benefits have not materialized.

“They probably won’t kill you, but they’re not going to do any good for you if what you want is to live longer,” said Donald Berry, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Antioxidant supplements became a multibillion-dollar business after studies indicated that the substances may promote health by mopping up damaging “free radicals,” which are natural byproducts of cellular processes.

But a series of studies testing the benefits of taking antioxidants and other nutritional supplements has been disappointing. Another study released Monday found that consuming garlic does not lower cholesterol. And several studies have even been alarming, indicating, for example, that beta-carotene increased rather than decreased the risk of lung cancer among smokers, and that Vitamin E appeared to boost the overall risk of death.

Gluud and his colleagues combed the scientific literature for every study about antioxidants published since 1990 and found 68 involving 232,606 people.

Among those, the researchers identified 47 trials involving 180,938 subjects that they classified as “low-bias” because they did the best job of eliminating factors that might produce faulty results.

Subjects in those 47 studies were randomly assigned to get real vitamins or placebos.

When they analyzed that data, the researchers found that those taking any antioxidant were 5 percent more likely to die than those who were not.

With Vitamin E, the risk rose 4 percent; with beta-carotene, 7 percent; and with Vitamin A, 16 percent. The actual causes of death in most studies were unknown, however.

Even though the possible increased risk was relatively small, the “public health consequences may be substantial” because of the large number of people taking the substances, the researchers said.

Vitamin C and selenium did not appear to have any effect on the risk of dying. But Gluud said that “the verdict is still out on those two.”

Efforts are still under way to assess the value of taking individual antioxidants for specific purposes, including a large federal study that is testing whether Vitamin E and selenium reduce prostate-cancer risk.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I used to take tons of vitamins (Omega 3, multivitamin, antioxidant vitamins, etc), but since hearing about this it has made me re-think what I mindlessly pop into my body.
If I am eating healthy, whole foods why do I feel like I need this extra ‘insurance’ anyways? None of my blood tests have indicated that I am in poor health, so I now do not see the need to pop all of these pills- especially when they may not being doing me any good!
Obviously there needs to be lots more research conducted to replicate the findings of these studies before we can really tell what effect they have on the body long-term.

As for me, all I take now is calcium/magnesium and Vitamin D as these are the vitamins that most people are lacking.

Note: You can select more than one option below.

 

What are your thoughts?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse.” ~Nigerian Proverb

Previous post:

Next post:

Previous Posts

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Halie November 25, 2008

Sounds like a great workout! I did 40 mins on the elliptical before work and then ran for 20 minutes and did strength training on my lunch break :)

Thank you for sharing the article, very thought provoking. I take a vegetarian multivitamin since I need to make sure I get enough iron. I do often consider that I may not be absorbing all of the vits/minerals from it, but I take it and hour after breakfast to aid absorption. I liked the point about not putting things into our mouths until we know whether it works.

Reply

Kristie November 25, 2008

I feel like a see a lot of contradicting info out there about taking vitamins so I’m not completely sure how I feel about it but I guess I’m basically ignoring the negatives for now since I hear about the benefits way more often and I’ve been taking vitamins for a long time now and seem to be doing just fine. I take a multivitamin, Vitamin C and Vitamin D every day.

Reply

Kristie November 25, 2008

I feel like a see a lot of contradicting info out there about taking vitamins so I’m not completely sure how I feel about it but I guess I’m basically ignoring the negatives for now since I hear about the benefits way more often and I’ve been taking vitamins for a long time now and seem to be doing just fine. I take a multivitamin, Vitamin C and Vitamin D every day.

Reply

VeggieGirl November 25, 2008

Sooo glad you’re feeling better!!

I believe that vitamins are what they are – SUPPLEMENTS. THey should not replace eating healthy and taking care of one’s self.

Reply

Maggie November 25, 2008

Glad you’re feeling better :)

That’s really interesting about the antioxidants. I currently take a multivitamin but I’m thinking of switching over to just D and Calcium. Great article!

Reply

Kaneil November 25, 2008

I am amazed that you still worked out, despite your injuries! Now I have NO excuses :)

My boyfriend and I joined 24 hour fitness last night. I ran 3 miles yesterday at a pretty quick pace. Today, I ran a mile, walked at a slight incline for a few minutes, then did an intense 15 minutes on the elliptical. I’m trying to pump up my endurance for the 4 mile Turkey Trot on Thursday!

I’m on the fence about vitamins…

Reply

caitlin November 25, 2008

well, obviously, im going to have to disagree (we do own a supplement website, LOL)… the problem is you ARENT getting the same amount of vitamins from fruits and veggies are you would have 20 years ago or whatnot (due to issues such as overfarming, etc). and just because you feel healthy and appear healthy on generalized testing does not mean you are doing the maximum to maintain your body.

plus, i take stuff like glucosamine, which isnt found naturally in food in any really “eatable” amount, as well as chondrotin, which is the same issue.

Reply

Mariposa November 26, 2008

glad to see you are feeling much better today Angela!maybe all you needed was a “rest” day..

im on the fence about vitamins as well. i take a prenatal vitamin because of the extra folate. i also take vitamin B supplement for an extra boost for my skin and hair (my doc recommended this a couple years ago- to help with skin problems..) and i cant go a week without glucosamine- my knees need it! three or four times a week i also pop a flaxseed oil pill.. i eat mostly fish for “meat” so i dont need too much!

but i dont think we need all these fancy vitamins to stay in tip top shape- as long as you are eating well and working out and have no major health problems a multi-vitamin should do it..

Reply

Lisa's Rant November 26, 2008

We are actually studying vitamins in nutrition class right now and they have definitely been proven to cure diseases back in the day like scurvy (remind you of the oregon trail game? haha). But now a days we have acess to all kinds of fruits and veggies all year round. Plus the government started fortifying foods as well. So all in all you probably get most of your vitamins that you need. I think a multivitamin is helpful but not vital. Personally I forget to take it most of the time.

Reply

Lisa's Rant November 26, 2008

We are actually studying vitamins in nutrition class right now and they have definitely been proven to cure diseases back in the day like scurvy (remind you of the oregon trail game? haha). But now a days we have acess to all kinds of fruits and veggies all year round. Plus the government started fortifying foods as well. So all in all you probably get most of your vitamins that you need. I think a multivitamin is helpful but not vital. Personally I forget to take it most of the time.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: