Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When Supplements Hurt Us

As a health educator, I side with the diet and nutrition experts who declare that the best place to get our essential  vitamins and minerals is in our diets, on our plates.  As a health educator, I compete with the supplement (vitamin) industry which has billions of dollars to use to convince the public otherwise.  In fact, there is little, if any, evidence that vitamins and minerals in pill form do our bodies good and growing evidence that they do us harm.

In a new study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, vitamin E is found to be harmful (again).  This particular finding is especially important as it gets at the heart of why people take vitamin E pills or capsules in the first place.  

People believe that vitamin E slows the physical aging process and the outside appearance of aging.  There is no proof of this.  Considering aging, one of the most devastating illness of late life is osteoporosis - sometimes called brittle bone disease or the silent killer.  This study links vitamin E supplementation with bone thinning, bone loss and in effect, osteoporosis.  

The research abstract is quite scientific and I am sure you can find a popular press overview that is easier to read, but you will not find a different conclusion.  Vitamin E is harmful.

By no means should you despair.  Stop taking the pills, of course, but know this:

There is a way to increase successful aging and keep a youthful appearance.  Don't smoke, don't tan, eat a diet high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, monounsaturated fats and fish  & exercise daily.  It's a formula for health.

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