Vitamins 'may shorten your life' - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-16-2008, 04:45 PM
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Hope this hasn't already been posted - I couldn't see it - but sorry if it's a repeat!!



Very interesting review from the Cochrane Group - one of the most respected sources of medical/health research reviews - about the effects of antioxidant supplementation.



Strangely enough, the Health Supplements Information Service (representing companies that sell supplements), say that many people are "simply not able to get everything they needed from their diet." Hmmmm, perhaps if so much of many people's diets weren't filled up with meat/dairy/eggs, there'd be more room in their stomachs for the plant foods that provide the range of macro- and micronutrients that we need, in the right packages and in the right amounts!!! Just a thought.



Before I get rocks thrown at me, yes, B12 supplements for long-term vegans are a good idea.



Link to BBC story



Vitamins 'may shorten your life'



Research has suggested vitamin supplements do not extend life and could even lead to a premature death.



A review of 67 studies found "no convincing evidence" that antioxidant supplements cut the risk of dying.



Scientists at Copenhagen University said vitamins A and E could interfere with the body's natural defences.



"Even more, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E seem to increase mortality," according to the review by the respected Cochrane Collaboration.



The research involved selecting various studies from 817 on beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium which the team felt were the most likely to fairly reflect the benefits of the supplements.



It has been thought that these supplements may be able to prevent damage to the body's tissues called "oxidative stress" by eliminating the molecules called "free radicals" which are said to cause it.



This damage has been implicated in several major diseases including cancer and heart disease.



'Just eat well'



The trials involved 233,000 people who were either sick or were healthy and taking supplements for disease prevention.



After various factors were taken into account and a further 20 studies excluded, the researchers linked vitamin A supplements to a 16% increased risk of dying, beta-carotene to a 7% increased risk and vitamin E to a 4% increased risk.



Vitamin C did not appear to have any effect one way or the other, and the team said more work was needed into this supplement - as well as into selenium.



In conclusion, "we found no evidence to support antioxidant supplements for primary or secondary prevention," they said.



It was unclear exactly why the supplements could have this effect, but the team speculated that they could interfere with how the body works: beta-carotene, for instance, is thought to change the way a body uses fats.



The Department of Health said people should try to get the vitamins they need from their diet, and avoid taking large doses of supplements - a market which is worth over £330m in the UK.



"There is a need to exercise caution in the use of high doses of purified supplements of vitamins, including antioxidant vitamins, and minerals," a spokesperson said.



"Their impact on long-term health may not have been fully established and they cannot be assumed to be without risk."
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#2 Old 04-17-2008, 02:12 PM
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its not vitamins that may shorten your life, its taking 500% of your RDA
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#3 Old 04-17-2008, 02:26 PM
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A review of 67 studies found "no convincing evidence" that antioxidant supplements cut the risk of dying.

This is a fallacy. A lack of evidence cannot prove the opposite. For example, lets assume that A causes B. If you don't have A, that doesn't mean you don't have B. You know nothing about B.

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#4 Old 04-17-2008, 02:37 PM
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its not vitamins that may shorten your life, its taking 500% of your RDA

Yeah, it's a well-known fact that vitamin A is one of the vitamins that can lead to "vitamin poisoning" if taken in excess. It makes you wonder, though, which vitamins - if any - can safely be taken in excess? What about B12, for example? At least in the US I know this is commonly sold in mega-doses.

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#5 Old 04-17-2008, 02:55 PM
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Only the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K can be overdosed on. The B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble, so any excess is excreted though the urine.

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#6 Old 04-17-2008, 03:00 PM
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It's funny, I avoided taking supplements because I agreed 100% with the assessment of this story.



And it turns out I am vitamin D deficient and low on B12.



So I think you can't just lay a blanket statement that 'all vitamins are bad.' I do think that people need to be more selective with their vitamins. I think it's better to just supplement what you actually need then to use blanket multivitamins.
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#7 Old 04-17-2008, 04:35 PM
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I always thought your body just flushed out any excess vitamin C so that should be safe? I know excess iron is dangerous (though I guess that's a mineral).



Blaming meat for people's malnutrition is over-simplifying the issue. Meat and eggs can be part of a healthy diet and there are plenty of other factors that may contribute to a need for many to supplement their diets, such as modern agriculture and other lifestyle factors.
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#8 Old 04-17-2008, 05:18 PM
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#9 Old 04-17-2008, 06:35 PM
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This thread was made over three hours before that one.





Anyway, most vitamin "supplements" contain 100% of the RDA... That means that if you're eating anything with nutritional content, you're getting more than you should, and that adds up. No wonder people might be taking too much



Perhaps they should have around 30% of what you need daily, so you're still inclined to find nutrition in healthy foods, too! Kind of what's in fortified soy milk. Not too much of anything; enough to supplement, not replace!
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#10 Old 04-17-2008, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waikikamukau View Post

This thread was made over three hours before that one.



My bad, I should have posted the link to this one over there. Regardless, perhaps a mod can merge them.



Quote:

Anyway, most vitamin "supplements" contain 100% of the RDA... That means that if you're eating anything with nutritional content, you're getting more than you should, and that adds up. No wonder people might be taking too much



Perhaps they should have around 30% of what you need daily, so you're still inclined to find nutrition in healthy foods, too! Kind of what's in fortified soy milk. Not too much of anything; enough to supplement, not replace!



The nutrients you get from food act differently in the body than those from supplements. Your body can usually only absorb so much at a time, so getting 100% in a supplement doesn't necessarily mean you're going to absorb 100%. Another thing to consider is interaction between the vitamins/minerals in the supplement that could hinder the absorption.



It's practically impossible to get too much of a vitamin/mineral from whole food sources. Seeing as the toxic levels for most vitamins and minerals are well above what you could get from your diet and one multivitamin a day, it's not generally an issue and for many people, a multivitamin is just good nutritional insurance. Ideally everyone would get everything they need from food, but the world isn't ideal, is it?
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#11 Old 04-17-2008, 07:32 PM
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It's practically impossible to get too much of a vitamin/mineral from whole food sources. Seeing as the toxic levels for most vitamins and minerals are well above what you could get from your diet and one multivitamin a day, it's not generally an issue and for many people, a multivitamin is just good nutritional insurance. Ideally everyone would get everything they need from food, but the world isn't ideal, is it?



Yes, but we're still not entirely sure what taking these supplements for the majority of life will do to someone. Although the same can be said for all medication...



I know they aren't an ideal delivery source, and it's better to be a bit over than a lot under, but still... I think good nutrition should probably be promoted over multivitamins, but... Well, that isn't as big business, I suppose.
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#12 Old 04-17-2008, 07:45 PM
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Yes, but we're still not entirely sure what taking these supplements for the majority of life will do to someone. Although the same can be said for all medication...



I know they aren't an ideal delivery source, and it's better to be a bit over than a lot under, but still... I think good nutrition should probably be promoted over multivitamins, but... Well, that isn't as big business, I suppose.



The ideal never occurs 100% of the time



The way I look at it is this: we know the consequences of vitamin and mineral deficiencies - they are real and sometimes have serious consequences for those afflicted. As for the risks of taking a daily multivitamin - it still seems to be up in the air, but the benefits for someone with an inadequate diet seem to outweigh the risks. As I stated in the other thread, I personally do not take a multivitamin as I like to believe I am getting what I need from my diet However, there are many people who are uncertain or do not eat a balanced diet and choose to take a multivitamin. For these people, the risks of deficiency are real while the risks of taking a multivitamin are not so apparent.
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#13 Old 04-17-2008, 07:50 PM
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However, there are many people who are uncertain or do not eat a balanced diet and choose to take a multivitamin. For these people, the risks of deficiency are real while the risks of taking a multivitamin are not so apparent.



Oh, I agree with you... I don't think we should ban multivitamins. I'm sure they're doing a lot of good for a lot of people. It's just that those people could be doing good for themselves, instead. I know, not happening
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#14 Old 04-17-2008, 07:53 PM
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Oh, I agree with you... I don't think we should ban multivitamins. I'm sure they're doing a lot of good for a lot of people. It's just that those people could be doing good for themselves, instead. I know, not happening



Oh trust me, I know!!!



I spoke with someone one day with diabetes and a heart condition. He explained his diet to me. I recommended changes. He didn't want to give up his fried chicken, not to save his life. Sadly, this is just one of many examples. Very few of the people I talk to on a daily basis have any interest in changing their diet. Offer them a "cure all" drug, however, and they're all over that.
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#15 Old 04-20-2008, 05:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waikikamukau View Post

This thread was made over three hours before that one.





Anyway, most vitamin "supplements" contain 100% of the RDA... That means that if you're eating anything with nutritional content, you're getting more than you should, and that adds up. No wonder people might be taking too much



Perhaps they should have around 30% of what you need daily, so you're still inclined to find nutrition in healthy foods, too! Kind of what's in fortified soy milk. Not too much of anything; enough to supplement, not replace!



thats why i take a multi-vitamin that is staggered, so it gives you a small amount of things that are in many foods and larger amounts of things that are not in foods as often. for example, it only contains 5% RDA of vitamin C, but 79% RDA of B3. It does not contain a 100% RDA (or higher) dose of anything. Im confident that my diet gives me most of what i need, so it does me fine
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#16 Old 04-20-2008, 07:53 PM
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It's important to avoid supplements with Vitamin A. Dr. Joel Fuhrman has been recommending that for years.



It is recommended that Vitamin D intake be increased and Calcium supplementation decreased. Vitamin D will make absorption of calcium more efficient
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#17 Old 04-21-2008, 05:24 PM
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Interesting critique of the study in question.



Apparently...



Quote:
Looking at the details of the new analysis shows us that 67 randomised clinical trials were included, focussing on beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium supplements versus placebo.



But amazingly, 748 trials were excluded for several reasons, including 405 trials that showed no mortality in the study groups. I attempted to contact the lead reviewer for his comments on why they had excluded 405 death-free trials, asking whether such an exclusion would skew results towards increased death statistics… I am still awaiting a reply.

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#18 Old 04-22-2008, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by fyvel View Post

Interesting critique of the study in question.



Apparently...



I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't have time to review all the studies that were included and excluded to judge whether there was unacceptable bias in the selection. But if it came down to choosing whether the Cochrane Group or a multinational food industry organisation like Food Navigator was more biased, I know which I'd pick.
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#19 Old 04-22-2008, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ksfc View Post

I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't have time to review all the studies that were included and excluded to judge whether there was unacceptable bias in the selection. But if it came down to choosing whether the Cochrane Group or a multinational food industry organisation like Food Navigator was more biased, I know which I'd pick.



Regardless of where the critique is coming from, it's an interesting one. I for one would be interested in knowing if studies were excluded simply because there were no mortalities, and if so, why?



There are other critiques as well, which you can read here. I find it all very interesting.



As for the critiques, well, if the science in their review was sound, it should stand up to those critiques. That's what science is about - constantly questioning things. It doesn't really matter where the critique is coming from. If they used sound methods, they should be able to answer to these criticisms.
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#20 Old 04-22-2008, 10:22 AM
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Is this for all supplement products, or just vitamins? There's been so many different studies on something like this that conflicts with others that I just don't know what to believe anymore.
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#21 Old 04-28-2008, 09:20 AM
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A view on the OP .



http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/com...cle3827719.ece



Which is more likely to be reliable, a news story in The Times or a peer-reviewed paper in The Lancet? As the recent volte-face over the dangers of vitamin supplements shows, the newspaper story may be the more credible.

Peer-reviewed science is forever doing these volte-face (can you remember if coffee is good or bad for you this week?) but The Times is not suddenly going to announce that, er, sorry, it has discovered that China is in fact a parliamentary democracy.

Peer review is the modern sacred cow. Has it been peer-reviewed? people ask, breathlessly, when presented with a finding. But peer review is not definitive.

In a recent letter to the journal Science, Robert Zucker, of the University of California, explained the rules of peer review. Basically, they are: Give the guy a break. Professor Zucker wrote: Do not reject a paper with a brilliant new idea simply because the evidence is not as comprehensive as could be imagined.

You might suppose no scientist would publish a brilliant new idea (vitamin supplements kill you) without comprehensively validating it, yet the vitamin paper did not report what the patients died of.

Actually, no one knows. This is very uncomprehensive evidence indeed, because when we do eventually discover the causes of death, we may learn they owe nothing to vitamins, and science will do yet another volte-face.

Professor Zucker also wrote: Authors need not exclude every possible explanation for their results. The vitamin paper was not an original study, but simply an overview of 67 previously published reports in which someone died while taking supplements. But the study ignored 405 other reports in which nobody died, so one possible explanation for the results is that the authors omitted inconvenient data. The authors dismissed the omission with hypothetical statistics, yet the paper passed peer review
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#22 Old 05-03-2008, 01:32 AM
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I've actually heard things like this for years now. I think people overdo it with the vitamins. I couldn't imagine taking 400% more of 1 vitamin than I need a day. Can you say... constipation?



Has anyone here considered taking childrens vitamins? That's what I do. The daily values usually range from 10-60%, which is perfect if you're eating even a semi-balanced diet.
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#23 Old 05-03-2008, 01:46 AM
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Has anyone here considered taking childrens vitamins? That's what I do. The daily values usually range from 10-60%, which is perfect if you're eating even a semi-balanced diet.



I was thinking of doing that, too. ...hmm... looking up flintstone vitamins.



aww gelatin



Oh well.



And wait-a-minute! You're a chinchilla, of course children's vitamins are enough for you! You're probably overdosing horribly!!!
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#24 Old 05-03-2008, 08:27 AM
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I was eating the Target childrens multivitamins until I went veg.



Nutrition Now Rhino Gummy Bear Vitamins (This is the brand I took until I got poor)



Yeah, us chinchillas gotta watch out!
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#25 Old 05-04-2008, 04:05 PM
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Yeah, I used to periodically take kids' vitamins. Then I started tracking what I eat on FitDay and realised that I'm getting my rec amounts of virtually everything with what I eat, and I do no nutritional planning whatsoever. Unless you count totally avoiding all free oils/fats, rarely eating high fat plant foods, and trying to eat as much of the food in relatively unprocessed form (e.g. bread or pasta 1-2 week, not daily). The only vitamins/minerals I'm "low" on are more related to the inflated recommendations for a high fat animal-based diet than being physiologically low (calcium and Vitamin E). All the rest sit around 100% or way over.
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#26 Old 05-04-2008, 04:22 PM
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I think that vitamins supplements are like miracle grow for the human body. Although this sounds ideal, in fact, miracle grow is bad for plants and stresses out the cells abnormally, which is what human and animal vitamins do. I feel that getting your vitamins from full range "antioxidant" type fruit juice-- juice with a bunch of varied ingredients-- is as good as any pill. I don't agree with the insurance idea because they only usually insure against things that will never happen, or have little chance of happening. Insurance metaphors are usually not good to use. The common "Western" diet if varied with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables does not need vitamins, and I sort of agree with the people who wrote the report. So by eating a greater "variety" of things, you are essentially taking "vitamins."
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#27 Old 05-04-2008, 06:12 PM
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My wife and I do a half-serving of children's chewable vitamins every day. It seemed like a good compromise to cover any potential gaps.
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#28 Old 05-04-2008, 06:36 PM
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epski!
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#29 Old 05-06-2008, 04:43 PM
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Hi, Wolfie.
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