July 12, 2014
BUILT ON A BEDROCK OF LIES:
Are vitamin pills even necessary? (The Week, 7/12/14)
In natural form, they're essential to the proper functioning of our bodies. The term "vitamins" covers a diverse array of molecules that fulfill a huge variety of biochemical functions -- helping human beings to grow, repair damaged tissue, and avoid such diseases as scurvy, rickets, and pellagra. In the modern world, the abundant supply of a wide variety of foods makes it possible to satisfy virtually all nutritional needs by eating a healthful, balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and protein sources. But based on the idea that more of a good thing is better, companies are now selling Americans $12 billion worth of vitamins a year. Many scientists and doctors, however, question the value of gobbling vitamins -- and there is evidence that large doses of some vitamins may actually be harmful. A recent long-term study of more than 400,000 people concluded that "most vitamin supplements [have] no clear benefit" and warned that excess vitamin E and beta-carotene may actually weaken the immune system's ability to kill cancer cells. "The case is closed," the study authors wrote. "Enough is enough."
Posted by Orrin Judd at July 12, 2014 8:13 AM