12 Ways Vitamins Are Doing You More Harm Than Good
Think those extra vitamins can't be doing you any harm? Think again.
Your body definitely needs vitamins to survive. But do you need to take vitamin supplements?
Probably not. Most people can get everything they need from a varied enough diet.
In fact, if you don't have a specific need, rather than being a harmless daily fix, popping vitamin pills could be damaging your health.
1. No public health organisation recommends taking supplements if you're generally healthy.
2. Vitamin C won’t help your cold.
3. The idea that vitamin C can cure a cold was spread by two-time Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling, long after scientists knew it wasn't true.
At the age of 65 Pauling was told by self-styled “biochemist” Irwin Stone (whose training consisted of two years of chemistry in college) that if he took 2000mg of Vitamin C a day, he’d live for another 25 years.
Pauling took the advice, even increasing the amount until he was on to 18,000mg a day a few years later, and in 1970 wrote a book urging others to do the same.
4. Pauling went on to advocate high doses of vitamins as cures for other diseases, including cancer and AIDS.
5. In fact, regularly taking vitamin E or beta-carotene could make you more likely to die of cancer or heart disease.
6. Regular, high doses of vitamin A when you're young can make you more likely to fracture bones later on in life.
7. Long term use of vitamin A and/or selenium can increase men's risk of prostate cancer.
8. Vitamin B6 can cause severe nerve damage if you take high doses for a year or more.
9. Too much of the mineral zinc, rather than helping your immune system, can actually reduce its function.
10. Multivitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper supplements have all been associated with increased risk of death in older women.
The increased risk of mortality was associated with beta-carotene and possibly vitamin E and vitamin A, but was not associated with the use of vitamin C or selenium. The current evidence does not support the use of antioxidant supplements in the general population or in patients with various diseases.