Jump to content

Don't Be Afraid of Multivitamins, Despite the News

Recommended Posts

http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/ ... cle/357986


. . . . . . . . .

Not too long ago, many people were popping antioxidant pills - certain vitamins, minerals and plant substances (phytonutrients) - with abandon. Antioxidants had earned mega-praise as health insurance in a bottle, credited with fighting everything from heart disease and cancer to sniffles. Now, an analysis of 67 studies involving nearly a quarter of a million people says that big doses of these tablets and capsules are duds... at best.

Does this have anything to do with your daily mainstream multivitamin/mineral, which contains a wide array of antioxidants as well as many other nutrients? No. Don't let the latest medical-study ping-pong match scare you away from a multi... much less from the phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables.

Truth is, when news organizations highlighted the 191-page antioxidant report, important details got lost. Two examples:

* Yes, beta carotene and vitamins A and E (all antioxidants) did raise the risk of death by 4 per cent to 16 per cent, but only in studies involving high doses - more than 15,000 IU of vitamin A and 7,500 IU of vitamin E. That's 3 to 300 times higher than recommended levels - not smart. For instance, we know that too much vitamin A increases your risk of lung and liver cancers, and bone weakening too. (Choose a multi with fewer than 3,500 IU of vitamin A.)

* Meanwhile, selenium didn't seem to affect the risk of dying one way or the other. But as far as living well, selenium appears to lower some cancer risks and increase prostate health.

Also, while evidence against taking high-dose antioxidant supplements has been mounting, so has the support for eating lots of antioxidant-rich foods. One dramatic example: Taking supplements of vitamin A actually raises lung cancer risk in smokers. But new research has found that eating lots of strawberries, apples, beans, onions and Brussels sprouts, and drinking green and black tea - all foods rich in antioxidants - cuts the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

The likely moral of this nutritional story: All of us (not just smokers) need the complex cornucopia of nutrients in real food to fight cell damage and disease.

But since it's easy to get too few antioxidants and other nutrients when you're eating breakfast in the car, lunch at your computer and dinner over the kitchen sink (we're not recommending this, by the way; we're just listening to what you tell us), we believe it's a good idea to take a mainstream multivitamin as an insurance policy against a less-than-perfect diet. It's also a good idea to divide it in two and take it twice a day - it makes it easier for your body to absorb all those nutrients.

As for proceeding with caution with some antioxidants, here are our basic guidelines:

1. If you're taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, be careful with vitamins E and C. These can inhibit the anti-inflammatory component of cholesterol-clearing statins such as Mevacor, Lipitor, Crestor and Pravachol. While they'll still lower your cholesterol, 40 per cent or more of their benefits are anti-inflammatory, and you'd be missing out on those. Avoid taking more than 100 IU of E daily or 100 mg of C twice a day. (This flags another problem with these studies, by the way: They often involved medications that interact with vitamins C and E, but didn't limit the use of the two vitamins.)

2. If you're facing cancer treatment, avoid antioxidant supplements entirely unless your doc tells you specifically it is OK. They may help protect the cancer tissue, so they could make your treatment less effective.

3. If you want to up your intake of phytonutrient-rich foods (of course you do!), shop for fruits and veggies by colour. The brighter and deeper the colour outside (including deep greens), the more phytonutrients are waiting inside. All-stars (in alphabetical order) include apples, bananas, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, citrus, cranberries, dark-coloured beans (like black and kidney beans), figs, peaches, red cabbage, red peppers, spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Aim for at least nine servings of phytonutrient-rich fruits and veggies a day. A diet high in them can help your body combat cancer, heart disease, diabetes and needless aging.

4. If you want a no-calorie way to boost your antioxidant supply, sip tea and coffee. Green and black tea, as well as coffee, are packed with antioxidants. We recommend more than two cups of each per day if you and your doc agree.

. . . . . . . . .

(Telegraph-Journal, By Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, July 19, 2008)


The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not posted as medical advice of any kind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.