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Superbolic

Is your multivitamin hurting you?

Fatality

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Do you take antioxidants or a regular multivitamin? Turns out you might not need to, according to new research in the Cochrane Review that refutes the long-held belief that antioxidants prevent disease or cancer.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of existing studies, pertaining to more than 200,000 people, and found that antioxidant supplements--vitamins A, C, and E; beta-carotene; and selenium--do not prevent heart disease or cancer, do not forestall death, and may even increase mortality risk slightly.

But the phrase "may increase mortality risk slightly" is important to put any risk in context. Given the large pool of people analyzed, researchers would have noticed right away if there was any significant risk of death associated with the supplements. So if all we have is a hint of modest harm, the risk is clearly quite small.

This finding is disappointing and counter-intuitive. How can antioxidant supplements fail to help us and maybe even harm us slightly?

There are several likely answers. First, we may have the doses wrong. Just because some of a thing is good does not mean more is better. Second, maybe we have the wrong combinations. Antioxidants in foods come packaged with many other nutrients, and they all work together. When we separate that harmony, we may wind up with sour notes. Third, the participants in most of these trials were already ill. Perhaps antioxidants have different effects before chronic disease begins. They might even help prevent disease if taken earlier.

In general, my advice about a supplement is to remember it's not a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. Use supplements thoughtfully. Talk to your doctor to be sure there is a sound reason, tailored to your health, for each one you take. Don’t assume that just because a clever ad makes a supplement sound good that it truly is.

I take an Omega-3 fish oil supplement every day, and recommend the same for most of my patients. I believe a multivitamin or mineral supplement is a good idea for many of us, despite a lack of research that shows a clear benefit. (I also like a supplement called Juice Plus, which compresses the nutrients from fruits and vegetables into capsule form, while preserving their native proportions.)

Based on the science we have at present, there is no reason to fear any antioxidant supplements you may have been taking--the potential for harm is minimal. But remember: No pill bottle holds an alternative for a healthy, active lifestyle.

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/is-your-multivitamin-hurting-you-3f-160328/

by David Katz, MD, PREVENTION, on Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:40am PDT
 

The Creator

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It is very difficult to take so much of a vitamin that it is harmful due to its relatively short life in the body and the fact that, in excess, it will be excreted. Selenium has been proven to have many positive health benefits and the recommended dose can be found in one shelled brasil nut. It is important that selenium consumption be regulated as it is proven to be harmful when taken in excess, however, most people do not need to fear an overdose of this unless (for example) you eat brasil nuts like a drunk baseball fan eats peanuts. Antioxidants are very important and have many proven health benifits when consumed as is recommended. Antioxidants do have many disease fighting agents.
Good article. All in all, finding these things in your diet is best but if that does not suffice, supplementing these things will very likely benefit health and not be detrimental.
 

<3Frosty

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I couldnt really agree more with you Creator. However, antioxidants do have a bit of a controversy when it comes to how people view their benefits. Are free radicals THAT bad? If we take a supplement or a food source that has lots of antioxidants, is this good for our body to have instead of it fending them off itself? Specifically this is for post workout.


This is where the controversy arises.


Great read none-the-less. If anything, a multi-vitamin has a placebo effect that most can at least attest to. I know i feel great when i get back on a multi after a brief period of not being on one.
 

jornT

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It is very difficult to take so much of a vitamin that it is harmful due to its relatively short life in the body and the fact that, in excess, it will be excreted.

Only the water soluble ones.

however, most people do not need to fear an overdose of this unless (for example) you eat brasil nuts like a drunk baseball fan eats peanuts.

Or supplements...which is what we're talking about here.
You don't want too supplement with selenium anyway because most of them are dosed too high which increase the risk for diabetes.

Antioxidants do have many disease fighting agents.

This makes no sense. Antioxidant is a disease fighting agent (depending on the situation), it doesn't have agents.

The key side effects of vitamin A are associated with a lack of vitamin D, which most people, including athletes are deficient in.

Almost all research done on vitamin E is done on alpha-tocopherol, which lowers the amount of gamma-tocopherol in the body. So if you supplement vitamine E, you must look at both the absolute amounts of both forms as the ratio.
 

<3Frosty

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Lets be honest here. Athletes, from what i have read and seen myself, have only slightly better eating habits than the average joe.

You would think that in this day and age of elite level athletes and the money they can make, nutrition would be an enormous part of their daily lives. Unfortunately, alot of athletes, even at the elite levels, dont know anything more about nutrition than your mom or dad.
 
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