Supplements: Why They Will Destroy Your Health

By Keemia Kaboli on September 11, 2013

The hype for supplements has gotten so big that there are literally entire stores devoted to selling them. In fact, there are now more than 150 million Americans who are relying on dietary supplements for their health and well-being each year, which brought me to the question- is too much of a good thing a bad thing? Turns out, it is.

What Makes Vitamin Supplements So Harmful

When the body is converting food to energy, it needs oxidation, which is why we need vitamins. When doing so, free radicals, which have been linked to cancer, aging of the skin, and heart disease become present. That’s where antioxidants come in; their job is to destroy these invaders. Unfortunately, by taking large quantities of supplemental vitamins, you’re getting an unnatural amount of antioxidants, which destroys the balance between free radical production and destruction, causing your immune system’s defenses to be almost useless.

Pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit is one of the few people that are actually taking a stand against the vitamin industry, from writing a book to going on as many social media platforms as he can to spread the untold truth. Offit explains to the New York Times that “large quantities of vitamins A, E, beta carotene, selenium, those sorts of things, can increase your risk of cancer, increase your risk of heart disease and shorten your life.” Moreover, large amounts of antioxidants like vitamin B-6 can also cause nerve damage, and iron and selenium can become toxic in high doses and poison your body.

The Industry Is Completely Unregulated- Why You Can’t Trust Anything They Say

In 1972, the FDA planned to require supplement manufacturers who sold products “containing more than 150 percent of the recommended daily allowance” to prove that they are safe before they could sell it. Expectedly, the vitamin industry was scared it would ruin their 27 billion dollar business, and sought to destroy the bill. In 1974, another bill was created that now makes it illegal for the FDA to regulate their products. Consequently, there is no way to know for sure how harmful these synthetic pills can be, but there are over 15 studies that have linked vitamin supplements to cancer, heart disease, and shorter life spans.

Dr. Offit recently told CNN that “if vitamins were a regulated industry, you could argue that megavitamins would have a black box warning on them.” The problem is that vitamin manufacturers don’t need to prove that their product use is safe, beneficial, or effective. While the Food and Drug Administration has a list of “tainted products that are marked as dietary supplements,” they only get involved if they find any traces of illegal drugs like steroids, prescription drugs, and undeclared ingredients. This means, for the most part, that you are solely responsible for assessing the dangers of these supplements.

More Is Not Better

 Vitamins live under this notion that you can’t possibly hurt yourself, but you can, by challenging Mother Nature and taking these vitamins and concentrating them to these exceptionally large quantities that you would never normally eat.” -Paul Offit

It’s simple; if you are not malnourished or sick, then you do not need to consume supplements. For the relatively healthy person, enough of the nourishment you need is found in the foods and drinks that are already in your diet. We may not know the exact amount of vitamins we should intake everyday, but we do know that too much of these synthetic supplements can be toxic and unhealthy, so why bother?





By Keemia Kaboli

Uloop Writer
Recent philosophy graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz. I travel, go to shows, read old romantic novels, write, listen to Vampire Weekend, speak a few languages, do pilates, and know a lot of random, useless facts.

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