I am a firm believer that unless your doctor has prescribed you with specific vitamin due to a deficiency in your body, 95% of vitamins that we take on a daily basis are a complete waste of money.
Remember, the Vitamin industry across the UK is a 200 Billion Pound Industry where millions of people each day take a selection of vitamins that are not helping them in any way.
Vitamin companies across the UK continually advertise the benefits of taking vitamins to supplement your diet, however medical research over the last 20 years a not found any evidence that taking a broad range of vitamins and food supplements does any significant good to your health.
In a research note by the Annals of Internal Medicine focused on testing the effects of Multi-Vitamins on over 400,000 people in 27 separate trials, the results show that people who took multi-vitamins on a daily basis did not live longer, have fewer cases of cancer or heart disease or have a noticeably better quality of life than those who did not take vitamins.
More recently, a research note published in the Journal of American Medical Research discussed recent research on 6,000 men that were either given a placebo or a special supplement touted for its brain protecting abilities. The research found that the difference between the groups who took a placebo and those that took one of four different types of brain supporting vitamins was zero and therefore was no deceased rate of brain disease by those that took the supplements, from those that took the placebo.
Why Does Taking Vitamin Supplements Not Work?
This needs more research, however the general feeling stems from the fact that specific vitamins in a concentrated form which the body does not have the ability to absorb.
When you take a tablet, your taking a concentrated pill of vitamins that in theory should be absorbed directly in to the blood stream. In reality, this is not the case, the body simply does not know what to do with these excess vitamins and simply passes then outwards.
When you eat a vegetable such as Broccoli, your not only getting vitamins that the body needs, but you’re also getting minerals such as phytochemicals which the body needs to power itself. Given it’s not a direct concentrated source of vitamins, the body had a chance to absorb the goodness into the blood streams and thus you can feel the effect over the long term.
What Vitamins Should I Take
That all said, there are a few vitamins that are hard to get from your food and therefore you should think about taking supplements in addition to a balance diet. In this section we’re looking at vitamins – those you should be taking and those you can leave on the shelf.
Multi-Vitamins – Skip Them
For decades so called medical nutritionists have spoken out about the benefits of taking Multi-Vitamins on a daily basis to balance out any mineral deficiencies from your diet. The honest truth is that you’re doing more harm than good and simply a by eating a balance diet, exercising and sleeping properly, you will get all the minerals that these multi-vitamin packs give you.
Vitamin D – Take It Especially in the Winter in The UK
This is one vitamin that i would be taking especially living in the UK. Vitamin D keeps our bones strong by allowing our body to absorb calcium. Sunlight also helps our body produce vitamin D, however the problem with living in the UK especially in the winter, we don’t have any sunlight. Recent medical research in the UK has shown that those who take Vitamin D on a daily basis lived longer than those who did not.
Antioxidants: Skip them
Antioxidants can help cleanse the kidneys and prevent the formation of kidney stones, but that does not meant that you should be taking antioxidant supplements on daily basis. Medical research has shown that excess antioxidants in the body has been linked cancer and whilst i would recommend that you eat berries as part of your diet, supplements are not needed.
Vitamin C: Skip it
For years a common myth surrounding colds and flu’s is that it’s caused due to the body having a low Vitamin C concentration, however recent studies have shown that Vitamin C does nothing to prevent flu’s or colds and can actually cause you more harm that good. Excess Vitamin C in the body has also been linked to kidney stones forming which are hard and very painful to remove. If you’re worried about Vitamin C deficiency, its much better to drink fresh orange juice or eat strawberries as these are packed with nutrients including Vitamin C.
Vitamin B3: Skip it
Another supplement myth that for years as been promoted as a cure to everything from heart disease to brain cancer, however recent studies have shown that patients who suffer from heart disease show no reduction in heart attacks whether they take vitamin B supplements or not. Whilst not proven to date, medical research also shows that there is a link between Vitamin B supplements and patients that develop infections and internal bleeding. It’s much better to eat salmon or tuna on a regular basis as part of a well balanced diet.
Probiotics: Skip them
Probiotics are those expensive yogurt drinks that you see advertised on the television that aim to put healthy bacteria back into the body and support the billions of bacteria living in your gut. The only problem is that there is no medical research to show that they have any effect on the gut and more likely it’s another big business market that has been dreamed up by a few very clever marketing specialists.
Some patients i have met in the passed swear by them and maybe there will be some medical research done in the future that will support this, however until this happens, stay away from the one pound pots of yogurt and simple buy natural organic yogurt that will do exactly the same job.
Homeopathic Remedies: Skip It
Very similar to Probiotics above, their is no medical research to show that Homeopathic remedies add any value to the body and it’s likely they are just another money-spinning marketing supplement. If medical research proves they add any value to the body in the future, then we can look again, but today you’re wasting your money.
Zinc: Take it
Medical research has shown that zinc has the ability to interfere with the bugs that cause a common cold (Rhinoviruses) and can actually shorten the time the body takes to get over a cold. In a 2011 study of people who had just started feeling the effects of a cold, people that took zinc supplements got over the cold quicker and with less severity of symptoms than those that did not.
Vitamin E: Skip it
I would skip antioxidants altogether as i have mentioned above and given Vitamin E is part of this group of nutrients I would skip it to. Vitamin E is found in all dark-green leafy foods such as spinach and whilst it does have some ability to protect again cancer, medical research has shown that excess vitamin E increases the risk of prostate cancer in men and overall death in women who have high levels of vitamin E in their bodies.
Folic Acid – Take It If Your Pregnant
Folic acid is totally useless for men, however the National Institutes of Health recommends that women who are trying to get pregnant or who are already pregnant should be taking 350 Micrograms daily as part of their balance diet. The research shows that folic acid helps the body to make new cells which will be in great demand with pregnant women. Not only will it help the fetus grow, but also help reduce birth defects such as brain growth or spinal cord problems.
Protein Powder – Skip it
For the average person it will have no effect on muscle gain whether you drink protein powder or not. For the average person trying to get fit in the gym, a well balance diet with plenty of meat, bean nuts and fish will give the body all the protein that it needs to build muscle. Yes if you’re a professional body builder, then you will need to take additional protein supplements to support your muscles, however protein drinks will cause………..problems for the average person.
Creatine – Skip it
Very similar to protein power above, if you’re a professional athlete then taking creatine is probably worth it, however medical research to date has only proved that taking creatine supplements has a small effect on short-intensity workouts and no effect on other types of workout such as endurance or longer workouts.
Weight-loss pills – Skip It
Weigh loss pills sound like the dream ticket and will allow you to sit on the sofa and burn fat, however there is no medical research to support this. Weight loss pills typically contain caffeine and other metabolism increasing drugs which in principle help to speed up the bodies metabolism and burn fat, however the side effects are unknown and there are no long term studies to show that caffeine helps with sustain weight loss. You would do not much better to go for a 30 minute walk three times a week than take weight loss pills despite the fantastic marketing efforts.
Green Tea Extract – Try it If You Want
Green team contains a chemical compound called epigallocatechin gallate which has been linked in medical research to reducing the cells of cancer, however whilst the research is fairly small, it’s generally considered to be safe to drink and will do you know harm. The easiest way to consume green tea is to drink it as you would with a normal tea, however it’s available in pill form as well.
Omega 3 – Skip It
Medical research has shown that omega-3 fats that are contained in fish oil can boost brain activity and help concentration, however the research is limited and mixed with some voting for the benefits and some suggesting their is little or no benefit.