I’ve became interested in the science based use of vitamins after a former colleague of mine decided that she wanted to become an “independent consultant” for a vitamin company. I become to question her recommending to every one of her clients that they need to have certain kind of vitamins and then proceeded to sell the produce that she was a consultant.
The whole experienced rubbed me the wrong way, for a variety of ethical reasons, one of which is using your medical education to falsely represent the current data on the use of vitamins.
I don’t have a problem with the appropriate use of supplements. They are useful when they are appropriate, but unnecessary in the healthy diet. Vitamin C and Scurvy is a perfect example when supplementation can help improve health and decrease the risk of disease.
Admittedly, I am taking the following information from a great blog post over at sciencebasedmedicine.org (https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/vitamins-and-cancer-risk/). It’s a great overview of the information that’s out there, and it’s worth repeating here about the current science based recommendations on the use of vitamins.
• Do not use vitamins as a substitute for an overall healthful diet. Try to get your vitamins and minerals through a well-rounded diet with sufficient fruits and vegetables.
• Routine supplementation in healthy individuals is unnecessary.
• Do not take mega doses or even exceed recommended doses of vitamins or minerals. The evidence suggests this can be harmful.
• Targeted supplementation of specific vitamins at correct doses in specific individuals or populations can be beneficial.
• For targeted supplementation (such as folic acid in women of child-bearing age) follow accepted guidelines, or the advice of your physician. Often physicians will directly measure the blood level of specific vitamins and supplement accordingly.
It should be noted that increase use of certain vitamins actually increase your risk of mortality, stroke, and cancer.