I am writing this under protest.
I really, really don’t feel like it.
However, I must, because:
1) I have literally nothing else to do.
2) It will let me make fun of some people.
3) It will delay the start of my Sunday afternoon binge drinking.
4) I’m overdue for a post.
The Wednesday, July 11 edition of the Chicago Tribune had a nice little article about why taking vitamins and supplements are a complete waste of time.
This is a topic I covered a few years back, albeit as part of another rambling post.
The gist of the article is that there is simply no substitute for eating healthy.
Nutrients that are part of a good diet are far better absorbed and used by the body than a handful of tablets.
Now, this is very disappointing news to most people, because the reality is, we don’t want to eat healthy.
We want to be able to consume whatever crap we want, and then “Poof” take a little pill that’ll make all the bad stuff go away.
It just doesn’t work that way. There is no Panacea in this world.
The concept of vitamin supplementation is based on people being unable to get the vitamins they need through their diet due to poverty, famine, war, etc.
In that setting, vitamins could make the difference between health and disease.
Like the sailors who needed citrus fruit on their long voyages, in order to get vitamin C, to prevent scurvy.
But vitamins are not the only supplements that people use.
Remember when your urine smelled like you had just opened a can of tuna, because all those omega 3’s were so good for your heart?
Well, it turns out, not so much, especially if you don’t have heart disease. There does not appear to be a preventative benefit.
What about soy, black cohosh, turmeric, zinc, etc., etc., etc.?
All those have been shown to be of essentially no value.
Now, I know MANY of you are just screaming at the page saying, “But, Dr. Joe, I took (name your bullshit supplement here) and I was completely cured of my (name your bullshit disease or symptom here).
Yes, I am well aware of that.
Just like you “needed” those antibiotics for your cold.
The fact is, there is definitely a strong placebo affect associated with many supplements.
However, a placebo is not a cure.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I wish some of this worked, because, hell, if I could just take a pill and get skinny, rather than go hungry and work out incessantly, let me tell you, I’d be the first in line.
(Yes, I know meth will have the desired effect, however, it is frowned upon in the establishment where I work.)
Ultimately, nature appears to have no desire to hand us shortcuts. It’s just a fact of life.
So, the next time your good friend tries to sell you on the magic of supplement “X”-STAY SKEPTICAL!
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It may save them a few bucks, and out of gratitude, they’ll buy you a beer.
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Filed under: Health Care