Are supplements good for you

By: Costillo Shere

There has been a surge in buyer interest in vitamins with the whole supplement market commanding over 6 billion in sales as of 2013. The trend doesn't seem to be slowing down with estimates of an annual growth rate of over 7 percent industry wide. Many people don't query the usefulness of taking exorbitant quantities of supplements. So the topic that physicians have recently begun to ponder is if these vitamins have damaging effects. Has the increasing sales in this business realistically harmed our health or is taking multivitamins the best approach to fighting off ill health and the likes.

A little while ago the Cochran review which provides Independent high-quality evidence for health care decision making reviewed thousands of randomized controlled clinical trials encompassing over 296,000 patients half of which were randomized to take various supplements including beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium and compared them to the other fifty percent of the patients who were set as controls. The study was performed as a randomized double blinded clinical study meaning that neither patients nor medical doctors who providing the medication knew what the pills actually contained which may have been supplements or placedo i.e.)the control cohort receiving placebo pill.

Studies like this have been done already to look at the health effects of supplements with confounding results as they were often without enough patients or were not formulated in such a manner to be able to answer the clinical question. The Current study however has been powered to be able to shed some light on the age old inquisition of whether multivitamins are really good for you.

"The real concern comes into play when you consider that perfectly healthful individuals are taking massive amounts of multivitamins in order to stay healthy" - Dr. Golshani a renowned Los Angeles based interventional oncologist stated. Some dietary supplements are definitely indicated for certain illnesses mutivitamins are essential as the body does not make, digest or utilize certain multivitamins in some diseases. But for the average 30 something multivitamins especially some antioxidants which have been in the past heralded for their disease thwarting powers taking supplements may actually be increasing their risk of cancers.

In early 2008 the Cohran review conducted a smaller study than the current one and did not validate any reason for a healthy adult to take a multivitamin supplement that was not needed for a certain disease or clinical state. This most recent study seems to agree with the findings of the 2008 study on most accounts. Needlessly taking vitamins with beta-carotene and possibly vitamin E and vitamin A were in this very large study associated with an increased risk of mortality. Yes death this means that what we know as the good antioxidants may not be as good for our health as we use to think.

A current review in regards to why this is at he case and why these vitamins are thought to increase cancer and mortality risk is that antioxidants have long been believed to help save cells from early death well in a clinical context cancer cells are cells that occur in our bodies on a regular basis and our bodies have a components to remove these cells but taking vitamins that function as antioxidants can work to also save these malignant cells from being tagged by the bodies normal methods of destroying these rogue cells.

In reality there is no practice yet about whether all or most supplements are detrimental to our health because even in this study several of the tested supplements did not show injurious health effects including the use of vitamin C and Selenium. What we do know is that we need to be cautious in deciding what supplements if any we should be taking

Doctors will be the people most likely to be able to evaluate information about supplements and decide when they are warrented or note. If they are unaware of the health risks or benefits of a certain approach then they can definitely guide you or look into the approach to best practices.

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If you like this review of original health related investigations find more information on our Pogosh website where we assess and review information about health topics like diabetes and the role of supplements in the treatment moderated by a knowledgable doctor.

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