Why shouldn’t I take supplements?

Most of the advice I see relates to why you should take vitamin supplements as if more must be better.

The question you should really be asking is at what cost? Every action has consequences and do you really know the consequences when you pop that vitamin pill? Could you in fact be making yourself weaker

This post is from a response to my article why I know I get enough vitamins and what to do if I don’t where my wife asked the excellent question

“why shouldn’t I take supplements? You explain a little about the book you talk about but nothing about why I shouldn’t take vitamins”

This is a good point because in trying to keep each post short and particularly because I have so little time to devote to writing I rarely get to explore a question or statement properly.

So here is my two cents on why you should only take vitamins if you really need them

  • Some vitamins, particularly the fat soluble ones, are toxic if you take too much
  • you may already be getting enough: Many nutrients like vitamin D are added to common foods like milk, margarine and grains so you may already be getting some
  • increases in one chemical or nutrient almost always affect uptake and use of others. The caffeine in tea and coffee for example prevents uptake of the calcium in any milk present
  • you pee most of it out, particularly water soluble vitamins B and C, many studies report that excesses are just pee’d out
  • you may increase the risk of kidney stones or liver problems, kidney stones are formed when nutrients bind together instead of getting excreted. Excess vitamins have been with linked with risk for increased kidney stones. The liver has the same problem as like the kidney it is dedicated to processing nutrients and waste.
  • It may not be a problem of supply: You may be getting enough of the vitamin but you simply don’t make use of it. Studies on osteoporosis found that patients on an exercise and calcium diet built stronger bones than those on a calcium diet alone. Further research confirmed that the effects of movement were to make the body use calcium more efficiently instead of excreting it out. The same is likely to be true of vitamins.
  • you may not be fit enough: Yep, fitness is about your body working as it should. Two of the B vitamins (Riboflavin and Niacin) are directly involved in turning food energy into ATP, energy the body uses, the fitter you get the more demand for these vitamins there is and the more the body focuses on using them properly.
  • If you add vitamins to your diet then your body could get lazy in its ability to extract those vitamins from your diet and thus you become dependent on the vitamins you’ve now added even though you didn’t need them in the first place. This is true of excess water, sugar, protein, in fact anything supplied in food. Why would this not be the case for vitamins?

These are just a few reasons but given time I could really elaborate. You see this is about the much deeper issue of understanding the implications one small change can make on the intricate workings of your body.

I will summarise it this way

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

Billions of pounds are made by the supplements industry every year so it is very important that the industry continually convince you that you need their products. It’s the oldest method of marketing “reasonable doubt” the idea that it couldn’t do any harm.

Depending on reports the US nutritional supplements made between $32 billion or $16 Billion in 2013. I got tired looking for exact reliable figures then realised the point was to show you that lots of money rides on your acceptance of the idea that your body is broken along with those of who you give supplements to.

Make no mistake, entire industries like tobacco for example have been built on the notion of “what harm can it do?”. So I am saying that if it is so important then it’s also worth you reading up a little on the subject, and make sure you read something written by someone who knows the topic well but does not stand to benefit from your decision.

Just sayin 😉

Once again I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about your body.

Until next time have a great day.

Colin

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