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Saturday, November 12, 2011

DANGERS OF VITAMIN AND OTHER SUPPLEMENTS

When I travel, I spend a lot of time eating.  It has occurred to me that what I show might not be the ideal example of a balanced meal.  Anyway, Chapter 2 of Simple Solutions for Humanity touches on vitamin and other supplements, my topic for the day, where the latest sense, at least from a TIME article of last month, indicates that your life expectancy could be shortened by these pills (okay, the evidence, at this time, is for older women, but you should be able to read the writing on the wall).  [I've said this now and then, but for those not too familiar with these blog postings, when there is a colored section, sometimes underlined, when you click on it, you get transported to that reference.]

I have a tendency to avoid any pill (I am on cholesterol and high blood pressure medication, but at half potency, and only against my will), and, maybe, that might turn out to be a wise choice.  First, these additives cost money.  Second, you really don't know the long-term implications, especially the effect on  your kidneys, liver and who knows what else.

You've seen the following, some having only been reported over the past few months:

  1.  Those men who take Vitamin E and selenium to prevent prostate cancer actually increased the risk of  getting this ailment.  Vitamin E had a slightly worse effect, but selenium was also implicated.

  2.  Older women who took daily vitamins increased the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

  3.  What about Vitamin D, which is a hormone?  Vitamin D is like "snake oil," for it, supposedly, can prevent rickets and cancer, while treating everything from weak bones to high blood pressure to high cholesterol to diabetes to obesity to muscle weakness to mutiple sclerosis to rheumatoid arthritis to asthma to gum disease to...I can list a dozen more.  It turns out that Vitamin D can do you more harm than good.  Anyway,  6 days of casual sunlight can restore 49 days of no sunlight exposure.  Mind you, if you live at the North Pole in the winter or are so unfortunate as to naturally have a Vitamin D deficiency, as some of our elders, of course, follow doctor's orders.

  4.  Taking more Vitamin A does not reduce your risk of cancer, and taking extreme amounts of anti-oxidants, such as Vitamin A, does more harm than good.

  5.  Vitamin C does prevent scurvy, but does not minimize heart disease NOR prevent colds.  But you are not on the Santa Maria trying to discover America.








6.  What about HGH (human growth hormone)?  Usually known as Somatotropin, large kids in your early age groups, through their pituitary gland, secreted more of this hormone.  All this stops at around the age of 30, or, according to other reports, continues on in lower concentration to the age of 70.  You can lose weight with high levels of somatropin.    Injections of HGH can increase muscle strength (thus is banned in sports), improve endurance, heighten sexual drive, stimulate faster healing and improve your memory.  Injectable GH is not the same molecular formula as the natural one, and there are side effects.  Then there are steroids, which some say are the equivalent of heroin compared to the marijuana of GH.  Some atheletes take GH instead of steroids, as the former cannot easily be detected.  Take any of these as high risk to your future life.  Did Barry Bonds (73 homers) or Mark McGwire (70  homers) take any of these enhancers?  Well Bonds did get a minor hand slap, but McGwire was never convicted.














Is there any good vitamin supplement?  Well, B1, or thiamine, does prevent beriberi, but you should eat some grains and green vegetable anyway.  Surely Vitamin B Complex helps with something?  If you have a folic acid deficiency, and few do, maybe this can prevent a certain type of cancer.  Otherwise, as important as these vitamins are to body growth, there is nothing medically proven to, say, prevent cancer.

Finally it's best to avoid getting a hangover by drinking less ethanol.  However, if you must, some say that these eight vitamins can serve as a yet medically unproven treatment, but, oh, you must do this BEFORE, and, heck, take a pill or two after, too.

In general, balanced meals can go a long way in maintaining your health while saving you some money.  Mind you, balanced also means moderation, unlike some of my meals I've experienced in this blog site.

Oh, two more things about your life.  The fatality rate of motorcyclists is roughly 35 times higher than for car drivers.  It appears that motor biking of this type could well be more dangerous than hang gliding or scuba diving.  But, chances are, all three might well not be particularly safe if you wish to live a more boring but longer life.

Then, second, a surprise of sorts.  According to some latest medical studies, up to 40% of all cancers have a link with viruses.  The good to this is that vaccines can be developed someday for some cancers.  Also, too, from Penn State (site of recent furor), researchers have found a virus capable of killing all grades of breast cancer.

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1 comment:

dan t said...

Hi Pat,

Some of your points are probably valid but this advocate of taking selective and natural supplemets was not swayed by your article to change even slightly my current supplment regimen. To make a long story short, vegetable, fruit and herbal supplemtns insure a completely balnced diet everyday almost regardless of food intake. The cost of these supplements, while modest, is more than offset by better health, better resistance to infectious diseases, better perforance in all endeavers, a greater feeling os self confidence, and perhaps most important--having a hamburger and french fries with all the fixings, without any guilt feelings. Finally you should know that you serve an important purpose with your daily blogs by making your readers aware of different viewpoints of so many aspects of human life.