Friday, May 15, 2009

Relishing the News

I have gradually grown to oppose dietary supplements, culminating in my history of medicine paper documenting the history of the industry (which is quite interesting). I rarely do double posts on the medical blog, but felt compelled to share a recent article. In this article, it has been found that those who take vitamin C and E supplements do not receive some of the benefits of exercise, such as increased resistance to oxidation and better control of insulin production. To spare the nitty gritty, it stems from vitamin C and E neutralizing the oxygen radicals produced from muscles respiring. As a result, the body does not receive damage from the radicals and therefore does not launch a response to the oxidation - the vitamins took care of the problem. This is not to say that antioxidants are bad, but just that megadoses of vitamins C and E is not a good option.

This is just one of many recent studies disproving the long-term health benefits of vitamins C and E in preventing heart attacks and cancer, as well as the lack of long-term benefits from taking a daily multivitamin. Like with weight loss, people always want fast, easy solutions to difficult problems, and the artificial solutions are almost always worse than the natural solution. Want to lose weight? Take ephedrine or hydroxy-cut and get a heart attack. Want to eat what you want without gaining weight? Binge and purge, while your teeth rot out. Want to eat more junk food and less fruits and vegetables? Pop a multivitamin and lose money and the benefits conferred from actual food. When it comes to one's long-term health, there is no magic solution, and people seem to refuse to acknowledge that. In an age of instant-gratification, perfect health is still unattainable at the click of a button.

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