Time after time, doctors have been exhorting on the usefulness and benefits of vitamins, over and above the minimum daily requirements. As much as scientific studies have tried to confirm this, a slew of recent findings have failed to confirm the benefits.
Take a look at some of them:
- A large clinical trial of almost 15,000 male doctors taking vitamins E and C for up to 10 years has found that neither supplement had any effect on cancer rates, including cancer of the prostate.
- 14,000 doctors took vitamins C & E for 8 years but found they were of no help in heart diseases.
- Last month, a major trial studying whether vitamin E and selenium (the SELECT Trial) could lower a man’s risk for prostate cancer ended amidst worries that the treatments may do more harm than good.
- Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York studied the effects of vitamin C on cancer cells. As it turns out, the vitamin seems to protect not just healthy cells, but cancer cells, too.
I’m not saying vitamins are no good – everyone needs these nutrients to ensure proper body function, but the amounts for this purpose are often adequately found in the normal diet. What we are referring to is the ingestion of mega-doses of vitamins with the hope that its anti-oxidant effects will be good enough to mop up the harmful free radicals produced by the body. There are many patients I know who will swear by large doses of vitamin C to ward off an impending cold (there’s some truth in this, though).
Despite a lack of evidence that vitamins actually work, consumers appear largely unwilling to give them up. And this view appears quite justified as there is a perception that these scientific researches are poorly-designed. And that’s not helped by the recent revelation that many journalists and even radio hosts have benefited from financial incentives from drug companies. Take a look here.