Clients and students often ask me what type of vitamin and mineral supplements I take. It’s simple… I don’t take any. But, I used to take a lot! Before taking charge of my health, I spent thousands of dollars buying vitamin and mineral supplements to help make up for my dietary deficiencies and lack of knowledge about good nutrition.
The supplement industry is a BIG industry and is making millions (probably more like billions) of dollars annually, catering to folks like you and me who are concerned about health. I used to believe supplementation could help heal my ailments and make up for my lack of proper nourishment and/or understanding of food. Boy, was I mistaken! I wasted a lot of money chasing wild claims and may have harmed my body in the process, too.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, antioxidant vitamins increased a person’s risk of dying by up to 16 percent. The University of Washington found that vitamin E elevates lung cancer risk, and researchers at the National Cancer Institute found that men who took more than one multivitamin daily had higher rates of prostate cancer.
According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, below is a list of popular supplements and their toxic effects:
|SUPPLEMENT||POTENTIAL TOXIC EFFECTS|
|Vitamin A||Hepatoxicity (liver damage), increased risk of hip fracture|
|Beta carotene||Increased risk of lung cancer, yellowing of skin, diarrhea, arthralgias (arthritis)|
|Vitamin C||Diarrhea, gastric upset|
|Vitamin D||Calcification of the soft tissue|
|Vitamin E||Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, blurred vision|
|Vitamin B6||Sensory neuropathy, ataxia (lack of coordination and muscle movements)|
|Vitamin B3||Vasodilation, gastrointestinal upset, hyperglycemia|
These are just a select few of the more common supplements and their toxic effects. All supplements, when taken in excess, can have negative effects on the body.
One important thing to keep in mind is that animals in the wild do not need supplements to thrive — and neither do humans. We are a part of nature, and the wholesome food naturally provided by our environment contains the elements we need in perfect balance (fiber, water, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates).
Our body uses what it needs and discards the waste. Overdoses of isolated supplements accumulate and can wreak havoc in our system. In the short term, supplements may do some good; but in the long term, they can cause serious harm.
There are better and more delicious ways to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs without the toxic side effects. For example Mussels contain Vitamin B12, Zinc, Selenium, Omega 3’s, and they are delicious. And, sweet potatoes are rich in Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E.
So, the question you need to ask yourself is, “Would I rather eat a handful of hard coated supplements, or enjoy something delicious?”