Thursday, 1 August 2013

Are Multi Vitamins really the answer to our health?

If you are like me you sometimes take Multi Vitamins and then when you are rushing out the door in the morning you forget to take them. This then leads to a few weeks of not taking them and then you get back into the routine.  I have always been interested in knowing if you should / should not take vitamin tablets or do you get enough through a really good diet?

I stumbled across this great article in Metro yesterday and thought you might be interested.

So to pop a multi vit or not pop a multi vit is the question??  Have a read below and see what you think.

Happy Thursday


Miss Jones

We are a nation of pill-poppers – more than a third of Britons take a vitamin tablet every day. However, our love of vitamins and dietary supplements has waned somewhat in recent years.

In 2008, 41 per cent of the population was taking the supplements, according to market research company Mintel. But the figure had fallen to 35 per cent by last year, an indication that the fallout from the global financial crisis had impacted what we spend our food money on.

While finance has been a factor, there might be another reason why the vitamins market has cooled slightly.

In recent years, various teams of scientists have poured cold water over claims that vitamin supplements are the perfect path to good health. Yet there are just as many reports on the great benefits of the pills from equally respected researchers. All this leaves the consumer in a bit of a quandary – are supplements good or bad for you?

The latest research from a team made up of scientists at both the University of Glasgow and the University of Aberdeen is a good case in point.

While a previous study they had carried out showed that vitamin supplements helped boost the lifespans of mice, a report they published earlier this month in scientific journal Biology Letters said the vitamins had the opposite effect on voles – rodents which resemble mice but have bigger bodies.

In the most recent research, scientists fed the voles a diet which was supplemented with high levels of vitamin E or vitamin C from the age of two months in either warm or cold conditions.

Voles in both sets of conditions lived much shorter than those fed a regular diet. The lifespan of voles was reduced by as much as 26 per cent in some cases as a result of being fed vitamin supplements.

While the scientists behind the study expressed their surprise at the results, they warned that caution should be taken when it comes to high doses of antioxidant vitamins.
Vitamins E and C aren’t the only ones under scrutiny.

In another study published this month, researchers in the US warned that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils could cause prostate cancer.

Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle claimed omega-3 could raise the risk of contracting the disease by as much as 71 per cent. They cautioned against taking omega-3 pills, which are used by millions of people to ward off heart attacks and strokes.

However, proponents of vitamin supplements said the prostate cancer link was merely a case of scaremongering.

In the US, the views of Dr Paul Offit, head of the infectious diseases unit at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, are causing quite a stir.  In his new book, Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine, he argues that high doses of vitamin supplements are bad for our health.  He has cited a number of negative studies, including one from the University of Minnesota in 2011 which reported that women on multivitamins died at higher rates than those not taking them.

‘Vitamins live under this notion that you can’t possibly hurt yourself,’ he told CNN recently. ‘But you can, by challenging Mother Nature and taking these vitamins and concentrating them to these exceptionally large quantities that you would never normally eat.’

While Dr Offit wants us to cut vitamins out of our diet, there are numerous studies which offer a different view.

Research from Oxford University and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in May showed that doses of vitamin B could protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

In the same month, scientists at King’s College London published research linking vitamin D to a reduction in the symptoms of asthma.

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