Nutrition

Supplements can be worse than useless

Published 9.12.2017
I write it often, but it remains as true as ever. A healthy diet should require no supplementation. If your diet leaves you needing supplements (in other words you are following a vegan or ketogenic diet), then that diet is not a healthy one.

Supplements should be unnecessary, and I don’t care that Linus Pauling disagreed…

But his academic reputation went the other way. Over the years, vitamin C, and many other dietary supplements, have found little backing from scientific study. In fact, with every spoonful of supplement he added to his orange juice, Pauling was more likely harming rather than helping his body. His ideas have not just proven to be wrong, but ultimately dangerous.

Vitamins and anti-oxidants are important, but you should get them from food, not pills. In fact, the pills very often turn out to be harmful.

Linus Pauling died of prostate cancer— and all the supplements he downed might have increased his risk.

A study published in 2007 from the US National Cancer Institute, for instance, found that men that took multivitamins were twice as likely to die from prostate cancer compared to those who didn’t. And in 2011, a similar study on 35,533 healthy men found that vitamin E and selenium supplementation increased prostate cancer by 17%.

So many low carb fans seem convinced that supplements are the answer… many are fools who won’t eat vegetables.

The body is complicated. Free radicals can be a bad thing, but the immune system also relies upon them to function.

Thankfully, your body has systems in place to keep a your inner biochemistry as stable as possible. For antioxidants, this generally involves filtering any excess out of the bloodstream into urine for disposal. “They go in the toilet,” says Cleva Villanueva from Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico City, in an email.

In other words, all supplements get you is expensive pee.