I don’t take vitamins.
There’s a lot of reasons that go into why – one being that I can never seem to fully pick up the habit of taking a pill every day, two that they kind of upset my stomach and three (the most important one) being that I’m not suffering from a vitamin deficiency.
I used to always tell people buying multivitamins is basically just buying the opportunity to have really expensive pee every day. Whatever vitamins we take that our body doesn’t need just get flushed out by the kidneys. If you have what you need, through your food, then why feel compelled to “top it up”?
My anti-vitamin views were recently further enforced when I stumbled upon an article that talked about how anti-oxidant rich vitamins actually contributed to accelerated tumour growth in people with cancer. This Wednesday a study in the journal Science Translational Medicine uncovered the potential link between the two.
Swedish scientists gave anti-oxidants to mice with early-stage lung cancer and their tumours quickly multiplied and became so aggressive that the animals died twice as fast as mice without the vitamin supplementation.
Although mouse-based studies can’t be directly linked to humans, it would seem that the extra vitamins block the body’s natural ability to fight cancer.
(Sidebar here for a second. This isn’t naturally occurring anti-oxidants found in fruits and vegetables. This study only applies to those that are found in pill form.)
Overall, the anti-oxidants did prevent some cell damage but no studies have ever conclusively proved that daily vitamin pills do anything to prevent cancer. Multiple studies have shown the opposite though. A study in the 90’s found that beta-carotene supplements increased the risk of lung cancer in smokers and in 2011, a study found Vitamin E supplements increased the risk of prostate cancer in men.
Now this study, which shows that anti-oxidant supplementation blocks signals to our tumour-suppressing genes, preventing them from doing their job and ruining your body’s own ability to defend itself against cancer cells.
Nothing beats a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans and seeds. Pills can’t beat nature here.