BBCThe Truth About Vitamins

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I’m currently watching a BBC documentary called The Truth About Vitamins.  So I figured I’d share what I learned, just in case you’re curious.

As my mother has been telling me for years, studies show that Vitamin C does not protect you from the common cold, but it does help your body fight it once you have the cold.

Vitamin E (an anti-oxidant) helps fight the aging process, and keeps your cells healthy.  BUT, it’s advised to take the vitamin with fatty food, in order for the vitamin to be able to do its job at the optimal level.

Vitamin A which the body best converts by means of beta-carotene found in carrots and leafy greens.  It’s been proven that those who have a diet rich is beta-carotene have a much less chance of developing lung cancer.  Studies have shown that an excess of beta-carotene has the opposite adverse effect, and actually increased the development of lung cancer by 18% in the first study and 28% in a second study.  Scientists still don’t understand why beta-carotene is so beneficial in foods, but devastating for smokers when taken in a high dose pill form.  Scientists are now also warning against Retinal, a high dose Vitamin A supplement.  Vitamin A is difficult for your body to excrete, so an excess amount is accumulated and stored in the liver, causing damage.  Huge doses of vitamin A can also weaken bones, causing osteoporosis.  Studies have shown that taking (1.5 mg) twice the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A on a daily basis caused about a 10% loss of bone density, and the risk of hip fractures had doubled.  This higher dose can easily be reached with food alone, so adding a Vitamin A supplement is even more risky.

The film didn’t scare me away from vitamins.  I believe tha the average Canadian does not consume enough healthy nutritious food, but empty calorie-laden garbage.  So vitamin supplements can be quite beneficial for people, but obviously also dangerous for others.  So in short, I’ve had a reality check, and will try to be more cautious as to what I put into my body.

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