Dr. McDougall has many opinions about diet, but I just want to zero in on his message in this video - that taking vitamin supplements comes with risk.
He says that taking isolated, concentrated nutrients creates nutritional imbalances:
"When you flood the system with one particular nutrient like beta carotene or folic acid or vitamin E what happens is that high concentration of that nutrient overwhelms and floods that receptor and the other nutrients can't attach properly to the cells. And so you create nutritional imbalances.I share this view.
What do you do?
You don't eat isolated, concentrated nutrients. Eat them in their original packages like the banana or the potato, so that they're properly mixed, you got some beta carotene and vitamin C and vitamin E and phytonutrients and fibers and so on. All this perfect architecture that looks like a banana or an orange or a potato or a rice grain. These perfect packages designed by nature to work properly in the body when you eat them so that they go into the cells and they're in the proper proportions."
Have you ever had a bad reaction to taking a supplement?
A diet that's naturally high in beta-carotene is associated with a low risk of lung cancer. Unfortunately, taking beta-carotene supplements evidently increases the risk of lung cancer and of death in general.
I remember the ATBC and CARET studies. I remember it was a big deal back in the 90s that they were stopped.
Something I just took note of in your link is that women who took beta-carotene and retinol were at a higher risk for lung cancer and CVD death than men. I've been noticing more of these gender differences.
While I'm feeling nostalgic...
Back then, everyone I knew was taking beta-carotene and vitamin E. Today, no one I know is taking beta-carotene and few are taking vitamin E. Now everyone is taking fish oil and vitamin D. I wonder how this will change in 10 years.
I've had no adverse effects from taking supplements (Vitamin C, B12, iron). Because I have poor absorption through food, it doesn't seem to be a (visible) issue. I do try to keep them at a minimum, though.
Vitamin supplements are useful for people who have a gastrointestinal disease that impairs their ability to absorb nutrients from their food. The classic example is pernicious anemia. Supplementation is also useful in some cases of inherited metabolic disorder, such as thiamine-responsive megaloblastic anemia syndrome. Of course, McDougall was talking about the general population, not people with one of these rare diseases.
The importance regarding essential vitamins and minerals varies along with age and also other components. It is exceptional to uncover of which only 1 form of vitamin is missing from your eating habits. Usually vitamin insufficiencies happen when several nutritional vitamins are missing from your everyday eating habits. Hence vitamins and minerals really should include a well balanced supply of many nutritional vitamins.
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The above is spam. I'm posting it because I think he made a great argument, ironically against the message he was trying to deliver, buying vitamins.
Nutritional deficiencies don't occur in a vacuum. If a diet is failing to deliver enough of one nutrient, it's probably failing to deliver a number of nutrients. Taking a pill - a concentrated form of a single nutrient, with a potency probably unmatched by nature - to fill a void may very well lead to inadequacies of other nutrients.
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