Americans love quick-fix, instant solutions, but many of us are just realizing that our need for speed is costing us our health – this time, in the form of vitamin supplements.
Millions of Americans take vitamins to make up for a poor diet, or a diet lacking certain vitamins, though there hasn’t been enough convincing scientific evidence to suggest any health benefit in taking them. In fact, there’s evidence that these vitamins can increase our risk for cancer by 56%!
But why would Big Pharma tell you that? After all, vitamin supplements are a $30 billion-a-year business.
Popping Pills: Was It Ever A Good Idea?
Since the 1980s, studies have shown that vitamin supplements can have a negative effect on our health, mainly because it causes us to exceed our recommended vitamin intake.
You can overdose on vitamins not only by taking too many vitamin supplements, but adding to the vitamins you already get from the foods you eat. Here is what vitamins are really doing to our health:
Taking more than the recommended dose of beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer and heart disease by 20%.
A study of 35,000 Americans between 2001 and 2014 revealed that taking too many vitamin E tablets increases risk of prostate cancer by 17%.
Folic acid supplements and vitamins used to cut the risk of heart disease and colon cancer, increase the risk of colon cancer in high doses.
So Why Do People Keep Taking Vitamins if They’re So Bad For Us?
In the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 12,000 adults between 2007 and 2010, 45% of adults said that they thought a multivitamin would improve their health, 33% thought multivitamins would maintain their health, and 23% said that it was recommended by their doctor.
The most concerning fact about these results is that most of the adults surveyed already maintained a healthy lifestyle, meaning that they’re probably already getting all the vitamins they need from their diet, making them prone to vitamin overdose.
Get Your Vitamins The Old-Fashioned Way
There’s no substitute for good food. Our bodies were not designed to intake vitamins in supplement form. Your best way to get the right amount of nutrients you need is to change your diet. Here are some great substitutes for certain vitamin supplements:
Get your daily dose of folic acid from green vegetables like broccoli.
Vitamin E, used to boost the immune system, is found in kale and almonds.
Beta-carotene, which helps to cut the risk of heart disease, is found in carrots and mangoes.
In the case of vitamin intake, more is not necessarily better. If you already have a healthy diet, taking vitamin supplements will only put you at risk for cancer and other disease. If you don’t have a healthy diet, start figuring out what dietary changes you can make, and avoid the supplements.