The Truth About Vitamins

The Truth About Vitamins

2004, Health  -   60 Comments
Ratings: 7.46/10 from 50 users.

The Truth About VitaminsVitamins without doubt are vital to our health. And it remains possible that high dose vitamin supplements will one day be proven to protect against illnesses like heart disease and cancer. But so far, definitive evidence for these claims remains largely elusive. And as we discover more about some vitamins, it is increasingly clear that in large doses they can have unexpected, and sometimes dangerous consequences.

Are vitamins doing us any good? Could they even be dangerous? Every year we spend £300 million on vitamin supplements, but do they actually do us any good? Some believe they offer the promise of preventing or even curing some of the world's biggest killers, such as heart disease and cancer. Others claim that taking large doses of some vitamins may in certain cases be harmful. So what are the facts?

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60 Comments / User Reviews

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  1. Librepensador

    As Weston Price conlcuded in his masterpiece Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and then was confirmed by some studies (take a look at Weston Price Foundation) vitamin A shows all its benefits when it is consumed with Vitamin D and with what Weston Price called Activator X, which is now believed to be Vitamin k2. In fact, the combination of these 3 vitamins promotes rapid bone growth (≠ osteoporosis) and good health.

    So saying that vitamin A promotes osteoporosis and other health problems is a half-true.

  2. freegin

    They didn't say anything about chemically derived or manufactured vitamins versus food derived vitamins ! Could make a big difference as I've heard for example vitamin E is derived from petroleum and is toxic and cancer causing in this form, versus when gotten from food.

    1. lasbotellas

      So vitamin E is a specific molecule, exactly the same way that H2O is a specific molecule. It makes absolutely no difference how the molecule is made or what it is made from as long as the product can be purified. H2O doesn't care if its oxygen atom came from a neurotoxin (somehow) and vitamin E doesn't care if parts of its structure came from petroleum or toxic waste. There is NO difference between pure vitamin E constructed naturally or artificially, because vitamin E is only vitamin E if it is exactly identical to all other vitamin E.

  3. vitamin supplements

    Just a quick tip. Most people don't know .vitamins are useless with minerals.

  4. martuletta

    Disliked, lack of information !!!

  5. An

    This movie is a propaganda.. they don't proof anything, don't even give a names of people who speak out! I'm not a big fan of vitamins in a pill but you can get them from superfoods

  6. The_Eskimo

    Hi, I am a scientist. I would like to mention a few things. First of all, how many people commenting here have actually read a basic nutrition textbook? I'm guessing not many. If you had read a basic nutrition textbook, then you would know just how easy it is to meet and exceed all of the suggested daily intake values for the vitamins and minerals. All one has to do is eat a standard American diet consisting of cereal for breakfast, some fruit, a basic lunch and a standard dinner - and chances are all of the RDI's for all of the vitamins and minerals will have easily been met. The only people who should really be taking vitamin supplements are those who have intestinal/GI disorders that interfere with nutrient absorption. That's the easy stuff. Now lets get into the more complicated material. If you have read a basic college nutrition textbook that has been published in the last 10-20 years then you should also know some additional things about vitamin pills. Vitamin pills are completely different than eating the vitamins naturally from food. In food, it is impossible to reach toxic or harmful levels of vitamin absorption because the vitamins are distributed throughout the bulky food. That's what our digestive tracts desire. On the other hand, a vitamin pill is a highly concentrated dose of a particular vitamin (which, as Paul Salmas correctly intuined below, are manufactured using toxic chemicals including benzene molecules that are known to cause leukemia) - our small intestine is not designed to absorb highly concentrated doses - so these pills over-work our metabolism processes - such that other natural vitamin metabolism/absorption is interfered with. In fact, it is now known that taking vitamin pills above the RDI can interfere with the absorption of other vitamins that a person would normally absorb from food. This is bad - since those other vitamins - the ones NOT included in the pill - are usually only available at limited amounts from food. Then there's the whole issue about how Linus Pauling's wife (very unfortunately) died of stomach cancer. She had been taking high doses of vitamin C supplements long before she developed stomach cancer. I think that was Pauling's first inclination that he might have, in fact, been wrong - and he was. I could continue here explaining in more detail exactly why it is a complete waste to consume vitamin pills when a person is capable of easily absorbing all the necessary RDI's from food naturally, but if write too much nobody will read my comment! So I will stop here - but I welcome any questions if people would like more information! In the meantime - get that old nutrition textbook out again - and look at the tables in the back that list all of the vitamin and mineral contents of common foods - compare that to what you eat in a day - you will see how easy it is to get all the vitamins you need naturally from food - the way your body was designed to work!

    1. Christine Croswell

      To tone our GI tracts we may use herbal tinctures, which are food.

    2. Elizabeth Wesley

      Your comment makes a lot of sense and I appreciate your taking time to post it. I take vitamins and also eat a very high fibre diet rich in vegtables and fruits so probably don't need extra. The other things I'm finding are that large doses of calcium without magnesium is detrimental and as we age calcium seems to find its way out of bones and into gallstones, plaque that lines arteries and other things. Maybe the good Lord knows best and gives allwe need in good food if we are wise enough to chose well.

    3. vit K2

      It is also vital to take Vitamin K2 so that calcium goes where it is supposed to. Research Vitamin K2.

    4. Sean

      You realize that a standard american diet does not even close to meet the daily values of what your body needs, not much of a scientist

    5. Antony Reed

      Agreed Sean, the "Scientist" above is completely incorrect. Perhaps 100 years ago or more, we could get all we require from the foods we eat, but not today. Our soil is depleted of most of the stuff plants require. Our plants today are incredibly deficient. And the beneficial bacteria in the soil itself, which for plants acts like the beneficial gut flora we need require to live, has mostly been killed off by chemicals.

      The Escimo is either not a scientist at all, or just doesn't know what he/she is talking about. Assertions are not facts.

    6. Trevis Robotie

      you make my day!I don't know if or when you'll be coming this way again(your piece is a year old),but I'd like to know your views on B12.most experts claim vegans are short of b12,argueing that you only get it from animal sources.well,my personal research (and common sense)tells me that I should get my B12 from where the animals get theirs (I don't consume animal flesh).I actually discovered that the B12 you find in the pharmacy shoulda been called BS12 ! it's inorganic!!the good news is I found my organic B12 (100%)in:chlorella,spirulina, alfalfa,moringa etc.spirulina is da BOMB!

    7. Jordan Nash

      A person can get all the nutrition they need from foods as long as a number of conditions are met:

      a) the person is in optimal health already

      b) the food you're eating is 100% organic and not interfered with (GMO's, pesticides, genetically engineered seeds, hormones, steroids, etc)

      People who are suffering from serious illness, likely from the food they eat, require FAR more nutrients than a healthy person and FAR more than nature can provide via following a basic nutrition guide.

      Linus Pauling, the two time Nobel prize winner, was absolutely right and his IV Vitamin C therapy works great. I know, I have done it and credit it in helping me beat my prostate cancer without chemo or radiation.

    8. chessmaster345

      Good for you - vitamin "C" in larger then normal doses has made a big difference in my life as well.

    9. Jacob Kvist

      BTW RDI is actually the intake for not getting sick, not the max intake. Very important.
      Have seen people get op to 500.000 mg vitamin C without sideeffecs. RDI is something like 60 mg.
      * Sorry for my bad English

    10. Greg

      Thank you for the information! I have two concerns, I would like to mention.
      One is that official RDI amounts are wrongly calculated in many cases. Those amounts are not enough to make or maintain a healthy life. What do you know about this?
      The other is that nowday's food does not contain all the vitamins and minerals and other goods, that used to contain. Animals are fed with drugs and artificial food, plants are grown in burned out soil, fed with artificial chemicals and protected by more chemicals. Many times they are picked green, and matured with chemicals. Food is far from being healthy today! Hence we need the vitamins. What's your take on this? Thank you.

  7. Butz

    The information explained in this hour long video could have easily been condensed to 10-15 minutes. They really dragged this one out.

    1. The_Eskimo

      I completely agree! On top of dragging it out, the documentary left out so much relevant information that I almost think it was actually in favor of vitamin pills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. melissa

    It would be interesting to see a side-by-side comparison of the toxic side effects reported of prescription drugs compared to those of vitamins. I think I'll take my chances with my vitamins, thank you. I have a feeling there are far fewer reports on the long history of all vitamin c supplements than on the relatively new drug Tamiflu for example. Just a thought.

    1. Rolands Jaunzems

      If you would have studied toxicology , you would understand how lame your thought is.

    2. Antony Reed

      Really Rolands? How so? That is not an argument and says nothing. In fact, Melissa is correct. There is not a single confirmed death from vitamin poisoning, according to poison control and the CDC, while non-intentional death from FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs were shown to be the 4th leading cause of death in America (according to the FDA's own website).

    3. thisismyspamemail

      She does not have to study toxicology to know that nutrients are needed things for the body. chemicals that are not needed by the body can be dangerous. 100s of thousands die from the proper use of pharmaceuticals every year. No one has died from over dosing on vitamins.

    4. thisismyspamemail

      They now hide how many votes down a person has so they apparently do not have to follow ethical ways of voting. That is so shady.....How can a person trust that?

  9. Charles Laff

    i think it's a shame that poeple need to be told what to eat.we evolved as a specie for 50000 years with no one to guide us but our instinct,i think it's time for us to trust our instinct again.the solution to all our problems lie within us. do yoga,open up your chakras and eat what feels right and everything will be just fine...

    1. The_Eskimo

      you mean species

    2. Antony Reed

      Are you done trying to show how much smarter you are by correcting spelling errors? You first need to bring real data to the table before you start flexing.

    3. thisismyspamemail

      People are failing in health because of all the boxed foods and additives. People do not need to be told what to eat. Corporations need to be told what they need to stop sneaking into their partial food stuff they pass off as healthy and safe.

  10. wutluviz

    I don't need to watch this to know it's crap. Watch the documentary Food Matters. Think about it. The daily recommended amount that we should get of these nutrients in the form of supplements is pretty low. Most people are not getting the amount of vitamins and minerals that they need from their genetically modified, fast food, processed, canned, t.v. dinner diets made from crops that are being grown on over depleted soil. We need more vitamins than we are even taking now to make up for this. Ideally, we should get what we need from foods, raw organic superfoods but this just isn't the case for most of us. There have only been 10 alleged (not even proven) deaths attributed to vitamins in the past 23 years and over 200,000 related to pharmaceutical drugs that were used properly as prescribed and were intentionally prescribed by a doctor to fix these problems that our body can fix on its own when it is detoxified and running on proper fuel.

    1. mikey

      unfortunately your figures are wrong synthetic vitamins are responsible for many more deaths than you think.Candied Iron supplements for children are just one example. All synthetic vitamins are toxic ie vitamin a retinol causes liver necrosis and death. Vitamin c prevents platlet aggregation=death.There are more examples but im not here for this reason.MY reason is to mention that eating food supplements that are highly nutritious such as wheat, barley grass is the best thing one can do. Non toxic no side effects.

    2. Otis McAlaster

      can you site any actual numbers. The numbers stated inthe above post are indeed factual. By what evedence do you declare them to be wrong?

    3. thisismyspamemail

      Iron is a mineral even though it is needed by the body, it's a metal, a mineral. It is not a vitamin even though it is a nutrient. Metals are dangerous if over consumed. We are specifically talking of vitamins here, not minerals or herbal supplements. Not one person has died of vitamin overdose. There are no bodies and there is no proof of anyone overdosing on vitamins. go to doctoryourself. com and read the info on vitamins and the proof no one has died from vitamins.

    4. thisismyspamemail

      Anti platelet aggregation from vitamin C actually prevents heart attack.

    5. Timay

      Vitamin in pill form is unbalanced and dangerous. In food form for example Vitamin C has thousands of chemicals, oxidants, antioxidants that balance it out. In the pill form scientists have not been able to extract all the chemicals with it. Genetically modified food has been enriched and fortified with vitamins and minerals lost during the processing. Vitamins are MICRO nutrients. 1 small bowl of total cereal gives you 100% what you need for the entire day for example. Pharmaceutical companies that sell vitamins are the ones that are filling your head with the simple lies about you not getting enough vitamins. On average people overeat, vitamins on top of that can only cause harm.

    6. The_Eskimo

      There is, in fact, no molecular difference between the vitamins added to Total cereal and those in pill form. There is, however, a physical difference - the stuff added to Total is distributed throughout bulky food while the pill form is not. This is the only difference. Same goes for most bread. All natural vitamins are mostly lost during processing of breads and cereals - they are then added along the way - what is added is exactly the same as what is added to pills. The difference is that when vitamins are added to bread and cereal - it is easy for the small intestine to absorb the vitamins - since they are spread-out over the entire volume of the bulky food - instead concentrated into a pill that puts undue stress on our system - and often at the expense of absorbing other vitamins that are naturally found in food - a loss that we can't exactly afford these days. The solution is not to take more vitamin pills, but to eat more food that naturally contains vitamins - this starts with examining our soils - most of which has been depleted of vitamins by the process of growing one, large monocrop.

    7. bdh bdh

      go back to middle school...esp. science class

    8. Jordan Nash

      Psssst.....pharmaceutical companies don't sell vitamins, unless you're calling 'one-a-day' type a real vitamin.

      Pharmaceutical companies HATE vitamins. Those darn things just make people well so they don't need pharmaceuticals.

    9. thisismyspamemail

      Real vitamin C does not have thousands of chemicals in it. GMO foods enriched with nutrients (some of which are synthetic) is not healthy to eat. Have you read the studies on what GMO foods do to living non GMO organisms, like lab rats, or humans for instance?

  11. fasffeaf geamna

    Although I didn't watch this video I'd like to mention a little something on this subject, and that is the fact that vitamins make many people become nauseous and throw up, especially pregnant women because pre-natal women's vitamins are so much more concentrated. Our body doesn't digest the rock form of vitamins it digests the vitamins in food!! The greatest misconception of vitamins is the B vitamin myth, our body makes these vitiamins in our gut from bacteria!! Thats why we are all so low is because of anti-biotics our b level of vitamins drops 50% after a course of anti-biotics!

  12. Filipe Vilaça

    Well i just wanna say that it true that vitamin a in high doses are not good for you. But betacarotene i dont believe is bad for you in anyway, they just should tell if they informed the people that was on the study if they were taking suplements to prevent lung cancer because if they did it normal that people without doing on purpose smoked more.

  13. Peabot

    I would be cautious to make claims that what we know now (scientifically) is all there is to know. Humans have always made this mistake, only to make new discoveries decades later that overturned the accepted thinking. Scientists are just starting to revisit the value of vitamin D, and are finding that larger doses of this can help prevent MS, Lupus, and maintain bone health. I just read that article and that is why im here. Who knows what else we will find in the years to come? One thing I agree though; vitamins shouldn't become a replacement for a balanced diet and regular excersize.

  14. Jeremy King

    It is appalling that people believe sincerely in all sorts of magic potions, based on research that hardly spans one lifetime, to escape aging and the ultimate consequence of that. Consider spending your time in contributing to society within the time that you have, rather than being self-centred, trying all sorts of potions that may do more harm than good. Rather than waste time and energy struggling with the same question day-in and day-out, accept the fact that you are going to die and that nothing you do will change that. Eat what your ancestors have been eating for countless generations. Take up activities like growing our own food with your own hands and not devices, playing with your children and your pets, walking around your neighbourhood talking to neighbours, and last, but not least, regular sex. The effort spent is all you need.

  15. Dina

    @Tony: I'm so happy I made you happy! :)) Actually, we have the same life story! I also listened to Cold water music in high school, it was the time when I discovered drum and bass! Good times! But I didn't know the title, so I sent a link of this documentary to a great DJ and he finally told me the name of the song! I was exhilarated! I recommend the whole album, it's pretty awesome! Kisses!

  16. Tony

    @Dina:THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THE TITLE OF THE SONG! It has always been one of my favorites because I used to listen to it a lot in high school, but I forgot the name. You are a lifesaver and I am so happy to have watched this documentary to find the song again. Woohoo!

  17. Neil

    Total BS. All supplements are not created equal. Vitamins are some of the safest things you can take. Bio-availability varies from product to product but if you research well enough you can find a good brand.
    This is another effort by big Pharma and Big brother to take your choices away from you by creating fear. DOWN WITH CODEX!!

    1. Garrett Smith

      well said

  18. Crab

    @Dina: This sounds very much like the chords of a russian song by Mr.Credo/Medlyak. I love these chords.

  19. lee

    this is disturbing,i am an athlete and have taken supplements for years .i hate this murderous codex alimentarius

  20. Bob

    I can't believe they put Patrick Holford in this and gave him time to speak. Seriously, read 'Bad Science' by Ben Goldacre.

  21. Rachel

    I'm so glad there are others that see what a joke this video is!

    The biggest problem I have with ALL of the arguments presented in this video is the underlying assumption that all vitamins are created equal. Just because a study was done where people were given "Beta-carotene", for example, does not convince me that beta-carotene was the culprit. What brand was being used, what process was used and what inactive ingredients are in the supplements? Children die from overdose of Flintstone vitamins not because of the vitamins but because it is a petroleum based, testtube supplement (not to mention full of sugar!). Most grocery store brand vitamins are more of the same. I'm sorry, but petroleum is carcinogenic and toxic. The other issue is with processing. You can take whole oranges full of natural C, and if in processing they are exposed to too much light, air or heat the vitamin C will be depleted. I could go on, but that should be enough to get the idea.

    Dumb video! And how many times did they have to repeat those stupid images (effervescent C drop, swallowing a pill, etc), so annoying! End rant.

  22. dina

    What's the name of the song at 22:07?Beautiful....

  23. James

    Ummm did any biology majors watch this crap...vitamin c boost production in Hydrogen Peroxide - H202 (water with EXTRA oxygen atom) also been noted for its many miracle works in medicine. Bacteria which enters your body from a cold finds its way to you throat and makes a colony of bacteria (plhem and bad mucus) which then blocks off your oxygen supply in your nose and vocal cords causing fatigue and other crap. Now Disease is anaerobic. It cannot exist in an elevated oxygen environment. Cancer, influenza, HIV, herpes, measles, the common cold- anaerobic.
    Legionnaire’s disease, E-Coli, salmonella, staphylococcus- anaerobic. Arthritis, emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epstein-Barr, Candida and even heart disease- anaerobic one and all. This is why people do yoga and tai chi, and say mantras during meditation. Dont try to sh_t on vitamin c without research buddy...but yea too much of some vitamins are bad of course

  24. Jen

    Codex Alimentarius=very scary stuff. Land of the free huh. I'm about ready to move to China. At least there pharmaceutical companies and the FDA don't own everybody and their right to be free from vitamin deficiencies. This film is a joke I hope.

  25. Joe

    I always suspected these over priced vitamin pills to be just another trendy hype and they're no different from "Ab-Cruncher". Now, it's dangerous for you? Unbelievable! This doc may have been not-too-scientific but ask yourself if food can really come in the form of pills. And don't we already know that too much of anything is bad for you?


    1. No more fast food
    2. Eat your veggies
    3. Learn what 'organic' means
    4. Kiss your loved ones everyday
    5. Cut down TDF :) and go out exercise
    6. And recycle religiously

    Nuff Said!

    1. Garrett Smith

      your comment shows you still carry some wool on your back. I like the numbered points but far from "Nuff Said!" LOL! Only nuff said when your information supply has run out.Perhaps in 3 years you could add to your list and edit the top.

    2. jackmax

      Have you got anything to say about this doco mate? Did you find the results of the seperate vitamin''A'' test surpising or were you aware of the difference in off the self vitamins, compeared to clinical vitamins.

  26. dolores

    Tyne: "why did they use such a stupid experiment" - because this is one of the many ideas Codex Alimentarius is pushing. vitamins are poisons, all livestock need to be given growth hormones and sub standard antibiotics by the end of 2009 etc. This is not conspiracy but fact - look it up on their website. This is the begining of a propaganda caompaign which includes a desensitisation process whereby the population will end up totally malnourished and dying.

  27. Tyne

    They used milk! Of course you arent going to absorb as much!! Everyone knows that... why did they do such a stupid experiment?!?