Is it just me, or is the entire Vitamin/supplement industry completely unnecessary? Studies have shown time and time again how people have been self-administering doses of vitamins and the like – especially vitamin C – that are way above the recommended daily amounts. But still people buy them. Why?
People who have serious deficiencies receive prescriptions, and it’s ensured that they receive the appropriate amounts of whatever it is that they lack – but what about the rest of the populace? Is it assumed that everyone knows what’s best for them? That they’ll know if they should or shouldn’t be taking extra supplements? Of course they wont! If you make something massively available and preach it’s benefits – with bottles labelled ‘Women’s essentials’ and the like – without teaching people how to judge for themselves if they really need it (see my previous blog post about blind consumerism here), people will mindlessly buy it, assuming that the extra supplements can do nothing but good for themselves.
Want the facts? In excess:
- Vitamin A can cause dry skin, nausea, vomiting, birth defects, liver abormalities neurological disorders and loss of bone mineral density
- Vitamin B6 and Niacin can cause gastrointestinal stress, abnormal liver functions, cramps and vomiting
- Vitamin C can cause nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps in large amounts
- Vitamin D can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, as well as elevated blood calcium levels, which can lead to confusion and cardiac arrhythmia
- Vitamin E can cause nausea and gastrointestinal disorders
- Iron can cause hemochromatosis, which if left untreated will damage organs as well as affect the brain, and has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis
…while not all of these have fatal consequences at high concentrations, they’re all surely situations any common-sensed person would want to avoid. So why do people still buy supplements we don’t always need?