Vitamins: what's the real story?
10th June, 2000
For the last several months, newspapers in Britain have been overflowing with reports that vitamins are bad for our health. The most recent and most damaging of these concerns the supposed discovery, given worldwide publicity, that vitamin C can clog the arteries. Lynne McTaggart deciphers the medical truth
The anti-vitamin supplement brigade, which appears mainly to consist of doctors and scientists schooled in the standard variety of drugs-and-surgery medicine, seems to believe that this, and other reports, has vindicated their steadfast view - that we can get all our nutritional requirements from food, and that vitamin pills are useless and possibly dangerous.
The problem is that the actual science behind these pronouncements isn't nearly sturdy enough to merit this wholesale demolition job. For instance, the vitamin C story represents a serious departure from standard scientific practice and also betrays a certain amount of ignorance about the role of vitamin C in human health.
The much-trumpeted Vitamin C Study, conducted by a team at the University of Southern California, examined 573 supposedly healthy middle-aged men and women who work for a utility company, about a third of whom took various vitamins. Those taking vitamin C pills had accelerated thickening of the walls of the big arteries in their necks. The more they took, the faster the thickening. The study concluded that those taking 500 mg of vitamin C daily for at least a year had a two and a half times greater rate of thickening than...
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