February 28, 2007

Vitamin Religion

I grew up in a family that worshipped the cult of the Vitamin. My mom read her Vitamin Bible every Sunday and filled all of us up with megadoses of every conceivable supplement. She took the largest doses herself, in giantic units every day that my dad called "horse pills."

I am convinced that this alphabet soup of supplements was not ingested without adverse effects. "I have a twitch in my eye and sores in my lips, and my memory is fading," she would complain. Her solution to her problems? More vitamins of course, especially more of those huge orange pills of vitamin B.

In this month's JAMA, there is a nice metastudy of the effects of popular antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin E, and beta carotine. The results? All these will shorten your life. Fortunately, vitamin C, of which I consumed vast quantities growing up, seemed to have neither a positive nor negative effect on mortality.

The abstract of the study is here. I know that this will not dissuade the antioxidant vitamin crowd. Followers are religious; there is nothing I could ever show my mom that would ever convince her to stop.

Posted by David at February 28, 2007 10:05 AM

My mom was all about the vitamins too, and Chinese herbal medicine. (BLECH!) I only really take vitamin C extra, and occasionally a multivitamin if I'm not eating regularly because of work stress. (I'm the kind of person who forgets to eat sometimes.)

Thanks for pointing this out. I'll have to show it to my mom the next time I'm home. Then she can stop throwing her money away and just eat Korean food which is very healthy and chock full of vitamins. (I love spinach and broccoli because she makes them taste so good with Korean flavors!)

ps - When were you going to tell me about the Google Maps Traffic overlay? It's really frickin' cool!

Posted by: mapgirl at February 28, 2007 11:27 PM
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