Will Clower says that one of the biggest problems is that vitamins and other dietary supplements often get on the market before they've been fully tested, particularly in the area of long-term effects. He explains that several long-term studies have been completed in the past few years showing that many of the main vitamins we've been told to take since childhood have very little or no effect on overall health.
Not only this, but taking these raw vitamins has actually been shown to have a negative affect on health in some cases. One study showed that people taking vitamin E were 75% more likely to have a stroke while another showed that men taking selenium and vitamin E are more likely to get prostate cancer.
Clower admits that this issue can get very confusing, especially since it seems like studies with conflicting claims seem to come out every other day. As someone who has spent his career studying studies, his recommendation is to pay careful attention to who is providing the funding and how the study has been conducted. Clower believes that "if you look at the most reliable studies, the bottom line is that we probably should not be taking vitamin supplements."
Evan Kleiman responds by saying that she's not entirely surprised by these findings, and we agree. It makes sense that eating the whole food would be a more effective way of ingesting vitamins than taking the raw vitamin. After all, humans have been been eating carrots for centuries and beta carotene has only become a dietary supplement in the past fifty years.
What do you think about these findings? Do you take vitamins?
• Listen to Evan Kleiman's full interview with Will Clower, and all the other great segments from this episode, on the Good Food website!
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