Home » Health » Don’t Invite Cancer, Heart Disease With Food Supplements
food supplements

Don’t Invite Cancer, Heart Disease With Food Supplements

There is no substitute for good, nutritional food and we have discovered that taking extra vitamins and minerals does more harm than good

Angela Onwuzoo

Many health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart attacks that are threatening the lives of people nowadays are all traceable to lifestyle changes; that is the type of food we eat and lack of physical activities. While some people consumed the type of foods that elongate their lives, others ate the ones that endanger theirs either knowingly or unknowingly. According to experts, regular consumption of fruits and vegetable remains the best way to keep some of these non-communicable diseases at bay. But, rather than people including fruits and vegetables in their diets, they prefer taking dietary supplement also called food supplement to meet up with their daily dietary needs. They forgot that supplements can’t take the place of the variety of foods that are important to a healthy diet and there is no substitute for good, nutritional food.

Dietary supplements are products intended to supplement the diet which also come with their side effects as many now abuse these products by using them as drugs for the treatment, prevention and cure of diseases. Now, the result of a study carried out by the University ofColorado Cancer Centre in the United States of America for over 10 years , has revealed the risk of developing cancer and heart disease through over consumption of food supplements. The study which involved thousands of people revealed that too much intake of some these supplements cause serious harm to the body.

Experts say the supplements are unnecessary for most people, who would be better off eating a nutritious meal. Dr Tim Byers who led the research which was recently presented to the American Association for Cancer Research, said : “The evidence shows people who take more dietary supplements than needed tend to have a higher risk of developing cancer. “We are not sure why this is happening.”According to him, Beta-carotene, a Vitamin A precursor, was found to raise the risk of lung cancer and heart disease by 20 per cent when taken at above the recommended dose. “Vitamin B9, or folic acid, was thought to help reduce colon polyps, can lead to bowel cancer. In the trial, it actually increased the number of polyps”, he said.

\The research looked at patients who were taking dietary supplements and placebos. Byers noted: “The supplements were actually not beneficial for their health. In fact, some people got more cancer while on the vitamins. Today’s dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other products. Dietary supplements come in a variety of forms: traditional tablets, capsules, and powders, as well as drinks and energy bars.

Popular supplements include vitamins D and E; minerals like calcium and iron; herbs such as echinacea and garlic; and specialty products like glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils Though some scientific evidence show that some dietary supplements are beneficial for overall health and for managing some health conditions, supplements can’t take the place of the variety of foods that are important to a healthy diet.Millions of people pop iron tablets to boost red blood cell production, calcium is taken for strong bones and teeth and Vitamin C to keep cells healthy. Considering some health benefits of some food supplements,

Byers who is a cancer specialist said: “If taken at the correct dosage, multivitamins can be good for you. He however added: “But there is no substitute for good, nutritional food. And we have discovered that taking extra vitamins and minerals does more harm than good.” Some nutrition experts also agreed with his findings. Catherine Collins of the British Dietetic Association, said: “We see patients taking extremely high doses of vitamins and minerals, which can cause harm.

According to her, people see food supplements as affirmative action and a nutritional insurance. “But they are not benign and should be treated with respect”, she added. In spite of the risks of using diet supplements, the demand for these products continues to rise. For individuals with a strong desire to lose or maintain their weight, diet supplements may seem like a magical solution. The manufacturers of these products make extravagant promises about the properties of their drugs, but most of these claims are not backed up by clinical research. Another expert, Dr Ian Campbell said: “Most people taking vitamin and mineral supplements are doing so unnecessarily. A healthy diet is all the vast majority of us need to maintain good nutritional health.

There is little need for vitamin or mineral supplements in the absence of proven deficiencies.” Diet specialist Zoe Harcombe also noted “If you need a supplement, there’s something wrong with your diet.” She affirmed: “We haven’t had supplements for most of the time humans have been around.” Dr Emma Derbyshire, adviser to the Health Supplements Information Service, said of the study: “Vitamins and minerals are not intended to be used like drugs. They are principally for making up shortfalls in intake and helping to maintain overall health. “Taken in recommended amounts, vitamins and minerals are safe.”

%d bloggers like this: