It was quite a sight to see and hear Dr. Emily Senay several mornings ago on 'Morning Joe' - evincing all the outrage of a displeased school marm whose kids refused to obey.
Following several apt questions from the small panel, she replied adamantly: "NO! Don't take your vitamins! They are doing more harm than good and people need to see the research that supports this!"
Oh really, doc? And what research might that be? Here's what we do know: Despite the fact those like Mrs. Senay have been yapping forever (it seems) - from inside assorted classrooms to media campaigns- that if we "eat the proper portions of fruits, grains, and veggies each and every day", we’ll be on the road to a life of optimum health- the facts don't bear that out.
Particularly over the past 100 years, we've altered the way we produce food so radically that we've actually removed too many vital nutrients that once, yes, were staples of our ancestors diets. And I should add, was a major reason they've not have had to take vitamins. See e.g. http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2011/12/as-weve-suspected-our-nutritional.html
But studies published only in the last few years show our current produce selection is remarkably devoid of phyto- nutrients. These are the compounds that reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The reason? With the advent of Corporate agriculture, we've systematically stripped phyto-nutrients from our diet and replaced crops bearing them with diluted GMO substitutes.
Part of the problem also has been corporate PR luring American tongues away from the earlier varieties of plants-crops with the highest amount of phyto-nutrients. A lot of this has to do with the other development, the emergence of fast food especially laden in sugars. The contra-indicator? Some of the best produce bearing highest phyto-nutrient content have bitter tastes!
As one example, take a look at corn. Today, we're conditioned to eat (and indeed only find available) the white and yellow varietes, so no blue corn is to be found. The crap we consume today (yellow and white corn) has from 1.54 mg to 70.2 mg of anthocyanins per 100 mg dried corn, compared to 99.5 mg of anthocyanins per milligram of dried corn available from blue corn.
If you're still not convinced, check out greens . Most people into diet wholesomeness believe spinach is the healthiest food around today, but is it really? In fact, there are only 0.89 mg of anti-oxidants in fresh spinach compared to ordinary dandelion greens (which the Germans use in their salads) which had 6.89 mg anti-oxidants per 100 mg.
Still skeptical, then look at apples .Most 'Muricans gravitate to a Granny Smith or Red Delicious apple - which contain 205 mg and 108 mg of phyto-nutrients per liter of juce, respectively. But the fact is the Siberian crab apple delivers 4,606 mg of phyto-nutrients per liter. If you really want to stay healthy and do away with vitamins, it's dandelion greens and Siberian crab apples you ought to be consuming - along with blue corn!
But since we aren't eating these things, we're not consuming anywhere near the level of anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients we need - hence the ongoing need for vitamins, despite what Emily Senay claims. The clear message that appears to have escaped her - even as she sought to lecture the morning audience on MSNBC- is that food production today (controlled by giant multi-nationals like Monsanto) aren't in the business of delivering healthy and wholesome foods - but making PROFITS!
Until the anti-vitamin brigade grasps that, and can prove to me that eating our diluted American produce means we can ditch the vitamins, I will remain a firm vitamin taker!
Footnote: It is true that there are certain vitamins ( A) where one is better advised to err on the side of much less than more. Interested readers can google "excess Vitamin A side effects" to learn more. It is also true that in some cases one can take too many yielding "urine waste". But if one properly researchers what one is taking and why this is much less likely to occur.